SIKA South Africa soups up its sustainability with circular economy training programme

By Varushka Padayachi
Digital Manager

With a strong local and global focus on sustainable solutions, SIKA South Africa recently partnered with Ocean Plastic Technologies to do their bit. The synergy between the overall missions both parties share, naturally facilitated SIKA’s own sustainable environmental strategy. 

SIKA SA reached out by sponsoring a training initiative along with volunteering time and effort to assist a great initiative, and to see first-hand how a circular economy is put into practice. 

SIKA South Africa team sorting plastics with Ocean Plastic Technologies

Sustainable business model 

Ocean Plastic Technologies is creating an emerging economy for a new circular plastic waste value chain that empowers industries, consumers and communities across the world to reduce plastic waste. This starts with the company’s network of micro recycling plants (MRP), owner-operated plants that recycle and part process reclaimed ocean, landfill and multi-layer plastic for resale back into the existing supply chain where it is remanufactured into new products. It is a sustainable business model that allows communities to monetise waste and helps them facilitate their positive participation within a global circular economy.  

The benefits of these MRP’s are many, but in short, they financially support the communities in which they operate, and do much to improve the natural environment within these communities – and collectively on a global scale. Ocean Plastic Technologies has partnered with the NPO skills development company, LOTS (Learn Observe Train Serve), to ensure the sustainability of the MRP model by providing ongoing training and mentoring for the owner-operators. Again, the alignment of Ocean Plastic Technologies’ founding initiative resonates with LOTS’ philosophy of both improving the environment and the upliftment of communities. Each of the currently operational MRPs have created three direct jobs, one hundred community jobs, and clean up approximately 152 000 kilograms of plastic each year. 

What are MRPs? 

Micro Recycling Plants (MRPs) are owner-operated plants that recycle and part process reclaimed ocean, landfill and multi-layer plastic for resale back into the existing supply chain where it is remanufactured into new products. It is a sustainable business model that allows communities to monetise waste and helps them facilitate their positive participation within a global circular economy. 

Clean-up day 

On 10 November 2021, SIKA SA volunteered an eight strong staff contingent from head office, to attend their first clean-up day – the beneficiary on this occasion was one of the MRPs in Willowfontein, Pietermaritzburg. Split into two teams, the SIKA staff firstly participated in a clean-up collection of rubbish in the surrounding area. They then switched to a sorting role, where different grades and colours of the plastics needed separating for processing through the recycling plant. On a normal day, Gogos (grandmothers) from the community would be performing these tasks, both earning from it and spending back into the community, a tidy, symbiotic relationship between people, plastic and place.  

The SIKA South Africa volunteer team

Skills development training  

The SIKA team were awed by this recycling concept, excited to both see it in action and to be a part of it. To witness the skills development training of the owner-operator entrepreneurs first-hand, and the downline job creation they facilitated, was reward enough for SIKA’s sleeves-up team! SIKA looks forward to the next clean-up. 

Oliver Nudds, managing director at Ocean Plastic Technologies, sums it up: “We have to rethink and redesign the waste plastic circular economy. Investing in communities is key and by taking recycling to source, we’re working to advance a sustainable and inclusive waste plastic economy that drives entrepreneurship, wealth creation and community development. Our mobile Micro Recycling Plants (MRPs) are located at the source of waste plastic – with a network of collectors cleaning up their communities which ensures that the waste doesn’t enter waterways and end up in our oceans. It’s a win-win all round and essential to our circular economy.” 

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