Polystyrene recycling takes off in Durban

2017-10-05 06:01
Apples in a polystyrene container. Photo: supplied

Apples in a polystyrene container. Photo: supplied

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THE Polystyrene Association of South Africa has teamed up with Wildlands who will now collect, process and supply post-consumer and industrial recycled polystyrene products to manufacturers - ultimately offering a solution that will prevent this valuable resource from ending up in Durban’s landfill sites.

Director of the Polystyrene Association of South Africa Adri Spangenberg said: “Expanded polystyrene is one of South Africa’s most commonly used materials relied upon by canteens and spaza shops owners and restauranteurs to keep their food or beverages hot or cold, as well as by retailers to protect high value items such as televisions or fridges owing to the material’s excellent insulation properties.”

According to Spangenberg, polystyrene is also widely used by supermarkets to transport and pack their perishable food products such as meat, fruit and vegetables owing to the fact that polystyrene offers excellent insulation properties, extends the shelf life of food and protects items against breakage. 

“The wonderful thing about polystyrene is that the material consists of 96% air – making it incredibly lightweight. This has a significant impact on carbon emissions during transportation, but also unfortunately causes it to be easily blown away by wind where it becomes visible litter found on beaches or along roadsides.”

The collected polystyrene is put through an Ingot machine that transforms into a material used by recyclers for the manufacture of stationery, hangers, picture frames, cornices and skirtings. It is evenly mixed with a special cement mixture for use in building and construction.

Kaveer Singh of Wildlands said: “We are very excited to become part of this project that will not only divert a valuable item away from landfill, but also help to create jobs and support a growing industry.”

Singh encouraged businesses and residents to take their cleaned polystyrene to their Cato Manor Recycling Depot situated in the SPCA Excess Road, making sure that their material is cleaned and void of any left-over food, bones, etc.

“Every bit counts and we are working on establishing more collection and recycling depots in and around Durban in the near future. The public or companies that have large quantities of polystyrene are also welcome to contact us on 078 187 8793 if they need assistance with collection.”

Spangenberg added that polystyrene recycling has grown year-on-year to more than 4 200 tonnes last year, saving 162 350 000 litres of landfill space thanks to their various recycling projects.

“This is equivalent to 65 olympic-sized swimming pools filled with polystyrene that was diverted from landfill, that at the same time helped to create more than 48 000 jobs in the plastics recycling industry. ”

For further details, visit www.polystyreneassociation.co.za or www.wildlands.co.za or alternatively email KaveerS@wildlands.co.za or call 078 187 8793 or 033 343 6380. -Supplied

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