Mpact’s R350-million state-of-the-art polyethylene terephthalate (PET) recycling operation in Wadeville, Germiston, which produces recycled PET (rPET) plastic for food grade packaging, announced today that its recycling process complies with European Union (EU) Food Safety Authority specifications.
Now fully operational under the name Mpact Polymers, this bottle-to-bottle grade operation forms part of Mpact’s mission to reduce the PET industry’s impact on the environment. Mpact Polymers can confirm that its recycled PET plastic has been tested by the Fraunhofer Institute in Munich, Germany. The product was found to comply with the EU regulations specific to plastic materials and articles intended for contact with foodstuffs. This means the materials are found to be safe for use in the packaging of food and beverage products.
This is good news in the recycling and bottling industry as the opening of this operation increases the amount of PET bottles collected for recycling by 29,000 tonnes a year; generating a new raw material directly from what was previously considered waste material that would have been sent to landfill sites. This amounts to a saving of about 180 000 cubic metres of landfill space each year, the equivalent of 75 Olympic-size swimming pools. The saving in carbon emissions also amounts to about 45 000 tons a year. Further, 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, Managing Director at 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 Industry body PETCO, total PET consumption in South Africa is around 198 000 tonnes per annum of which 68% is consumed in the beverage industry for bottle manufacture; and 2015 has seen half of post-consumer PET bottles collected. The demand for rPET has grown as companies try to reduce their environmental impact, which means that an operation such as Mpact Polymers provides a required product while reducing the amount of PET being disposed of in landfill sites.
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