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Pipes body backs global bid to keep plastic flakes out of oceans

Home Engineering Associations Pipes body backs global bid to keep plastic flakes out of oceans

CLEANER oceans came a step closer recently when the Southern African Plastic Pipe Manufacturers Association (SAPPMA) become the latest plastics industry association to sign the Operation Clean Sweep (OCS) pledge.

OCS is an international stewardship programme designed to prevent the loss of plastic resin (pellets, flakes, and powders) and ensure that this material is kept out of the marine environment.

SAPPMA currently represents more than 80 % of the plastic pipe manufacturers in South Africa. CEO Jan Venter signed the declaration on behalf of SAPPMA recently, saying that it was important for the plastic industry to be committed to safe and responsible manufacturing processes.

Other local signatories of the pledge include Polyoak Packaging, Berry Astrapak, Tufflex , Sasol, Safripol, as well as the various plastics Producer Responsibility Organisations, e.g. PETCO, Polyco, the Southern African Vinyls Association and Polystyrene Association of SA.

“We will be encouraging our members to sign the OCS pledge in their own personal capacities, but from SAPPMA’s side we wanted to go on record with our commitment to prevent pellet loss,” Venter said.

He added that SAPPMA would help set up information sessions between Plastics SA (the official licensee of OCS in SA) and their members during the next few months. During these sessions, Plastics SA Sustainability Director Douw Steyn would explain the OCS implementation plan and the detailed toolkit that had been developed to assist companies to develop safe and environmentally responsible manufacturing processes and daily operations.

“Preventing resin loss not only makes sense from an environmental point of view, but it also makes financial sense and supports our drive to world-class quality management systems and adhering to international and local standards of excellence,” Venter said.

Welcoming SAPPMA as the latest industry body to come onboard, Steyn SA said, “It is encouraging to see yet another major player in our industry take such a bold step to help us prevent plastic leakage into our country’s waterways, estuaries and eventually the ocean”.

He added that these small pieces of plastics can easily be mistaken for food by birds or marine animals. “We look forward to engaging with the SAPPMA members and guiding them to the point of them signing the pledge for their own companies.”

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