African Polystyrene Alliance paving the way for a sustainable and circular PS economy

THE African Polystyrene Industry Alliance (APIA), a pioneering non-profit industry body, held its official launch event on 29 February at the Plastics SA office in Midrand.

The event marked a significant milestone in the polystyrene industry’s journey towards sustainability, circular economy practices, and responsible production. As an industry association that now represents the role-players across the African continent, APIA will be dedicated to promoting the versatile applications of polystyrene, as well as the recyclability of polystyrene, positioning it as an eco-friendly and sustainable material.

“The launch of APIA is a direct result of our industry participation that took place at the UNEP-3 meeting held in Kenya at the end of 2023. During these high-level talks with our global counterparts, African industry leaders recognised the importance of united action to protect the stature and future of the industry on our own continent. We are fortunate to now form part of a global network that allows us to share information, research and best practice for the manufacturing and recycling of polystyrene,” says Adri Spangenberg, the driving force behind the newly formed APIA.

She explains that APIA’s scope encompasses extruded polystyrene, high-impact polystyrene, and expanded polystyrene. The association represents a diverse spectrum of role-players, including raw material suppliers, converters, recyclers, machine suppliers, traders, and more.

“APIA encourages members along the entire value chain to sign up as we promote the use of polystyrene as food and protective packaging, agriculture, insulation, as well as building and construction industry. By uniting under a single banner, we will be amplifying our collective voice as we aim to foster innovation, cultivate new markets, and safeguard the reputation and future of our industry,” Spangenberg explains.

Anton Hanekom, executive director of Plastics SA, welcomed the formation of the new association.

“South Africa currently converts around 70 000 tons of polystyrene per year. This is a testament to the industry’s growth and potential. We applaud the industry for taking the pro-active steps to create a sustainable and circular economy for polystyrene throughout the African continent. In the rapidly evolving landscape, it is crucial to look to all applications of the material. For this reason, we welcome any effort to promote responsible production, consumption, and recycling practices.”

 

Members of APIA

The following producer companies have already taken up membership with APIA: Cibapac, Technopol, Cumulus, Isomoulders and Isowall. Industry role player Pelagica has also joined APIA’s efforts. Membership from the recycling industry includes Supreme Mouldings, Envirolite, Liteconcrete, CemteQ and the international industry players like BEWI, amongst others. Partnerships and collaboration with countries such as Kenya, Nigeria, and other African nations are also already underway.

Keith Anderson, CEO of eWASA (EPR Waste Association of SA), expressed his warm welcome and support of the launch of APIA. As the preferred Producer Responsibility Organisation (PRO) for the local polystyrene association, eWASA sees the establishment of this alliance as a significant milestone in promoting sustainable practices within the industry.

Anderson emphasised the importance of member participation in the alliance, viewing it as a crucial step towards compliance with Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations. He encouraged all stakeholders to join forces in advancing responsible waste management and driving positive environmental impact across the African continent.

“The benefits of unity in the industry are substantial,” emphasises Spangenberg. “Accessing international markets, advocating for the industry, setting benchmarks, and fostering networking opportunities are crucial aspects of our initiative. It’s not just about recycling; it’s a comprehensive approach to sustainable development and environmental protection.”

  • For membership enquiries and benefits, email Adri@APIA.Africa or call (082) 686-5082