Why do we need to increase recycled content in our packaging?
In South Africa today, there is limited demand for recycled content in new packaging, with recycled content mostly concentrated in plastic bags, HDPE crates and PET bottles. However, there is good potential to rapidly increase the inclusion of recycled content in these and other packaging formats. By increasing demand, the value of plastic packaging at the end of its first life will also increase, encouraging higher collection rates and a higher recycling rate in the country. We acknowledge that some of the plastic packaging today is currently being recycled to produce other types of products (non-packaging), and we do believe this open-loop recycling is complementary to help us reach our targets.
Currently, more than half of the plastic packaging used in South Africa is not being recycled at all, which means there is an opportunity to grow and increase the collection and processing of this material, which today is waste, into packaging and non-packaging products. Both closed- and open-loop demand for recycled content are needed to increase to reach the 70% recycling rate. The SA Plastics Pact efforts will focus primarily in encouraging closed-loop recycling.
Our Target 4, Rapidly increasing recycled content in our plastic packaging – 5 quick wins report identifies the quick wins to enable closed loop recycling; turning packaging waste into new packaging products.