IPACKCHEM leads the way as South Africa’s first chemical drum manufacturer to include PCR in their drums

The year 2022 got off to a great start for IPACKCHEM customers, with post-consumer recycled content (PCR) being included in their products for the first time in South Africa. In May 2021, as part of their innovative and environmentally friendly packaging solutions, IPACKCHEM  embarked on an ambitious project to include PCR material into their product offering.

Simon Morgan, MD of IPACKCHEM, expresses the importance of this project: “IPACKCHEM has a long history of implementing sustainable projects, like using solar power in our plant in Cosmo City, to reduce our annual carbon footprint by avoiding 410,000 kg of CO2 emissions. The inclusion of PCR into our drums was a natural outcome of our strategy to be a leader in sustainability. The project assists our customers to comply with ever more stringent extended producer responsibility (EPR) regulations and allows us to support the circular economy in UN certified containers. The project further contributes to IPACKCHEM’s ambition of achieving Ecovadis Platinum rating in 2022, a level positioning IPACKCHEM in the top 1% of companies evaluated by Ecovadis globally.”

Historically, the quality of, and access to PCR have hindered the inclusion of PCR into new products. Working closely with MyPlas, the IPACKCHEM team was able to overcome these hurdles. To produce the upcycled Mypolen® grade PCR, MyPlas’s ISO9001:2015 certified plant employs a proprietary combination of manual and auto sorting, washing, cleaning and filtering processes utilising state-of-the-art European equipment.

An additional major quality requirement was ensuring the exclusion of possible contaminating packaging being included in the recycling process. This meant excluding all packaging which previously contained substances that may have affected the packaging (for example high oxidating content), packaging containing toxic, infectious, or radioactive material or packaging over 10 years old.

Other exclusions to ensure the quality was of the highest standard, was any packaging showing signs of deterioration (such as UV damage), any packaging produced from material that cannot be reprocessed, and all packaging not clearly marked with a resin identification symbol.

Johann Conradie, Director of MyPlas, commented: “MyPlas was very excited to work with IPACKCHEM on the project. It allowed us to step up to the quality demands made by the IPACKCHEM team and to highlight our ability to supply good quality PCR in sufficient quantity to fulfil their needs.”

“We saw this project as a great step towards proving the feasibility of a circular economy for drums in South Africa and an opportunity to divert thousands of tonnes of plastic from the environment every year.”

MyPlas’ knowledge of PCR, and the company’s ability to meet the requirements of the local and international IPACKCHEM technical and R&D divisions, inspired confidence in IPACKCHEM to use MyPlas’ PCR offering in their testing phases and subsequently in their product offering. The inclusion of PCR into chemical drums is a great advancement towards CropLife SA’s circular ambitions of their container management programme.

CropLife SA’s network of over 134 approved collectors and recyclers ensures that more than 76% of empty pesticide containers in the agricultural market are collected and recycled.

IPACKCHEM was quick to highlight that the inclusion of PCR into their products does not impact the recyclability of the product, which is great news for their customers and for CropLife SA’s certified recyclers who can be assured that the drums can be fully recycled within existing streams.

Dr Gerhard Verdoorn, operations and stewardship manager at CropLife SA, said: “CropLife SA has always known that including PCR in chemical drums is an extremely necessary and important piece of the pesticide drum value chain and has been working with several container manufacturers on the inclusion of PCR into their products for some time. IPACKCHEM has now taken the lead and is first to market with its large batch inclusion of PCR in their pesticide drums. What is exciting about IPACKCHEM taking this lead is their stringent adherence to quality specifications and testing; ensuring our members get the quality they require. The inclusion of PCR back into chemical containers provides a valuable end use for the recycled material collected by our CropLife SA certified recyclers, and it supports our drive towards a circular economy within agricultural packaging. We look forward to similar initiatives from other HDPE container manufacturers in South Africa.”

CropLife SA is a supporting member of the South African Plastics Pact which has a 2025 target of 30% average PCR content across all plastic packaging. The inclusion of PCR into chemical drums clearly contributes directly towards reaching this target.

Kirsten Barnes, South African Plastics Pact Project Lead, was excited to note “We now have ‘drum to drum’ recycling capabilities in the country, eloquently expanding our circular vocabulary to more than ‘bottle to bottle’. This project goes a long way towards our 2025 targets, and we hope to see ever more PCR inclusion in chemical and agricultural packaging going forward. We celebrate our SA Plastics Pact members, CropLife SA and MyPlas’s bold action towards a circular economy for plastics in South Africa.”

CropLife SA member, Metson World, is the first South African company that will use IPACKCHEM’s new containers. According to marketing manager, Jenna Milane, Metson World produces millions of litres of specialised nutrient and bio-stimulant foliar agricultural products, which translates to tens-of-thousands of plastic containers that need to be responsibly disposed of.

“Bringing circular-economic solutions to the single-use plastic concern is of great importance to the industry and a priority. Metson has been in business and partnership with IPACKCHEM, formerly known as Quadro, for 27 years and is proud to be the first South African company to introduce this recycled plastic solution to the agricultural market in September 2022 – in time for the new summer-growing season. It will be a phased approach, starting with products that are low in specific gravity, but high in volume. Complete changeover to this sustainable solution is envisioned for March 2023 – for the winter growing season. A complete reduction in single-use plastic is the first step towards an ethos of zero-waste; an ever-sustainable growing environment.”

IPACKCHEM will initially include PCR in their 20L drum offering with the intent to include PCR across their entire range over time. Customer specific blend rates are easily accommodated through IPACKCHEM’s technically advanced machinery with the possibility of higher levels of PCR content coming soon.

Related links: https://croplife.co.za/container-management/


Header Photo credit: Zweli Mgayo


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