The South African Plastic Recycling Organisation (SAPRO) has released the results of its first annual SA Plastics Recycling survey in collaboration with the South African Plastics Federation, which reveals a 32% increase in the tonnages of plastics recycled over the four years to end of 2009, and highlights the positive impact of plastic recycling on the economy and job creation.
The survey reveals that 28,9% of all plastics packaging was recycled during the measured period, translating into 165 772 tons of packaging. 48,8% of all recyclable materials were obtained from post-consumer sources, including landfills. Recycling a ton of waste has twice the economic impact of burying it in the ground and will pay R1095 per ton more in salaries, produce R4905 more in goods and services, and generate R1.3-million more in sales than disposing of it in a landfill.
According to the study, there are 200 to 220 plastics recycling manufacturers in South Africa who employ 4,800 people (directly) creating 35,000 jobs (indirectly) who have an annual payroll of R250-million. Annabe Pretorius, General Manager for SAPRO, says that one of the most significant impacts of plastics recycling on the economy is job creation, as well as reduction of carbon footprint and the re-use of non-renewable resources. “Without this industry there would be more than 35000 employees who would not have work and the industry is growing steadily with more and more manufacturers being created, which is creating more jobs.”
There are also many jobs that are indirectly supported by recycling such as collection entails waste picking, sorting, compacting and baling. “The bulk of these people would be self-employed in the waste picking/harvesting aspect of recycling. About one third of them are employed by collectors and would be involved in recyclers, sorting, baling, collection and transport of recyclable materials.”, Pretorius said.
With regard to the cost implication on the economy, Pretorius explains that if people don’t recycle, the first significant cost implication would be that 34 500 families would be without jobs and without an income. Secondly, there would be at least 400 less companies (recyclers and collectors and transport companies) doing business in South Africa. Thirdly, certain products would be at least 20% more expensive, e.g. carrier bags, refuse bags, furniture shrouds, irrigation piping, etc. In addition, municipalities would run out of landfill space sooner and would have to develop more landfill space.
The Complete Survey is available from the Plastics Federation of South Africa, Dianne Blumberg can be contacted on 011 314 4021 for more details.