PET plastic bottles are destined for more than spending the rest of time in landfill.

When recycled, PET plastic bottles are turned into many new and useful products, like fibre-fill for duvets and pillows, PET trays for fruit, geotextiles, and even brand new bottles.

PET is too valuable to be thrown away, so Do 1 Thing. Recycle.

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Recycling PET is <strong>sustainable</strong>

Recycling PET is sustainable

PET packaging can be made from up to 100% recycled PET, recapturing both the material and the inherent energy of the original package.


Recycling PET is sustainable

PET packaging can be made from up to 100% recycled PET, recapturing both the material and the inherent energy of the original package. It can also be recycled multiple times.

PET can be made into many new <strong>useful products</strong>

PET can be made into many new useful products

As with virgin PET, recycled PET (rPET) can be used to make many new products


PET can be made into many new useful products

As with virgin PET, recycled PET (rPET) can be used to make many new products, including polyester staple fibre/filament used for apparel (clothing), home textiles (duvets, pillows, carpeting), automotive parts (carpets, sound insulation, boot linings, seat covers) and industrial end-use items (geotextiles and roof insulation), and new PET packaging and bottles for both food and non-food products. It is generally blended in a ratio of virgin to recycled, depending on the application required.

Collecting PET <strong>creates jobs</strong>

Collecting PET creates jobs

Plastic bottles are valuable. And this value creates income opportunities for informal collectors.


Collecting PET creates jobs

Plastic bottles are valuable. And this value creates income opportunities for informal collectors. If one person collects 200 bottles for 240 days of the year, it amounts to 1 450 kilograms per year.

Recycling PET is <strong>good for the environment</strong>

Recycling PET is good for the environment

Recycling PET bottles over the last ten years has saved a total of 651 000 tons of carbon, avoided using 2.7 million m3 of landfill space and reduced resource consumption.


Recycling PET is good for the environment

Recycling PET bottles over the last ten years has saved a total of 651 000 tons of carbon, avoided using 2.7 million m3 of landfill space and reduced resource consumption. Recycling plastic bottles decreases the need for raw materials and saves energy. Recycling a single tonne of plastic bottles saves 1.5 tonnes of carbon versus landfilling or incineration. (Credit: Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production – WRAP).

The Role Of Packaging

Modern living has driven the desire for convenience foods in ready-to-prepare and single-serve formats. This has given rise to all sorts of products that could not exist without packaging - like carbonated soft drinks, long life milk, ready meals and household chemicals, even electronic products like computers and TVs that need to work as soon as they're out the box.

But once it's performed this function, packaging takes on an entirely different face: it becomes cumbersome waste. By not considering the impact of packaging on the waste stream, the ugly and unwanted perception people have of packaging will continue.

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Latest News from PETCO

Bay PET recycling champions to be lauded for efforts

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Cape Town PET recycling champions to be lauded for efforts

Cape Town PET recycling champions to be lauded for efforts

National PET recycling body to host “inspiration session” at ICIC Auditorium

CAPE TOWN – JOB creation, innovation and poverty alleviation are just some of the major achievements by several Cape Town recycling initiatives, making a tangible difference at grassroots level in communities.

This is being celebrated by the PET Recycling Company (PETCO), the national recycling body for PET plastics, in the form of an “inspiration session” to be held in the city on November 20 (5-7pm). The two-hour event will honour several recycling initiatives in the city that are making strides not only in PET plastic recycling, but also in uplifting communities.

PETCO is encouraging members of the public to attend the event to learn more about the unique and life-changing initiatives taking place throughout the city.

“There are many incredible things happening on a daily basis in the recycling industry in South Africa, which are driven by a remarkable network of people,” said PETCO chief executive officer Cheri Scholtz.

“These people deserve to be recognised and celebrated as innovative entrepreneurs, employers, and champions in their own right, who do good for the environment and their communities through the work they do in the recycling industry.”

Scholtz said the PETCO Inspiration Sessions were intended as a public platform for the organisation’s partners to share how they were working towards transforming the recycling sector.

“We encourage the public to attend and hear from people who are passionate about PET recycling and its potential to change lives. You are guaranteed to look at it with new eyes – either as a consumer or as a would-be entrepreneur in the field.”

Included in the line-up of speakers are Chad Robertson of tech solution provider Regenize Recycling Collections, Ian Dommisse of The EcoBrick Exchange, Anthea Fransman of Recycle 1st and Lynn Worsley from All Women Recycling.
Anyone interested in attending the event at the ICIC Auditorium in Waterkant Street can RSVP by emailing PETCO at Tickets cost R100 per person and include catering.


