In the week of National Recycling, International Coastal Clean-up and World Clean-up days, Woolworths has confirmed that with the recent opening of a new PET Wash Plant in Cape Town an additional 1 000 of the retailer’s food packaging items can now be recycled in South Africa. Another exciting packaging improvement is the current rollout of a recyclable polypropylene bag for its ever-popular rotisserie chicken, which means that on an annual basis over 11,5 million bags are now not doomed to go to landfill and can rather be recycled.
“Zibo Container’s recent investments in PET Wash and Decontamination plants is a huge boost for recycling in South Africa. These new plants will reduce packaging waste to landfill, improve circularity of our resources which is critical for the planet’s survival as well as create much needed jobs. But it is particularly exciting for us as it means that an additional 1 000 Woolworths semi rigid PET thermoform foods packaging items can now be recycled. And this recycled material is then reused into the same semi rigid PET thermoform packaging, so it is circularity at its best,” confirms Latiefa Behardien, Woolworths Foods Chief Technology and Sustainability Officer.
“As part of our vision to have ZERO packaging waste to landfill, we are designing our packaging for circularity. This means that we are designing our packaging to keep it out of landfill and that it can rather be reused in a continuous process within the packaging supply chain. An example of which is our recent switch to an ‘easy wash off’ glue like Cleanflake® which ensures that the glue from the packaging’s label washes off entirely in the recycling washing process leaving no leftover residue to compromise the recycled plastic. This results in the entire piece of packaging being recycled versus just the parts with no residual glue,” adds Behardien.
In November 2010, Woolworths was the first retailer to introduce recycled content into its packaging, and now the packaging of over 2 000 of its foods products have between 30% – 70% recycled content with some packaging like the WLab Breathease 2-in-1 laundry liquid made from 100% post-consumer recycled HDPE.
“While recycling alone cannot solve the world’s pollution problems, it has significant potential to impact on cleaning up our waste systems, creating jobs and reducing the use of virgin plastics. Every step of the way helps to bring about a cleaner country for all,” concludes Behardien.
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