Polyoak Packaging is intensifying its commitment to extended producer responsibility, by partnering with its customers to optimise the recyclability of their packaging. Design, functionality, material choice, decoration, closures and on-pack communications all need to be taken into careful consideration, to deliver a truly recyclable pack.
A critical barrier to recycling in South Africa is the dire absence of essential waste collection services. For recycling to be most effective, separation of waste at source needs to improve. The problem, however, is that all too often waste does not even reach landfill, never mind recycling sorting centres, as it lies around as litter. This litter is invariably swept into our rivers by the wind, rain and floodwaters. Ultimately it ends up polluting our oceans.
Packaging serves many valuable purposes in that it protects products, prevents food waste and makes life easier and more convenient. Packaging is like cars – they are wonderful inventions that have significantly improved our quality of life. However, when they are abused or treated irresponsibly, such as driving under the influence of alcohol, or disposing of waste carelessly, there are grave consequences. Drunk driving kills. Littering kills! Our wildlife, birds and sea creatures cannot survive the onslaught on their environment caused by litter pollution. Urgent intervention and responsible citizenship are required to change this behaviour, for littering to become socially unacceptable.
There needs to be more focus on the development of infrastructure to collect and manage waste more effectively. South Africa is ranked 11th globally for mismanaging its waste. According to Stats SA, an estimated 6.4 million (44 per cent) South African households have no refuse removal, contributing to our rife litter problem and illegal dumping. Municipalities have failed in their duty to provide its citizens with proper waste collection services.
Jeremy Mackintosh, Polyoak’s Group MD explains, ‘Polyoak is passionate about its commitment to the environment. Plastic bottles do not belong in the ocean. We should be doing everything we can to stop litter through better waste collection, to facilitate recycling of something as functional and valuable as plastic.’
In a bid to help communicate this important message, and address widespread misinformation about plastic, Polyoak decided to utilise its trucks more effectively as ‘moving billboards’, by giving some of the trucks in its fleet a design facelift. The new design features an idyllic underwater scene with a turtle swimming by serenely, unhindered by discarded fishing gear (which comprises 46 per cent of all ocean plastic). The accompanying strapline explains that Polyoak’s packaging is recyclable, meaning that it should not end up as litter in the ocean. We all need to do our bit to make sure that we dispose of our waste responsibly and recycle wherever possible to support the circular economy.
Polyoak’s trucks have always been highly recognisable on the road with their iconic oak leaf design and ‘Tidy Man’ symbol. Now, each region features a few of these special “Turtle Trucks”, as they have affectionately become known.
As a member of the Global Plastics Associations for Solutions on Marine Litter, Polyoak wanted to highlight that plastic does not belong in the ocean and that more needs to be done to prevent litter and improve recycling.
Mackintosh concludes, ‘Give our “Turtle Trucks” a special wave when you see them – they are helping to do an important job to promote recycling, to keep our oceans clean!’