In response to recently introduced waste management regulations in South Africa, the Polyolefin Responsibility Organisation (Polyco) is broadening its focus to all plastics types under Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations.

Patricia Pillay, chief executive at Polyco

Polyco supports producers to ensure that all identified products are managed responsibly in order to make a difference to the plastics litter and pollution problem in South Africa.

“With new EPR regulations, it is now mandatory for producers to join a Producer Responsibility Organisation (PRO) or form one themselves,” said Patricia Pillay, chief executive at Polyco.

Under the EPR regulations, legislated for implementation from 5 November 2021, producers, through their PROs or independent schemes, are legally mandated to manage their products at end of life in order to grow the downstream reuse and recycling of their materials to achieve the published legislated targets. Obligated producers have until 5 November 2021 to register with the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries and ensure that all identified products are covered by an EPR scheme. They can either join an existing PRO, form a new PRO or develop and submit an independent EPR scheme.

“A challenge with these new EPR regulations is that producers who manufacture more than one type of plastics are required to join more than one PRO to cover their full product range. Considering this, Polyco has made the decision to now manage all plastics polymer types under our mandate. As a membership-based organisation, we followed a consultative process with our members and board to arrive at a 95 per cent in favour vote to increase our mandate,” she said.

Since its inception in 2011, Polyco has specifically focused on polymer identification codes 2, 4, 5 and 7, but will now become a ‘one-stop shop’ to improve the collection and recycling of all polymer types.