Until now, South Africa has not focussed on recycling post-consumer vinyl packaging waste, due to the fact that the volumes in this market was considered to be too small to justify the costs of collection and transport. However, clean and separated vinyl waste is relatively easy to recycle and requires less energy for reprocessing than all other polymers. Moreover, using recycled vinyl in new products replaces virgin material and reduces carbon emissions associated with manufacturing virgin vinyl by up to 85% – significantly lowering the carbon footprint of new vinyl products.
Unfortunately, waste management companies materials recovery facilities (MRFs) have the manpower or capabilities to remove this potentially valuable material from the waste stream. However, demand is growing from manufacturers to increase the use of vinyl recyclate and signatory companies of the SA Plastics Pact have publicly committed to reducing the amount of plastics being sent to landfill, promote the collection and recycling of plastic waste, and promote the use of recyclate in new products where standards permit.
Through greater collaboration between industry, manufacturers and the wider waste and recycling sector, the vinyl industry can be part of the solution and transform our plastic waste into a sustainable future resource!
As part of its strategy for dealing with post- consumer packaging waste submitted to Government’s Section 18 Industry Waste Management Plan, SAVA has developed a unique collection model for household packaging waste that bear the Number 3 polymer identification code.
Known as VinylLoop, this framework sees a establishment of a dedicated, source- selected collection model in partnership with major retailers and brand owners, in support of creating a circular economy for all vinyl products sold on the local market.