The South African Plastics Recycling Organisation (SAPRO) represents the plastics re-processors in South Africa. Its members procure sorted, baled end-of-life plastics and re-process it into raw material. The recycled material can be used to manufacture new plastics products. South Africa is amongst the top recycling countries in the world.
The Organisation is funded by its members and assists recyclers in:
- Building a recycling industry that is respected and acknowledged by government, industry and the public
- Addressing collective challenges in a constructive way
- Growing the industry and respective recycling initiatives and businesses in volume, technology and profitability
- Presenting a united voice that influences external decision- making positively
- Continuing to have a positive impact on the environment to preserve and protect resources
Did you know, ….
- South Africa does extremely well in recycling plastic, when compared to the recycling rate of 31 % in Europe, South Africa has an input recycling rate of 46.3 %  for all plastics (in 2018).
- During 2019 503,600 tons of plastics waste was collected for recycling. Of this, more than half (362,800 tons) was packaging – giving South Africa an input recycling rate of 45.7 %.
- In 2019, the amount of plastics we recycled back into raw material was the equivalent of 24 million two litre milk bottles every day! 244,300 tons of CO2 were saved – the equivalent emissions of 51,000 cars in the same year.
- South Africa’s plastics industry continues to be dominated by the packaging industry, which accounts for 49% of the local market. It is therefore encouraging to see the growing number of brand owners who are committed to including recycled content in their packaging.
- 19,000 tons of recycled plastics were used in 2019 to manufacture new rigid and flexible packaging items. Recycled flexible packaging was the largest market for recyclate, with 24% of all recycled materials finding a market in shopping bags, refuse bags and general flexible packaging.
- The recycling of plastic made a direct contribution to South Africa’s GDP of 2.3% and an 18.5% contribution to the Manufacturing GDP in 2019.
- In 2019 R2,065 billion was injected into the informal sector through the purchasing of recyclable plastics waste. 58,750 income opportunities were created – which include waste pickers and employees of the smaller entrepreneurial collectors.
- In 2019, SA converted 1,842,745 tons of polymer (locally produced, imported and recycled) into plastics products. This was a decrease of 1.8% from the previous year. What is encouraging, however, was that recycled content made up 18% of these locally converted polymers.
- South Africa converted 337,745 tons of recycled material into new products in 2019.
- More than 70% of all the recyclable plastic collected in 2019 came from landfill and other post-consumer sources. Thanks to these successful collection and recycling operations, 2.2% less plastic waste ended up in landfill.
Note: All materials recycled or reprocessed in South Africa are expressed as a percentage of locally manufactured plastics products.