Robertson’s business combines technology and waste picker support services to create a successful inclusive recycling collection solution.

“We believe we are making a difference in that waste pickers are the most impactful members in the recycling collection system. However, they’re not provided with adequate support and there are many safety concerns around how they collect recyclables,” he said.

“We are trying to use technology to connect a person who generates waste with someone who collects waste, without the collector having to scratch through a bin to get it.

Robertson said Regenize’s aim was to make recycling more accessible to more South Africans by including waste pickers into the process and by making recycling an option to households who cannot afford it.

“While we are running our pilot of free residential recycling, we’re also still running our existing business model where households, apartments and companies pay us a fee for their collections.

“Remali, our virtual currency is earned by people who recycle with Regenize. Remali can be used to purchase vouchers on our website and is earned based on the weight of their recyclables.”

The EcoBrick Exchange
“Our vision is to protect the environment from plastic waste whilst supporting early childhood development,” said Dommisse, the founder and director of the registered social enterprise which operates on a nationwide basis and trains communities to turn waste into structures of value.

“EcoBricks are plastic bottles stuffed tightly with unrecyclable plastic which can be used to create high quality preschools, making a huge difference to youngsters in underprivileged areas. They can also be exchanged for resources which support early childhood development.”

Dommisse said the campaign had gained positive traction in targeted communities since 2013 and that it had reached 322 700 people to date.

“We have also recently started offering a range of services to help South African companies minimise their waste output. Through team building, community projects and internal competitions we enable employees of an organisation to view waste as a resource which can support multiple community projects.”

Recycle 1st
“Recycle 1st was founded because I couldn’t find anyone to collect my recycling in the northern suburbs,” Fransman said.

“From humble beginnings in 2009, I believe that we have made a huge difference, both aesthetically and in offering employment solutions.

“We have diverted 520 000 kilograms of recycling from landfill and have grown to the point where we now employ 36 permanent staff members.

“We offer a pavement collection service to homes, businesses and complexes in Cape Town, as well as on site management.

“We are also going to be launching a campaign shortly which helps people know the difference between what is recyclable and what is not. This, too, can make a huge difference.”

All Women Recycling
As the name implies, All Women Recycling employs single mothers and women with little to no work experience or education.

Unlike most businesses, founder Lynn Worsley wants her employees to eventually move away from the business, either to better jobs or to their own businesses.

“We don’t only teach craft skills, but business skills too, because accessing skills training is paramount to their success,” said Worsley. “I don’t want the women to stay here forever. I want them to grow in the business until they’re ready to find other jobs. This is just a stepping stone for them.
“A quarter of our employees have gone on to further their education to get better jobs or started their own businesses on the side.”

All Women Recycling buys plastic bottles from dumps and waste collectors and turns them into decorative gift boxes to sell locally and abroad. They also partner with large recycling companies, who donate bottles on a weekly basis.

In 2016 alone, they prevented half a million bottles, or over 18 tonnes worth of plastic, from reaching the rubbish dump, with this volume growing annually.


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First PET thermoform plastic converter to sign with producer responsibility body signals changing tide.

Press release – November 2018

Amid mounting pressure on major retailers and brand owners to be more environmentally-minded, one of the country’s leading food packaging producers has become the first in the PET thermoform plastics sector to join voluntary national Extended Producer Responsibility body the PET Recycling Company (PETCO).

The move signals a changing sentiment among producers amid a tidal wave of pressure from government and civil society for retailers and brand owners – as well as their suppliers – to account for the end-use of products and packaging by ensuring they can be recycled either into their original form or used in alternative markets.

RPC Astrapak Thermopac has become the first in the PET thermoform plastics sector – responsible for products such as lightweight sandwich and fruit trays, which account for just under 20% of PET products nationwide – to sign on with PETCO, which until now has been supported primarily by the PET bottle sector.

“PETCO has been engaging the PET thermoform sector since our incorporation in 2004,” said PETCO CEO Cheri Scholtz. “This is a welcome move, so that together we can find sustainable solutions for these [thermoform] products going forward.”

Although thermoform products are not currently recycled in South Africa – a trend mirrored globally due to their complex make-up – the move by RPC Astrapak Thermopac indicates a shift in producer sentiment towards proactively seeking solutions to ensure the sustainability of their products and minimising any environmental impact.

According to Professor Linda Godfrey, a researcher with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and PETCO board member, “RPC Astrapak Thermopac joining the PETCO voluntary Extended Producer Responsibility [EPR] scheme is the next step towards fulfilling their responsibilities”.

