Dire need for innovative thinkers in plastic sector

Plastics|SA chairman, Bernhard Mahl Plastics|SA hosted its 2016 annual general meeting in Midrand on 16 November to conclude the years activities. At the event, Plastics|SA Chairman Bernhard Mahl highlighted the importance of innovation in the industry. He challenged attendees to get out of a survival mindset, and into a growth mindset through a conscious commitment to innovation.

‘We must push ourselves to find innovative solutions for the African environment,” Mahl said. Reflecting on last year’s achievements, Mahl boasted the organisation was proud that it had a successful year.

‘We managed to reach many of the strategic objectives we set out to achieve.’

There was a 6.4 percent growth in virgin material consumption which reached 490 000 tonnes per annum. Additionally, there was a three per cent increase in the amount of plastics recycled. These increases allow the local plastic industry to divert approximately 310 600 tonnes of plastics per annum from landfill.

Mahl denoted that the South African plastics industry, though on par with country’s GDP, had not recorded “real” growth over the past five to 10 years.

‘This is still far below the average plastics growth of three percent worldwide,’ Mahl indicated.

Taking the podium, Plastics|SA Executive Director, Anton Hanekom, confirmed that the local plastics value chain is well developed.  It caters to both local demand and export markets.

He said the biggest markets for the year continued to be the packaging, building and construction and automotive industries.

Meanwhile, Hanekom noted: ‘Competition from advanced developing countries and cheap imports of relatively low value-added products had a negative impact on domestic demand this past year.’

In spite of difficult economic conditions, Plastics|SA remains focused on fulfilling the mandate of creating a vibrant and sustainable plastics industry in South Africa.

One that is valued and respected by local and international industries, customers, suppliers, government, communities and employees.