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Woolworths 1.5-litre bottle impresses judges in Sapro's best recycled product  of the year competition
Woolworths 1.5-litre bottle impresses judges in Sapro's best recycled product of the year competition

Woolworths 1.5-litre bottle impresses judges in Sapro's best recycled product of the year competition


Woolworths - Nov 14th 2011, 09:16

The South African Plastics Recyclers Organization (SAPRO), with the support of Plastics|SA and various role players, announced the winners of the annual “Best Recycled Product Competition” at a gala awards dinner held at the Midrand Conference Centre in mid-September.. 

This competition was one of the highlights of the local plastic industry’s Clean Up South Africa Week (12-17 September), and encouraged brand owners and industrial designers to consider recycled plastics as a material of choice.

According to Douglas Greig, Chairman of SAPRO, a wide variety of products were entered from throughout South Africa. “We invited submissions in three product categories, namely products made from 100 % recyclate, product containing a certain percentage post-consumer recyclate, and products made from a mixture of post-consumer recycled materials”, Greig explains. “We were thrilled with both the quality and quantity of the entries we received this year, proving that the plastics recycling industry is growing in size, sophistication and value”.

A panel of plastics experts was asked to judge products based on the following criteria:
- Life expectancy of product
- Sustainability and long-term demand and market acceptance for product (i.e. will it still sell in 5 years' time?)
- Tonnage (potential tonnages) diverted from landfills and converted into a product
- Replacement of alternative materials
- Technical achievements in manufacturing excellence to overcome recycled material challenges
- Measures taken to ensure product consistency and customer satisfaction despite recycled material content

After careful deliberation, the following products were selected:
- In the 100 % post-consumer recyclate category:
 - Gundle API received a Gold Award for its 3-layer co-extruded damp- and waterproofing membranes.
 - Firstform received a Silver Award for its Plastic wood effect furniture feet

- In the category for percentage recyclate mixed with virgin:
- Polypet walked off with the Gold Award for its Woolworths
1,5 liter juice bottle
 - Mouldings & Frames International and Supreme Mouldings
(Pty) Ltd both received a Silver Award for their decorative
picture frame mouldings made from recycled polystyrene

- In the category for Mixed Recycled Materials:
- Tufflex Plastic Timber Products received the Gold Award
for its Sleeper Bench
 - Ecology Plastics was awarded the Silver Award for its Two
Seater Storage Bench

- Special Merit Awards were made to:
- E’Yako Green Eco-friendly Corporate Gifts and Clothing for
their range of products made from recycled PVC, and
 - Heath Nash cc for its exquisite looking Bottle Ball Light

The evening, however, clearly belonged to Polypet who was awarded the PACSA Trophy for the Best Recycled Product of the Year for its 1.5 liter cool drink bottle manufactured for Woolworths, which impressed the judges with its recycled content and consumer acceptance.

Recycled materials for the bottles were supplied by Extrupet, who has invested in a world-class recycling facility, enabling them to produce recycled materials fit for use in food contact applications. They received international accreditation by the Bureau Veritas Certification (BVC) for their recycling process for flakes to rPET for use in food packaging, making this South African recycler the first in the world to have achieved this level of accreditation.

This 1,5 liter juice bottle represents and personifies the commitment of a complete value chain to make a difference, namely:

- Woolworths’ commitment to the environment
- Extrupet’s commitment to a world class recyclate, and
- Polypet’s commitment to manufacture aesthetically appealing packaging that meets the consumer’s expectations
- PET recycling company Petco’s commitment to Extended Producer Responsibility.

“This bottle is an excellent example of how major retailers can influence an industry when they make a commitment towards environmental responsibility and sustainability”, adds Cheri Scholtz, Chairperson of Plastics SA’s Sustainability Council and CEO of Petco. “In 2010 alone, 99 400 tons of PET was used in beverage bottles.

“Through collective effort and a united vision of reducing our impact on the environment, we were able to achieve the most sustainable use for resources, namely the ability to “close the loop” – recycling a bottle back into a bottle – and creating a vital new end-use market for the 3 million PET bottles currently being recycled daily in South Africa”, Scholtz says.

By using rPET in the Woolworth’s 1.5 litre juice bottle, it paves the way for other brand owners and converters to utilise the growing percentage of recycled post-consumer PET bottles available in our country instead of relying on virgin PET”, she says.

Concludes Greig: “Woolworths embarked a few years ago on their Good Business Journey, and making use of recycled plastic in their food packaging is a major vote of confidence in the safety and quality of products manufactured in the South African recycling industry. In our opinion, this year’s winner represents a significant step in the right direction with regards to the reduction of packaging waste material and providing additional economic benefits to society and the economy as a whole”.

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