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Collecting PET Plastic Bottles

10 Good Reasons

  1. Plastic bottles are valuable and create income opportunities on the collection side. If one person collects 200 bottles for 240 days of the year, it amounts to 1,600 kgs per year. This means that the 23 000 tons of post consumer PET collected in 2008 translates into the creation of an estimated 14 000 income opportunities for collectors. The collectors then sell to the recyclers of whom there are approximately 1675. Direct jobs in the PET recycling industry are estimated around 350 with capital investment to date of R130 million. Increasing plastic bottle recycling leads to job creation in the waste management, product development, manufacturing and marketing sectors.

  2. Increasing plastic bottle recycling leads to job creation in the waste management, product development, manufacturing and marketing sectors.

  3. Recycling reduces landfill requirements, thus increasing the life of landfill sites and cutting disposal costs. Landfill costs are set to rapidly increase over coming years.

  4. Recycling demand for plastic bottles outstripped supply for many years and South African recyclers have the capacity for an increased number of bottles for reprocessing. 2008 was a challenging year for PET Recycling because of the global financial crisis.

  5. Plastic bottle recycling provides a valuable public service. The public want to recycle plastics and there is high demand for this service.

  6. Plastics are the material of choice for many manufacturers and will form an increasing proportion of household waste in the future. Research conducted by the UK based recycling organization Recoup, has shown that if plastics were no longer used in packaging the weight of packaging materials would rise by 300%, the volume of rubbish would expand by 150% and the energy consumed by the packaging industry would increase by 100%.

  7. Approximately 12% of household waste is packaging waste. Estimates are that some 3% of this, by weight, is plastic bottles (approx 70,000 tons/year in SA). They are easy for the public to identify and remove from the residual waste stream.

  8. Plastic bottles are widely used, abundant and very visual. There is the potential to remove a significant amount of volume from the waste stream.

  9. Local authorities will be obliged to increase recovery, recycling and composting of household waste to reach mandatory Government targets.

  10. Recycling 1 ton of plastic bottles saves 1.5 ton of carbon. Recycling plastic bottles decreases the need for raw materials and save energy.