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Mpact spells out what happens with recycled materials

09-21-2017 09:07 AM CET | Energy & Environment

Press release from: Mpact RecyclingMpact spells out what happens with recycled materials

/ PR Agency: PR Worx
Mpact Recycling calls on all residents to participate in paper recycling, by collecting all the unwanted paper they have at home. “Your recycling efforts create a more sustainable impact on the environment and the economy when they come full circle. Look on packages and labels for the universal recycling symbol of 3 arrows chasing one another in a triangle. This indicates that a product’s packaging is both recyclable and is made of recycling material,” says John Hunt, Managing Director of Mpact Recycling.

Hunt explains the full recycling process.
1. The consumer leaves their waste out for kerbside collection.
2. In the case of areas covered by Mpact Recycling’s kerbside collection, the truck then takes it to the Mpact Recycling branches in Tulisa Park or Pretoria where it gets weighed, sorted and baled. In all other cases it gets taken to a collection centre, where it will also be weighed and sorted.
3. The bales of collected paper are then transported to one of the mills Mpact Recycling supplies, where it is processed and made into big reels of paper and newsprint;
4. The paper reels are then sold onto Mpact’s Corrugated division or other customers, to be made into corrugated boxes and other packaging products. The newsprint reels are sold to newspaper printing presses.
5. Finally, the consumer gets to enjoy products packed in recycled packaging, knowing that they’ve contributed to saving the environment.

Paper products that can be recycled include old letters, photocopying paper, newspapers, magazines, cereal and soap boxes, books and envelopes, as well as flattened cardboard boxes, and now recently, also liquid packaging in the form of milk and juice cartons manufactured by packaging company, Tetra PakTM.

However, there are some items which cannot be recycled. These include polystyrene containers, paper plates, yoghurt cartons, sweet and chip wrappers, blueprint paper, cigarette butts, carbon paper, tissues and paper towels, post-it notes and some waxed cartons. These items generally contain laminated plastics, grease, glues and other compounds that cannot be recycled. Placing these in your Ronnie Green Bags means that other useful paper will become contaminated.

The more detailed process is that once the multitude of paper-based products are collected from your kerbside, they are sorted into the various fibre grades at Mpact’s recycling operations based in Johannesburg and Pretoria. Thereafter, they are transported to any of the Mpact Mills (paper division) and Mondi Merebank mill, which gives it a second life. This is in the form of new paper reels which are used to make other products like cereal boxes, tomato boxes, newspapers, magazines and more.

Mpact’s Paper Mills recycle up to 600 tonnes a day of the paper collected for recycling, mixing it with water to form a pulp for making new paper. In the case of liquid packaging cartons, the plastic and aluminium in the carton is separated from the paper. The paper is used in the paper making process and the plastic and aluminium is recycled into moulded plastic products. Once the pulp has been made into paper on a paper machine it is rolled into large rolls that can weigh over a tonne each. These are in turn processed into final industrial or commercial packaging on order. They may, for instance, become fast food containers or corrugated boxes like soap cartons or tomato boxes.

Paper-based packaging can go through the process of recycling many times in its lifetime. “Your old magazines might come back to you as egg cartons or as the next edition of your daily newspaper. Meanwhile, cardboard can be recycled into new cardboard, paperboard and paper bags. Higher grade office paper (including notebooks and computer/printer paper) might be reincarnated as facial tissues, toilet paper, napkins, paper towels or as part of your cereal box.” Hunt adds.

PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) plastic beverage bottles are collected through a different network to paper. They are not yet formally collected by Mpact Recycling through the kerbside programme but by collectors, small businesses and dealers. From there, they are sent to any of Mpact’s seven recycling operations countrywide and sorted according to quality and colour.

The bottles are baled and sent to the Mpact Polymers plant in Wadeville. This plant recycles the bottles into clean PET pellets that are used to make new PET bottles. The plant’s recycling process complies with European Union (EU) Food Safety Authority specifications. It is also the first in Africa to meet The Coca-Cola Company’s full certification for PET bottles to package the company’s soft drinks.

Other products that can be manufactured from PET bottles include packaging trays (i.e. for fruit), textiles, carpets, or insulation for pillows, winter jackets and sleeping bags.

“Check which day your Ronnie Recycler pick-up is scheduled for, and leave your paper products on the kerbside. For the plastic bottles – leave them out on your refuse removal day in a packet for your local collector to take. Your recycling efforts are appreciated for the sustainable impact they make on the environment and the economy,” concludes Hunt.

Mpact is one of the leading paper and plastics packaging businesses in southern Africa, listed on the JSE’s Main Board in the Industrial – Paper and Packaging sector. The Group has leading market positions in southern Africa in recovered paper collection, corrugated packaging, recycled-based cartonboard and containerboard, polyethylene-terephthalate (PET) preforms, recycled PET, styrene trays and plastic jumbo bins. These leading market positions allow Mpact to meet the increasing requirements of its customers, and to achieve economies of scale and cost effectiveness at the various operations.

Mpact has 42 operating sites, of which 22 are manufacturing operations, in South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, Botswana and Zimbabwe. South African-based customers accounted for approximately 90% of Mpact’s sales for the current year, with the balance of sales predominantly to customers in the rest of Africa.

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