InterviewRecycling provides 30% of S Africa's LDPE consumption

15 November 2011 17:29  [Source: ICIS news]

By Cuckoo James

JOHANNESBURG (ICIS)--Recycled low density polyethylene (LDPE) makes up approximately 30% of the 380,000 tonnes of total LDPE consumption in South Africa, the country's plastics recycling group said on Tuesday.

“If I take the South African market, LDPE is our single biggest recycled material and we provided around 101,000 tonnes of recycled LDPE in 2010," said Annabe Pretorius, from the South African Plastics Recycling Organisation.

Pretorius was speaking to ICIS on the sidelines of the Africa Plastics Packaging conference being held in Johannesburg this week.

"There is good demand for recycled LDPE in South Africa since we are short - there is not enough virgin LDPE material," Pretorius said.

"The local producer in South Africa is structurally short on LDPE, and during the recent local production issues the LDPE recyclers were able to charge 10% more for their product," she added.

LDPE coming in via local production and imports provide around 280,000 tonnes of virgin material, Pretorius said, making up the remaining 70% of LDPE consumption.

"The local producer supplies 60% of the virgin market, and the rest are imports," she said.

Additionally, South Africa is unique in that the country's converters have managed to fully develop a process to make blown-film of 20 microns from 100% post-consumer recycled LDPE.

"This happens elsewhere, but not at the magnitude we are doing in South Africa," she said.

This particular grade of recycled LDPE is used to make pallet wraps, refuse bags, baggage packaging such as those used in airports, she added, making them good sellers.

Nevertheless, the recycling of LDPE has hit the ceiling. "We are not 100% saturated but we are almost getting there," Pretorius said.

For more on LDPE visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Cuckoo James
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