“There is growing pressure being exerted on producers and brand owners globally, by governments and civil society, to take responsibility for their products at end of life.”

Research conducted by the CSIR shows that every year, South Africa loses R3.3-billion worth of viable polymer from the economy, through disposal of waste plastic to landfill or leakage into the environment, said Godfrey.

“A lot has been done to develop local end-use markets for PET bottles, resulting in a 65% post-consumer recycling rate in 2017. However, until now, PET thermoform has not been recycled in South Africa.

“RPC Astrapak Thermopac joining PETCO is a necessary and exciting step towards creating new local end-use markets for PET thermoform recycling; of supporting greater return of this resource into the South African economy, thereby creating new job opportunities; and ultimately, reducing the leakage of these products into the environment.”

Scholtz said PETCO had initiated a trial earlier this year in Cape Town to investigate clear PET thermoform recycling using existing PET bottle recycling infrastructure. She said the results had proved “encouraging” and that a solution was now within reach.

Thanks to the trial, PETCO member – together with one of the country’s largest recyclers, Extrupet – has come up with a likely end-use solution for thermoform recyclate, according to Extrupet joint MD Chandru Wadhwani. PETCO, meanwhile, is now working on a plan to incentivise collectors to collect the lightweight thermoform products that conform to “Design for Recycling” guidelines and are compatible with the current PET bottle recycling infrastructure.

By signing with PETCO, RPC Astrapak Thermopac has also ensured that it is compliant with the government’s call to companies in the paper and packaging industry to have an Industry Waste Management Plan (IndWMP) in place. PETCO, on behalf of its members, submitted its IndWMP ahead of the September 6, 2018, deadline.

PETCO, in its IndWMP, reaffirmed its commitment to representing all packaging products comprising PET. This includes the existing product scope of PET bottles – such as soft drinks, water bottles, foodstuffs, household and personal care – as well as expanding its scope to include edible oil products, such as cooking oil, and thermoform and sheet products, such as fruit trays.

Scholtz said the plan was centred on EPR to ensure that the recycling of PET not only continues, but that ever-increasing recycling targets are met year-on-year, at the lowest cost to the consumer.

“We believe the solution for recycling of these additional products lies within the current PET bottle recycling chain. In many cases, they also form an end-use for PET bottle recycling and provide a closed-loop solution. Most of the PET thermoform trays and tubs produced in SA contain at least 35% recycled content,” said Scholtz.

Speaking about the move to join PETCO, RPC Astrapak Thermopac general manager Craig Matthews said: “We are indeed proud to be the first major thermoforming business in the country to commit to this process… There is a great focus placed on sustainability in all aspects of our company going forward, and it forms part of the group strategy.”


IMAGE: PET thermoform products, such as sandwich and biscuit trays, account for just less than 20% of all PET products nationwide. Because of their complex composition, they are not usually recycled but PETCO and partners are exploring the possibilities using the existing recycling infrastructure.

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Volunteers get dirty to help free Robben Island from waste burden

Volunteers get dirty to help free Robben Island from waste burden

Approximately 100 people assist in iconic landmark’s largest clean-up to date

CAPE TOWN – ONE of South Africa’s most famous landmarks, Robben Island, was freed from some of its waste burden as more than 100 volunteers, guided by the national PET Recycling Company (PETCO) and Plastics SA, embarked on the island’s biggest ever waste collection drive.

The tourist attraction and World Heritage Site, which draws over 300 000 visitors annually, is plagued by visitor litter as well as waste from passing ships and land-based sources – the latter washing into Cape Town’s stormwater drains and rivers, and ultimately Table Bay.

The event, in honour of World Clean-Up Day earlier in September (15 September), comes amid continued warnings from researchers that that litter is growing faster than the human population. In Cape Town, the amount of litter washing up on the city’s beaches increased by 300 per cent between 1994 and 2012 alone.

According to University of Cape Town researcher Professor Peter Ryan, an expert on beach litter along SA’s coastline, roughly 10 times more litter washes ashore at Milnerton than at Koeberg, indicating the importance of local, mainly land-based sources of litter within the bay.

“We don’t have much evidence of direct impacts [of litter] on the island’s wildlife. There are records of birds being entangled in litter [on Robben Island], including an endangered Bank Cormorant chick,” said Ryan.

PETCO stakeholder relations manager Janine Basson said since the majority of ocean waste was derived from land-based sources, stopping waste at source was ultimately the most effective way to deal with marine pollution.

