Plastics recycler teams up with military unit to recycle waste

28th April 2023

By: Rebecca Campbell

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastics recycling company Petco South Africa, which is a Producer Responsibility Organisation created by the country’s plastics industry as a self-regulating initiative to recycle PET plastics, has partnered with the South African Military Health Services (SAMHS) in a recycling programme.

The recycling initiative is a separation-at-source project at the SAMHS training centre, on the outskirts of Lephalale in Limpopo province.

The relationship between Petco and the SAMHS started in late 2021, at the initiative of the training centre’s Officer Commanding, Colonel MR Mphashi. For the past two years, Petco has been conducting annual recycling workshops at the base, training the recruits to identify,categorise, sort and separate the different types of recyclables. The separation-at-source programme is the latest phase in this cooperation, and was launched last month.

“Petco believes in strengthening and developing relationships with both the public and private sectors regarding visible and ongoing recycling projects,” highlighted company CEO Cheri Scholtz. “Recycling is not a one-man show. Industry cannot do it alone, and the government cannot do it alone. We need each other.”

At any given time, the base accommodates up to 250 new recruits. This means the generation of significant amounts of waste, which hitherto has ended up in landfill sites. Now, recyclable materials will be separated out of the waste. Recycling bins and cages have been placed at the base kitchen and accommodation blocks. When these are filled, they are taken to a converted six-metre shipping container, sponsored by Petco.

At the container, participants in the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment’s Working on Fire programme sort the recyclables and then store them in the container. This is necessary to prevent monkeys and other wild animals rummaging through and scattering the sorted waste.

“In living up to our standards of protecting the environment entrusted to us, we intend to practise responsible waste management and reduce the amount of waste that ends up at the landfill,” affirmed Mphashi.

“Petco is really pleased to have been involved in this project, which enables the diversion of recyclables from landfill,” stated Scholtz. “This is an important community project that has an impact, not just on one person, but on the behaviour of many towards the responsible and disciplined disposal of recyclables. We trust that the military community will learn more about recycling, actively participate in this initiative and instil this behaviour among their own families.”

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor





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