Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) recycling company Petco submitted its Industry Waste Management Plan (IndWMP) for the PET packaging sector as part of industry body Packaging SA’s Federation of Plans for the packaging industry, says Petco stakeholder relations manager Janine Basson.
Packaging SA and several producer responsibility organisations (PROs), including Petco, formed the Federation of Plans in response to Government Notice 41303 of December 6, last year, which called on the paper and packaging industry, electrical and electronic industry, and the lighting industry to develop and submit IndWMPs.
The Federation of Plans was submitted to the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) earlier this month and includes individual PROs’ IndWMPs. The DEA has given an indicative timeline of the approval process, which currently includes public hearings starting in November, with a final decision to be made by February 2019.
Basson notes that several stakeholders came together to exchange ideas and explore solutions. “This has ushered in an unprecedented degree of collaboration and innovation, enabling Petco to craft an IndWMP that sets ambitious targets, kick-starts cross-value projects, and orchestrates and reinforces complementary initiatives,” she enthuses.
Petco’s IndWMP is based on the current Petco model, with many augmented and expanded activities. The company is excited about mobilising the industry in a way that has not been possible before, states Basson.
The implementation of the plan will require PET converters to work with brand owners, retailers, municipalities and other stakeholders to develop and implement programmes to advance the circular economy approach to PET waste management. Further, the plan discusses creating better products, reducing reliance on the extraction of virgin materials and supporting efforts to fight climate change.
Basson mentions that some of the challenges include measures regarding financing of industry plans through the National Treasury and the collection of tax.
“The opportunities, however, are more exciting. If implemented with vision and insight, the Petco plan has the potential to significantly improve the recycling economy and result in well-run and cost-effective programmes, as well as increased recycling and environmental benefits, coupled with skills development and job creation.”
It will also facilitate the integration of the formal and informal economies, she adds.
Further, Petco has worked with several municipalities, schools, local nongovernmental organisations, international organisations and South African government officials, as well as other PROs, to make interventions across the value chain.
“Petco is well placed to continue delivering results in this next stage of South Africa’s environmental legislation,” Basson concludes.