Danone Southern Africa (Danone SA) has become the latest producer of high-impact polystyrene (HIPS) to join the Polystyrene Association of South Africa, which represents the entire value chain of polystyrene packaging manufacturers, collectors and recyclers.
According to the association’s CE Adri Spangenberg, Danone SA is a major manufacturer of HIPS, which is used in its yoghurt tubs.
The dairy products producer has, by joining the association, set an example for other producers to follow with regard to their commitment to extended producer responsibility.
“The Polystyrene Association of South Africa has had good success with getting the manufacturers of expanded polystyrene (EPS) on board as members and to be supportive with our various recycling projects, which are aimed at keeping polystyrene packaging out of the country’s landfills,” she said.
In view of the recent developments with regard to government’s Section 28 call for the development of Industry Waste Management Plans from the paper and packaging, electrical and electronic and lighting industries, she highlighted that the association has made concerted efforts to encourage HIPS producers to sign up with it as members.
The association has developed various end-markets that specifically use recycled yoghurt tubs made from HIPS and that bear the number six polymer identification code at the bottom.
One such end-market is the Tutu Desk initiative – a simple, portable and robust lap desk that children can place on their laps for a stable writing platform, thereby creating a dedicated ‘work zone’ whether they are sitting on the floor or on a chair.
“It requires about 1 kg of yoghurt tubs in weight to manufacture one desk, and each one is designed to last the lifetime of the child at school. The project falls under the patronage of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Polystyrene Association is privileged to have been part of this project for the past six years through the Wildlife Education Schools of South Africa, and its network of eco-schools who are also collecting yoghurt tubs that are recycled into the lap desks,” she enthused.
Last year alone, more than 5 449 t of polystyrene was successfully recycled in South Africa through the association’s various recycling projects.
“Being responsible with the resources we use to make healthy food solutions is central to Danone’s One Health, One Planet philosophy. We are passionate about the environment and committed to employing sustainable practices that will allow us to achieve our mission in the long term,” commented Danone SA MD Hendrik Born.
He added that as one of the country’s biggest producers of yoghurt, the company felt it was important for Danone to show that it is taking responsibility for the packaging that it uses and that enters the market.
“Joining the Polystyrene Association is, therefore, an important step in the right direction as it reflects our commitment to creating a sustainable, ambitious future for generations to come,” he said.