“Keeping recyclables, like PET plastic bottles, in the economy – instead of ending up in landfills – is key,” said Basson.

Since PETCO’s inception in 2004, Basson said PET producers had contributed voluntary recycling fees in excess of R371-million which had enabled the collection of 14 billion discarded PET plastic bottles for recycling, thereby reducing landfills by 3 777 639m3 and carbon emissions by 913 107 tonnes.

PET recycling had created R5.4-billion in economic value to date, and 64,000 income-generating opportunities in 2017 alone, she said.

“As the national body for PET recycling, we recognise that while good strides have been made, there is an urgent need for industry to re-design products and packaging which is compatible with available recycling infrastructure and to work towards phasing out non-recyclable waste completely,” she said, adding that PETCO had made available Designing-for-Recycling guidelines available on its website.

Plastics SA sustainability manager John Kieser said the plastics industry body – which includes polymer producers, converters and recyclers – had been active in cleaning up Robben Island for the past 20 years.

“Some of our most successful clean-ups have been on Robben Island, including one in which we stopped the incineration of waste, and managed the closure of two dump sites. We also started the Working for the Coast project on this island, with two weeks of solid clean-ups,” said Kieser.

He said Friday’s clean-up represented the biggest stretch of the island’s coastline they had yet been permitted to target, which was essentially the entire circumference, except for the penguin breeding area.

The clean-up was organised by PETCO and Plastics SA. The Beach Co-Op’s, “Dirty Dozen” methodology which was developed by Prof Ryan was used to record and track the sources of marine waste collected. Co-op director Aaniyah Omardien said employing this methodology at all clean-ups helped to better understand Cape Town’s waste streams and improve the city’s waste management strategy.

“Litter on Cape Town beaches has grown 300% from 1994 to 2012, with the human population growing a modest 50% over that same period, which means we are producing more litter per person. It will be informative to see what we find by comparison on Robben Island.”

Please see link to album from the event on our Facebook page here:


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National Zoological Gardens launches recycling pilot project

National Zoological Gardens launches recycling pilot project

Media Release: 30 August 2018

If successful, job creation programme will roll out across SA

TSHWANE – SOUTH Africa’s largest zoo, the National Zoological Garden of South Africa (NZG), on Wednesday launched a recycling pilot project aimed at job creation and addressing the massive litter problem which its thousands of annual visitors leave in their wake.

Should the programme prove successful, it could also be rolled out at the Mokopane Biodiversity Centre in Limpopo.

The pilot project, which was founded in conjunction with the national PET Recycling Company (PETCO) and the City of Tshwane, will be operated by the Umkariso Women in Water cooperative.

The NZG’s acting manager for commercial services and business development, Marcel Singh, said five previously unemployed Tshwane residents had been trained and appointed to collect and sort the high volumes of recyclable materials generated daily by the zoo’s restaurants, curio shops, offices, research facilities, animal kitchens and veterinary hospital.

“This project forms part of the NZG’s environmental management plan and recycling is just one area in which we are committed to expanding our green footprint,” said Singh, adding that this was in compliance with the National Environmental Management: Waste Act.

“In implementing the waste hierarchy of reduce, re-use and recycle, we are also waging a war on littering, which is a huge problem. The NZG is currently in the concept phases of developing environmental campaigns aimed at reducing our plastic waste and educating visitors.”

PETCO chief executive officer Cheri Scholtz applauded the zoo for taking a proactive stance on waste management, while providing jobs and skills development for future entrepreneurs.

“The PET industry has long been committed to reducing the environmental impact of PET plastic packaging. This is another fantastic platform for us to engage with the public sector to make a meaningful difference,” said Scholtz.

“Keeping waste out of landfills and leveraging the economic value of recyclable materials presents a great opportunity to deliver much better social, economic and environmental outcomes in the long term.”

She said PETCO had been supporting the NZG’s recycling efforts since 2015, through training workshops as well as the handover of a converted shipping container for office space, trolleys, sorting tables, industrial scales and other equipment needed to get the programme off the ground.


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This workshop is aimed specifically at people who are wanting to appreciate and learn more about the businesses and initiatives that are taking place in the (PET) recycling space, as well as collectors or people who are aspiring to start and grow their recycling businesses.  (more…)

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Meet PETCO's Members

PETCO has shareholder and associate members. Our shareholder members are the visionary companies who pay levies and grants, and credit for funding PET recycling in South Africa goes to them. Our associate members are the amazing individuals, non-profits, schools, municipalities and other companies who are passionate about reducing, reusing, recycling and recovering. We salute you all.

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