MEMBERS of the Southern African Vinyls Association (SAVA) recently voted in favour of forming a separate Producer Recovery Organisation (PRO) within the association. It is named VinylLoop and its specific focus will be to manage the collection and recycling of post-consumer and post-industrial vinyl packaging waste.
Explaining the rationale behind forming a new PRO for the industry, SAVA CEO Monique Holtzhausen said that 70 % of the local PVC market goes into non-packaging products that are used in long-term applications such as pipes, window frames and doors, flooring, cables, ceilings or in the healthcare industry.
“Some of these products last in excess of 150 years. It is therefore not the responsibility of these SAVA members to fund the collection and recycling activities for vinyl packaging that occupies less than two percent of the overall market. The decision was therefore taken to form VinylLoop for packaging members, funded by packaging members and headed up by Adri Spangenberg.”
Spangenberg, a veteran of the industry, said that although vinyl products are readily recycled in South Africa, there has never been a formal collection and recycling programme for post-consumer and post-industrial vinyl packaging waste due to the fact that the volumes in this market was considered to be too small to justify the costs of collection and transport.
“As part of our strategy for dealing with packaging waste submitted to government’s Section 18 Industry Waste Management Plan, SAVA is currently developing a unique collection model for household packaging waste that bear the Number 3 polymer identification code. This plan includes working closely with municipalities and the entire value chain,” she said.
Spangenberg said VinylLoop operates under the SAVA banner, but would be registered as a separate Non-Profit Company (NPC), with its own board, bank account, membership forms and invoicing system in order to facilitate the bi-annual audits by government and avoid administrative confusion.
“Companies who sign up to become members of VinylLoop will automatically also become members of SAVA and will therefore reap the benefits of belonging to both associations – for example SAVA Product Stewardship Commitment, LCA studies, being awarded the Vinyl Product Label, access to the latest international studies and scientific information, and networking with fellow industry members.”
However, where normal SAVA members pay an annual membership fee, VinylLoop members will be required to pay a monthly levy based on the declared amount of vinyl packaging (in tonnages) they produce over the next six months.
Initially this amount will be R100 per ton until 5 November 2021, after which members will be informed of an adjusted membership levy. These funds will be used to set up the necessary infrastructure to ensure VinylLoop members reach the targets that have been set by government for the collection and recycling of all PVC (vinyl) packaging that is used in the market over the next five years.
As the PRO representing the vinyl packaging industry, it will be VinylLoop’s duty to ensure the EPR scheme is audited by government, collect and submit data to the SA Waste Information system (including how much PVC vinyl packaging is collected and how much is successfully recycled), and put buyers and sellers of vinyl packaging waste in touch with each other.
It will also keep records of identified products, work with municipalities to develop the necessary collection and recycling infrastructure, integrate informal waste collection and establish secondary markets for recycled vinyl packaging waste.
The new EPR regulations came into effect on the 5 May 2021 and all the packaging streams in South Africa now have six months to comply. By 5 November 2021 it will be compulsory for all converter, manufacturers, importers, brand owners and retailers to either belong to a PRO or to have formed their own independent EPR scheme.
“The vinyls industry has been given the target of a six percent recycling rate to be achieved between 5 November 2021 and 5 November 2022. It is, therefore, crucial to get as many roleplayers as possible involved in these early stages, as we are now in the process of developing an industry-led plan that will ultimately not only serve the interests of the individual members and our industry, but also those of our country and the environment for generations to come,” Spangenberg said.
Visit www.savinyls.co.za/vinylloop for more information.