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Boost for SA plastic pollution efforts as major player pledges support

Home Infrastructure Environmental – Green Industries Boost for SA plastic pollution efforts as major player pledges support

SAFRIPOL, one of Africa’s leading polymer producers and marketers, has officially signed the Operation Clean Sweep (OCS) pledge.

Gert Claasen, Technology and Innovation Executive at Safripol, said the pledge aligns with their recently launched “Let’s Plastic Responsibly” campaign, which encourages the responsible use of plastics.

“It was important for us to pledge our commitment to Operation Clean Sweep as the entire plastics industry needs to work together to create an environment which is free from plastic pollution. The signing of the pledge demonstrates Safripol’s leadership and commitment in this regard, by putting mechanisms in place aimed at keeping plastic resin out of the environment and ensuring that plastic remains a resource in the materials loop,” he said.

Safripol already made a commitment to the OCS Pledge in December 2020 and commemorated this declaration by hosting their annual ocean clean-up event at the Umgeni River mouth and the Blue Lagoon beach in KwaZulu-Natal.

The pledge was formally signed at the company’s Sasolburg operations on 19 February 2021. Douw Steyn, Plastics SA’s Sustainability Director, officiated the ceremony and presented an overview of the OCS implementation plan before conducting a walk-about through their facility to identify possible areas of improvement.

Avashnee Chetty, Safripol Sustainability Manager, explained that one of the main reasons for plastic resin ending up in the environment is poor waste management practices.  This can be as a result of sub-optimal operations, poor housekeeping, poor bagging and storage practices, and losses suffered during transportation.

To prevent this, Safripol has implemented many of the interventions suggested in the OCS toolkit, developed by Plastics SA. Both the company’s Sasolburg and Durban facilities are ISO 14001:2015 certified, which ensures that optimal environmental waste management practices are implemented throughout its operations.

Additionally, to minimise possible exposure to pellet leakage in their supply chain, Safripol also has emergency clean-up protocols in place with all its approved distributors to ensure that no resin is lost during distribution.

“Signing the pledge afforded us a valuable opportunity to review our current environmental practices and identify opportunities for continual improvement. Preventing plastic leakage is not only important in terms of preserving our natural environment, but it also makes business sense,” said Chetty.

“As a polymer and plastic pellet producer, we feel that this is only one of many steps the plastics industry as a whole needs to take to ensure we shape our world responsibly for the future.  Zero resin leakage into the environment can only be truly realised if the entire value-chain is mobilised around this cause. We therefore encourage all our customers and stakeholders to also take the OCS pledge.”

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