In line with its strategy to develop container management programmes in key countries in the region, CropLife Africa Middle East hosted a container management workshop in South Africa for 11 African countries with the aim of providing the necessary guidance and support in this regard.
The workshop, appropriately themed “Build and Strengthen Container Management Programmes in the Africa, Middle East Region” took place in Stellenbosch from 24 to 26 June. Delegates witnessed first-hand the success of the South African operation in which approximately 70 percent of all plastic containers on the market are collected and recycled. Attendees visited DromMasjien Boland, a collection centre in the Ceres area, as well as three recycling plants situated just outside of Cape Town. Afterward, delegates were hosted at the MyPlas premises and shown how irrigation pipes, push bikes and refuse bags were manufactured from recycled plastic. The team became visibly enthusiastic about the shredding, cleaning, extrusion and pelletising of the high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic.
“I was impressed by the eagerness of the delegates to do the right thing in terms of container recycling and I hope they took the South African system back to their respective countries to duplicate it to the benefit society and the environment” says dr Gerhard Verdoorn, operations and stewardship manager at CropLife South Africa.
Every participating country prepared an action plan, either to introduce a pilot project, or, in several cases, how they planned to grow their collections. The region had only eight pilot programmes in 2018, with collections growing by approximately ten percent from the 2017 volumes. An aspect that entirely exceeded expectations was that more than 5.6 million kilograms of plastic were collected during the year of which over 5.3 million kilograms were recycled.
The workshop included presentations by both GLOBALG.A.P. and WWF which were interactive and highly supportive of CropLife’s endeavours. It equipped delegates with ideas and workable models to recover and recycle plastic pesticide containers. It also strengthened the network of expertise that is available to African nations, but perhaps the most valuable of all was that the workshop demonstrated the enormous potential within Africa to set up businesses pertaining to HDPE container collection, recycling and manufacturing of high value plastic commodities from the recycled materials. Recycling will drive a few strong nails in the coffin of counterfeiting, another major challenge facing African farmers, as the containers used for these unlawful purposes will no longer be available.
CropLife South Africa, currently ranked among the top ten countries globally in terms of its waste management programme, will continue its drive to ensure that every empty plastic pesticide container used in the agricultural industry is collected and recycled. For more information visit www.croplife.co.za/resources