The South African Plastics Recycling Organisation (SAPRO) is a membership organisation and the industry body that represents the shared interests of the plastic recyclers (re-processors). SAPRO has several dedicated priorities and ad-hoc support channels for the benefit of its members and the recycling industry at large. These include:
- Advocacy: as the mouth-piece of the recycling industry, SAPRO engages with government to advocate for legislation which is clear, useful and enabling for the recycling industry. SAPRO advocates with the broader plastics industry to build recycling into design thinking
- Business development support: SAPRO supports its members by passing some of the many pertinent enquiries it receives to its members. This causes an increase in business opportunities to its members.
- Changing the narrative: SAPRO works to actively raise the profile of recycling from a dirty industry to a strategically important industry that provides a valuable service and a credible product. An industry that is compliant, caring and ethical. This is done through media engagement to consumers and businesses alike. Examples include; conferences and trade shows, published articles in magazines and news websites, radio interviews, social media and online advertising.
- Credibility: SAPRO gives credibility to its members for screening by funders such as Producer Responsibility Organisations (PRO’s). These organisations are obligated under EPR regulations to provide funding to recyclers for increased capacity, however SAPRO members are first in line for such funding due to the due diligence done through the membership screening process.
- Demand creation: SAPRO works to increase the use-case for recycled plastics, thereby increasing demand. This is done through technical support and opportunity facilitation for members. The annual SAPRO Best Recycled Plastic Product Awards event, is a celebration of innovation in recycling that creates significant media coverage for recycled plastic products and thereby increasing demand for these products.
- Ethics: SAPRO members sign a code of conduct which can be used to raise the profile of recycling companies which are accepted into SAPRO.
- Growth: SAPRO supports the growth and increased viability of the plastic recycling industry by driving the improvement of material streams entering the recycling industry. This is done through a Design-For-Recycling tool that guides packaging designers to make packaging that fits into the existing recycling industry.
- Marketing: SAPRO provides a certification for “Best-in-Class” design for recycling. Certified products are allowed to display a certification badge on their products which is used to indicate responsible packaging choices to consumers. This raises awareness for packaging recyclability. It also exposes SAPRO to consumers for further engagement.
- Technical insights: SAPRO produces a quarterly newsletter which contains news, plans and insights. This helps recyclers to build business resilience. SAPRO also works to find insights about the changing legislative landscape and notify recyclers of pertinent changes to legislation as early as possible.