As part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR), plastic pipes manufacturer DPI Plastics will sponsor the inaugural African Marine Waste Network (AMWN) conference next year.
The AMWN was launched in July by the Sustainable Seas Trust and plastics industry representative Plastics SA, among other partners in Port Elizabeth, in the Eastern Cape. The network is the first dedicated approach to address marine waste at pan-African level.
DPI Plastics marketing manager Martine Goodchild asserts that, traditionally, the company’s CSR projects have included various yearly donations of piping systems to orphanage homes, schools for underprivileged learners and nongovernment organisations (NGOs) that required the pipes for building repairs, maintenance or construction.
Goodchild explains that, this year, DPI Plastics decided to partner with the AMWN because of the ever-growing plastic waste problem in the oceans, which is a serious issue for DPI Plastics, as it considers itself a responsible plastics manufacturer focused on recycling and environmental sustainability.
She adds that the inaugural AMWN conference in 2017 will bring together like-minded individuals and companies. The conference will also be the culmination of years of planning and research and instruct the way forward for all involved.
“As a sponsor of the conference, we will provide financial support to further the network’s aims, as well as show our support for the initiative. Once the strategy is defined, we will actively assist in implementing it and creating awareness,” Goodchild highlights.
According to plastics industry representative Plastics SA sustainability director Douw Steyn, the plastics industry faces a few challenges, with the most prominent one being improper plastic waste management, leading to plastic materials being regarded more as a problematic material.
He illustrates that Plastics SA has begun to create awareness of the importance of waste management in the plastics industry by building relationships with government, industry leaders and schools, offering health and safety advice and providing education and training programmes, as well as continuous research and development conducted by the organisation.
Moreover, he notes that the need for the network was acknowledged during the two African Marine Debris Summits that were hosted by Plastics SA and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and a number of government departments, universities, research institutions, NGOs and concerned citizens.
Further, DPI Plastics technical and product manager Renier Snyman says the company ensures that its products are also recyclable and compliant with local environmental legislation.
Snyman says that DPI Plastics has in-house recycling process facilities in Germiston and Bellville, where the company’s plastic pipes are recycled for reuse. “DPI Plastics constantly considers ways in which to reduce, reuse and recycle its products,” he asserts.
Moreover, Snyman comments that the types of pipes that DPI Plastics manufactures, such as polyvinyl chloride pipes and high-density polyethylene, are maintenance free. He adds that this is advantageous and ecofriendly, because, once plastic pipes are installed underground, there is no corrosion.
Snyman mentions that DPI Plastics has also received its South African Technical Auditing Service (SATAS) accreditation in July earlier this year.
DPI Plastics has a number of expired South African National Standards (SANS) certificates, which had not been renewed by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) for some time because the SABS reported that it lacked capacity to test and certify products. As a result, DPI uses SATAS, he notes.
Snyman explains that SATAS is a viable alternative to the SABS, as it can certify products to the same SANS standards as the SABS.
“At DPI Plastics, little has changed, since we are audited by SATAS and samples are selected and tested at an independent laboratory. Our quality and manufacturing operations remain unchanged, and we still aim to provide the best-quality pipes and fittings for our clients,” Snyman concludes.