• Message in a bottle

    Message in a bottle

    More than 800% – that’s the rise in tonnage of plastic bottles South Africa has recycled since 2005, 2 billion of which was recycled in 2016 alone.

    As a result, the country’s 55% recycling rate is higher than the US, where the post-consumer PET rate hovers at around 30%.

    According to figures by PETCO – a South African company that specialises in the recycling of PET bottles and products – an additional 22% of post-consumer bottles was recycled last year compared to the year prior, raising the total PET market by nearly 15% to in excess of 240 000 tons.

    Furthermore, since the company was established in 2004, ZAR1.9 billion (raised by PETCO members who pay a voluntary annual recycling fee on every ton of raw material purchased) has been paid to collectors for baled bottles. To date, this has saved around 800 000 tons of carbon and 3 million m³ of landfill space.

    4 April 2017
    Image: Gallo/Getty Images