LEADING packaging and processing solutions provider, Tetra Pak, plans to increase the recycling rate of Liquid Board Packaging (LBP) in South Africa to 40% by 2030. This ambitious target was announced at an event attended by government departments, the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA), dairy and juice producers, PETCO, FSC, Gayatri paper mill, Infinite industries, Timber plastic and various associations representing waste pickers.
Tetra Pak Southern Africa managing director, Klaus Plenge, said: “We are here today to present our vision for the circular economy and discuss how we can assist in reaching sustainability objectives. Along with renewability, biodiversity, and collection. Recycling is an important priority in our sustainability strategy in Southern Africa.”
“We are dedicated to expanding collection and recycling efforts in South Africa, with the goal of keeping materials in use and out of landfills through effective value chain creation and support, as well as continuous recycling capability development.”
“Within the last three years, Tetra Pak invested around R34 million in the local collection and recycling ecosystem, aiming to boost the effective recycling rate of our packages,” he said. “In 2023, we are investing R18 million to support the industry. This shows our commitment to extended producer responsibility (EPR). Our goal is to surpass 8,500 tonnes in collection and recycling, pushing us closer to a more sustainable future.”
To achieve these ambitious targets a range of initiatives was announced during the event:
- Investing R10 million in a PolyAl recycling plant planned to launch in 2024. This will improve the production pipeline for plastiwood furniture (recycled plastic), sold by various retailers around the country.
- In 2024, a pallet made from 100% PolyAl will be launched ensuring proper reuse and minimising the environmental impact of packaging waste. This new pallet will be available to FMCG operations nationally, enhancing the recycling of PolyAl packaging materials.
- Currently, 38% of LBP delivered to the Gayatri recycling facility is derived from recently activated buyback centres facilitated by Tetra Pak and PETCO.
- The company has created industry collaborations dedicated to the collection and recycling of carton packages. For instance, its ‘Choose to Recycle’ school competition has collected approximately 45,000 cartons for recycling to date. This pilot campaign runs in conjunction with Woodlands Dairy, PETCO, and Gayatri Paper Mills. Tetra Pak is broadening this campaign with more partners and targeting more schools in the Cape and Gauteng regions.
Plenge added, “Looking ahead, we plan to invest further in the next three years to continue increasing recycling capability in South Africa. This investment will reflect our determination to create a sustainable future and an efficient recycling infrastructure in the country.”
Tetra Pak’s current initiatives focus not only on recycling. The company has also invested €25 million in its Pinetown plant to improve efficiencies, extend its reach and serve more customers. The upgrade will have a positive impact on job creation, enhance local supply chains and significantly reduce lead times for delivery, making Tetra Pak more agile and responsive to customer needs. The investment will also benefit local farming communities and suppliers of raw materials and services.
The Pinetown upgrade is also enhancing the plant’s operational sustainability, through the reduction of CO2 emissions, using less energy and water in processing, by incorporating alternative, green sources of electricity in manufacturing processes. “All these initiatives are a testament to Tetra Pak’s commitment to Southern Africa and to drive recycling efforts, reduce waste, and find innovative solutions to build a sustainable future,” Plenge concludes.