Mpact’s R350 million state-of-the-art polyethylene terephthalate (PET) recycling operation in Wadeville, Germiston is producing recycled PET (rPET) plastic for food grade packaging.
Now fully operational under the name Mpact Polymers, this bottle-to-bottle grade operation forms part of the company’s mission to reduce the PET industry’s impact on the environment.
The company recently announced that its recycling process complies with European Union Food Safety Authority specifications. The product was found to comply with the EU regulations specific to plastic materials and articles intended for contact with foodstuffs. The rPET was tested by the Fraunhofer Institute in Munich, Germany.
The opening of this operation increases the amount of PET bottles collected for recycling by 29 000 tonnes a year. This amounts to a saving of about 180 000m3 of landfill space each year, the equivalent of 75 Olympic-size swimming pools. The saving in carbon emissions amounts to about 45 000 tonnes a year. Through PET collection and recovery, the operation will also help to create entrepreneurial income opportunities.
‘The PET recycling process used by Mpact Polymers transforms used PET bottles into resin that meets the needs of the most demanding food and beverage packaging applications,’ says John Hunt, MD of Mpact Recycling. ‘This ensures that the material can be re-used to make the same bottles from which it came, thereby closing the recycling loop. Our rPET product will be known as Savuka, which means “revival”.’
According to the industry body Petco, total PET consumption in South Africa is around 198 000 tonnes per annum, of which 68 per cent is consumed in the beverage industry for bottle manufacture. Last year half of post-consumer PET bottles were collected.
The demand for rPET has grown as companies aim to reduce their environmental impact. An operation such as Mpact Polymers provides the industry with a quality packaging material and, at the same time, reduces the amount of PET being landfilled.