FREE TO READ | Packaging negotiates tightrope of convenience and reuse
Packaging is under pressure to justify its existence with the emphasis on being able to recycle its components
SA has a largely successful paper recycling economy with a five-year average of paper recovery rate of about 70%, says Jane Molony, executive director of the Paper Manufacturers Association of SA.
Since 2003, the local paper industry has diverted more than 20-million tonnes of paper and paper packaging from landfill, saving 62-million cubic metres of landfill space.
Meanwhile, plastics have received a bad rap, but the solution may be more damaging. The World Economic Forum has conceded that in trying to solve the challenge of plastic pollution, it may have created another problem: replacing plastic with materials that have a carbon footprint up to three times higher than plastics themselves.
The SA Plastics Pact has published a list of what it calls “problematic and unnecessary plastics”, including PVC, and advocating their abolition, but the Southern African Vinyls Association is arguing in favour of retaining PVC. One reason is because it can be recycled several times without losing its essential properties.
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