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Big plastics recycler switches to solar

Home Infrastructure Environmental – Green Industries Big plastics recycler switches to solar

EXTRUPET one of the largest recyclers of plastics in African has switched to renewable energy, making it one of the first companies in the recycling industry to adopt solar power.

The 1.3MWp solar plant has an annual generation capacity of 2GWh and, according to the company, will reduce its carbon emissions by 1,800 tons every year, which is equal to the carbon sequestered by just under 31,000 tree seedlings grown for 10 years.

In addition, it is set to bring down electricity costs by an estimated 30% from the first month and savings of around R130M (US$9m) to R140M (US$9.7m) over the course of the lifecycle of the solar plant.

“Climate change is the greatest existential threat ever faced by humanity. Being one of the pioneering recycling companies in Africa, everything we do is dedicated towards building a greener tomorrow,” said Vijay Naidu, Joint Managing Director at Extrupet.

“We are always looking at new ways to reduce energy expenditure and decrease our impact on the environment, and a switch to solar energy was the next logical step towards a sustainable future.”

The company, which recycles more than four million PET bottles every day at its Wadeville, Gauteng facility, has already commenced operations in the brand-new plant built in collaboration with Solarise Africa and NEC XON.

Solarise Africa also provided the full-service commercial solution to finance the project.

“At Solarise Africa, we believe in collaboration and working with our partners to help Africa thrive. In spite of the global pandemic and all the related challenges, the team managed to deliver on time,” said Sakkie van Wijk, Chief Commercial Officer at Solarise Africa.

“We are proud to partner with Extrupet and NEC XON to help tackle climate change.”

The engineering, procurement and construction was managed by NEC XON, the combination of XON, a systems integrator providing custom ICT and security services and solutions in Southern Africa, and NEC Africa, the African business of global technology giant NEC Corporation.

Lungani Zwane, Recycling Programme Officer at PETCO, also attended the inauguration and remarked, “We are excited and encouraged by the example that has been set by Extrupet to decrease their carbon footprint.

“We encourage our members to find ways of integrating renewable energy into our industry and wholeheartedly support any efforts that help stave off climate change.”

Cheri Scholtz, Chief Executive Officer at PETCO also congratulated Extrupet on this project. “This project is a step in the right direction towards using renewable power sources that will offset the use of carbon-based electricity and improve the current carbon footprint of this important Bottle-2-Bottle plant. The investment in clean energy by Extrupet deserves recognition and we wish the project every success,” she said.

Extrupet recently partnered with PETCO, drinking water bottler Oasis Water, label manufacturer UPM Raflatac and label printers Java Print, to unveil a new wash-off label adhesive placed on bottles.

This renders plastic bottles with self-adhesive labels fully recyclable, promising positive spin-offs for the environment and plastic producers.

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