Over 2 billion PET plastic bottles were recycled in South Africa in 2016, and plastic bottle recycled tonnage has grown by over 800% since 2005.
The 2016 recycling figures indicate that the annual PET recycling rate has grown from 52% of post-consumer bottle PET in 2015, to 55% in 2016.
The 2 billion PET bottles that were collected for recycling across South Africa during the course of 2016, created some 62 000 income opportunities for small and micro-collectors.
The voluntary recycling fee paid annually by PETCO members on every tonne of raw material purchased has enabled the payment of a total of R1.9 billion by contracted recyclers to collectors for baled bottles since the inception of PETCO in 2004, ensuring the collection of PET bottles for recycling is sustained, and resulting in almost 800 000 tonnes of carbon and over 3 million m3 of landfill space saved to date.
South Africa’s 55% recycling rate compares well with international PET recycling rates. The US rate of post-consumer PET recycling hovers around the 30% mark while European average rates are around 59%.