Collected PET containers arrive at recyclers yards in baled form, which in itself is quite a feat, since in South Africa many of the containers are retrieved from landfill. This means the containers are often clogged with soil and other material, and hence require a wash process before actual reprocessing into rPET can commence

Safripol launches first rPET product

SAFRIPOL has launched its first rPET product Aspire®, containing post-consumer resin.

The Aspire fast reheat resin offers excellent performance and is a high-quality thermoplastic material used for injection and stretch blow-moulding of bottles used for mineral water; carbonated soft drinks; fruit juice; dairy products; edible oils; and cosmetic and pharmaceutical products. Other applications include sheet extrusion; thermoforming of extruded sheets for food packaging; and industrial strap extrusion.

It is cobalt free and in line with European standards. It allows for maximum blowing throughputs by quickly heating the preforms in the infrared ovens. Products made from this material are low-stick, handle easily and are also 100% recyclable.

Safripol customers will be offered a ‘one bag’ solution with each bag containing 15% or 25% post-consumer rPET. (The South African Waste Act currently requires 12.5%). Aspire rPET is available in four versions: Aspire T80, Aspire T84, Aspire 84J and Aspire Bio100.

Aspire PET is approved by EU Regulation 10/2011 and USA FDA Code of Federal Regulations (CFR21) Section 177.1630 (polyethylene phthalate polymers).

Even though plastic recycling has a far greater carbon ‘footprint’ than producing virgin material (due to the extensive challenges of collection, baling, sorting, washing, shredding/granulating and re-extrusion), it is the way the industry has focused recently, which is to find post-use applications for the large quantities of plastic scrap going to landfill or in the form of litter, with the latter having become the industry’s Achilles heel. The addition of recycled quantities into virgin material is that a fundamental improvement for the recycling sector.

The landscape for plastic recycling in South Africa is both good and bad: we have a well-developed collection and recycling sector but many of the materials collected arrive in a dirty state at recyclers’ plants as a lot of the collection takes place at landfill sites. But the technology exists now to deal with these problems, with recycling machinery manufacturers such as Erema and Starlinger producing incredible technology for reprocessing PET. Major investments are required to compete in the area.