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Supermarket trolley crowned as Recycled Product of the Year

Pick n Pay trolley awarded as winner of SAPRO competition for best recycled product of 2021
A humble supermarket trolley, which most of us use at least once a week, has been crowned the Best Recycled Product of the Year at the South African Plastics Recycling Organisation’s (SAPRO) biennial competition which took place on Thursday, 14 October 2021.

The trolley, manufactured by Supercart SA (Pty) Ltd for Pick n Pay and entered for the Consumer & Leisure category, was made from High Density Polyethylene (PE-HD) and consists of 50 % post-consumer recyclate provided by MyPlas.

Commenting on what impressed the judges the most about the trolley, SAPRO general manager Phil Sereme said: “Large, everyday articles that are well made promote recycling in the best possible manner. Plastics need all the help they can get to remove the discomfort consumers associate with recycled products and the trolley goes a long way in achieving that. PE-HD is fully recycled in South Africa and large mouldings are particularly popular for recycling. It opens up the way for retailers to demonstrate circularity in an everyday product.

"I don’t think people will ever look at their supermarket trolley in the same way again. Once you understand the large amount of effort that MyPlas has put into collecting and recycling the plastics used to produce this trolley, combined with the innovation and manufacturing expertise of the Supercart team, you start to appreciate the rich tapestry of hard work that makes each trolley a work of art!” Phil expressed.

Wide scope and variety of entries

Despite it being a virtual event, this year’s competition once again attracted entries from around the country and representing a wide range of different industries and end-uses.

“The judges were very impressed with the wide range of different products that were entered from around the country. Ranging from skirting board, dado rails and air conditioner ducts, to water tanks, household cleaning bottles, school desks, rat traps and owl houses, this year’s products that were entered showed that the only limit to the use of recycled plastic, is your imagination,” Phil says.

The 2021 SAPRO awards had various new categories in which entries could be submitted. Products were judged on a number of criteria, including life expectancy and sustainability of product, measures that were taken to ensure product consistency and customer satisfaction despite recycled material content, tonnages (or potential tonnages) of plastic waste that were converted and diverted from landfill, as well as the technical achievements in manufacturing to overcome recycled material challenges.

“The judges were looking for products that created new end-markets for recyclate and that would continue to be in demand five years from now. We can honestly say that all the products entered for this year’s competition had a 'wow factor' that will cause people to start thinking differently about recycled material,” Phil expounds.

Category winners

The following entries won Gold Awards:
  • Coca Cola Beverages SA (Pty) Ltd for its Bonaqua PET bottle (recycled by Extrupet) in the category Packaging for Food & Beverages.
  • Mpact Plastics (FMCG Pinetown) for rHDPE household cleaner bottle produced for Unilever (recycled by Myplas) in the category Packaging for non-food products.
  • Adventure Automotive Products (Pty) Ltd for its air-conditioning duct product (recycled by Myplas) in the category Technical & Engineering.
Silver Award winners:
  • Mpact Versapak's PETZorb Range: Packing of fresh meat, chicken or fish in such a way that it stays attractive and does not show liquids. A brilliant design that captures the liquid and eliminates the need for an absorption pad in each tray which comes at an additional cost and cannot be recycled. Recycler: Extrupet.
  • USABCO/Addis Roughtote 110L: A large injection moulded product that is strong and offers superior finish. Addis have over the years showed their commitment to recycled content and the label on the tote makes it clear to the consumer. Recycler: MyPlas.
  • Fenix Rising's Water Tank: The judges were impressed by the manufacturer's ability to rotomould PE-HD successfully into a final product with a couple of years life expectancy. The Water Tank offers a solution to a relatively difficult waste stream and is a clear sign of good cooperation between recycler and converter to find suitable solution. Recycler: MypPlas.
Bronze Award winner:
  • Plastic Pallet by Tufflex Plastics Products Pty Ltd. The application of polywood profiles manufactured from mixed waste is well known. The most common application is into park benches and picnic furniture. The durability of polywood profiles makes it an ideal product for reusable inhouse pallets. It is splinter-free, hygienic, can be steam-cleaned and incredibly robust and will withstand forklift abuse. Recycler: Tufflex
Judges Special Mention: School Desk by Danone SA

It is partly thanks to this initiative by the brand owner (Danone SA) that schools have begun to see the value of recycling first-hand. Pupils were encouraged to bring their clean yogurt tubs and other domestic packaging waste to school which would be used to produce these desks for under privileged schools. The smooth and glossy top adds value to their strong and stunning looking desk. Recycler: Extruwood & Infinite Industries

“We would like to thank all the plastic recyclers, innovators, converters, product designers and developers who demonstrated their commitment to the environment and saving resources by entering Recycled Plastic Product of the Year Awards. This is an opportunity like none other to highlight the phenomenal work being done by recyclers in South Africa and to bring the innovative, exciting new products being developed to the attention of market leaders, brand owners and the media as we strive to improve market acceptance for products made from recycled plastics by bringing them into the mainstream.

A special thanks also goes to our gold sponsors, Erema and Polyco, as well as the support shown by PETCO, the South African Plastics Pact, (facilitated by GreenCape), Packaging SA and Plastics SA. This was a very successful event showcasing work being done by recyclers in South Africa, and we could not have done it without them,” Sereme concluded.

For more information, visit the SAPRO website on www.plasticrecyclingsa.co.za.

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