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Africa opens its first bottle-to-bottle PET recycling plant

Africa’s first bottle-to-bottle PET recycling plant has been opened in Wadeville, Johannesburg, South Africa, by the largest PET bottle recycler in South Africa, Extrupet. The 3,000 m² Wadeville plant uses Starlinger (Vienna, Austria) recycling machinery to produce recycled resin suitable for food-contact PET packaging and the carbonated drink sector. The recycled PET (rPET) is sold under Extrupet's brand name PhoenixPET.

Africa’s first bottle-to-bottle PET recycling plant has been opened in Wadeville, Johannesburg, South Africa, by the largest PET bottle recycler in South Africa, Extrupet. The 3,000 m² Wadeville plant uses Starlinger (Vienna, Austria) recycling machinery to produce recycled resin suitable for food-contact PET packaging and the carbonated drink sector. The recycled PET (rPET) is sold under Extrupet's brand name PhoenixPET.

The $6 million facility was officially opened back in May by Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa in Wadeville, Johannesburg. She was joined at the opening ceremony by notable guests from government and the PET industry including Therese Gearhart, President of Coca-Cola Southern Africa, the Joint Managing Director of Extrupet, Chandru Wadhwani and PETCO, the industry body for PET recycling in South Africa.

Plant opened back in May by Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa.

The plant is the first in South Africa to use Coca-Cola-approved technology to produce bottles for carbonated soft drinks, which makes it the first country on the continent to use recycled PET for Coca-Cola products. With a 1,800 kg/h production capacity, it will supply 14,000 t/y of rPET to the PET packaging industry in South Africa and bordering countries.

Extrupet's Joint Managing Director, Chandru Wadhwani, states that the project was first conceived three years ago when its exists capacity was approaching its limit. A choice had to be made with regard to which technology to adopt for a new plant as well as what capacity. After extensive investigation of the various options available, which also involved several site visits in Europe, Extrupet chose Starlinger given their exemplary track record in having already set up plants that were actively supplying the Coca-Cola system around the world.

"We are extremely excited about the fact that South Africa will be the first country on the continent to use rPET for Coca-Cola products," says Casper Durandt, Chairman of PETCO and Franchise Technical Director of Coca-Cola Southern Africa. "We have made every effort to ensure that we maintain the highest quality standards."

The PET recycling line, a recoSTAR PET 165 HC iV+, is designed for producing food grade recycled PET pellets according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) standards.

According to a statement from PETCO, it will turn away an additional 22,000 tonnes of post-consumer PET bottles from landfills each year and create jobs in PET bottle collection for an estimated 15,000 people and assist the industry in meeting its target of a 50% recycling rate for 2015.

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