Recycling PET plastic bottles

Jackie May, owner of sustainable platform Twyg joins Weekend Breakfast to report back on Propet's Cape Town plant that produces fibre from recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles.

She also tells Phemelo about an organisation that collects millions of plastic bottles in the country every single day to supply recycling operations like Propet.

It's the plastic that's used to make our bottles, our water bottles, Coca Cola bottles... They do a lot of bottle-to-bottle recycling.

Jackie May, Owner - Twyg

It's a member of Petco, which is an organisation that represents PET companies in the country. They collect six million plastic bottles a day in South Africa... and all of it, they say, is recycled.

Jackie May, Owner - Twyg

May explains about the collection methods used to gather these millions of plastic bottles.

A lot of it is informal - small business and big businesses, it's a combination of the two. It's an intricate web of formal and informal collection collection points across the country which are then organised and managed and sent to these big recycling companies. They also collect from landfills.

Jackie May, Owner - Twyg

She says ironically, the Propet plant in Cape Town used to be a virgin plastics company making bottles from virgin materials,

Propet bought it in 2011 and refitted the factory to become a recyling plastic plant. So it was built to make virgin plastic products, now it's making products out of recycled plastic.

Jackie May, Owner - Twyg

The bottles are made into little flakes. They can turn it into a fibre and into a filament. The fibre is used for stuffing mattresses, for pillows and it's spun into yarns which are used for felt and increasingly into materials used for t-shirts. They make a filament that's used for brooms and for brushes and strapping we use to wrap boxes.

Jackie May, Owner - Twyg

For more on this transformation from plastic to product, listen below:


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