Presented by PETCO

PETCO partners with municipalities to make a difference

 ·7 Sep 2022

For the past 17 years, PETCO has been engaging with municipalities towards the shared goal of effective waste management and recycling.

Key among municipal waste management priorities is the integration of waste pickers into the formal sector.

The informal collectors operating in the country play an important role in municipal waste collection systems and in diverting waste from landfill.

Their integration advances government priorities such as job creation, poverty alleviation, environmental protection and economic transformation.

PETCO’s experience in working with the entire polyethylene terephthalate (PET) value chain makes it eminently qualified to assist municipalities with sustainability efforts.

In the past year alone, PETCO and partners ensured that 90 402 tonnes of post-consumer PET, which equates to 2.1 billion bottles, was collected for recycling, saving 560 495 cubic metres of municipal landfill space.

A further R1.2 billion was injected into the national economy from the sale of recycled materials.

Municipalities are, by law, required to develop integrated waste management plans (IWMP) to drive implementation of the National Waste Management Strategy.

Although legislation requiring producer responsibility organisations (PROs) to co-operate with municipalities came into effect in November 2021, PETCO had been doing so since 2008.

“Currently, there are very few municipal separation-at-source collection systems, so we work with municipalities to establish kerbside collection projects and expand PET collection into new areas,” says PETCO collections and training project manager Belinda Booker.

In addition, PETCO provides skills development training and mentorship for waste pickers registered with participating municipalities.

“This year so far, we have conducted 28 basic training workshops for 1 357 collectors in eight provinces, and a further three accredited business training workshops,” says Booker.

“We help them to grow sustainable businesses, and sponsor infrastructure and equipment to unlock collections and improve the quantity and quality of post-consumer polyethylene terephthalate (PET) collected,” she explains.

Msinga Local Municipality in northern KwaZulu-Natal, which covers two towns and six traditional authority areas, is one recent example where PETCO is assisting with waste picker integration.

The municipality has registered 138 street- and landfill-based waste pickers and provided them with a material recovery facility (MRF) within the landfill site to operate and store their recyclable materials.

The municipality collects 15 tonnes of PET each month and sells it to buy-back centres in Greytown and Pietermaritzburg.

PETCO recently presented a basic recycling workshop for waste pickers in conjunction with Dannhauser Local Municipality and sponsored an H15 baling machine and 25 bulk storage bags alongside polymer producer Safripol.

“The impact of partnerships on the recycling value chain cannot be underestimated, and collaboration is critical to ensuring that change can be implemented at a national scale,” says Booker.

Plans are currently underway to assist a further 21 pilot projects in the City of Cape Town with equipment, branding and accredited training.

To collaborate with PETCO, please contact Belinda Booker: [email protected]

Read more about PETCO and what we do here.

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