The Cape Town water shortage has created a booming industry for bottled water but it has also created a huge amount of plastic waste. In an effort to curb the growing volume of discarded plastic bottles, Woolworths has pledged to send 500 000 plastic bottles to a recycling facility in Gauteng – that’s about 20 tonnes of waste.
Capetonian recycling facilities are nearing capacity with the sheer volume of plastic bottles. Rather than sending the excess to landfill, Woolworths chose to sponsor the transport of the waste to Gauteng where it can be recycled properly.
“With increased bottled water sales in the Cape Town area, we realised that this would put additional pressure on local recycling facilities,” says Woolworths Holdings group head of sustainability Feroz Koor.
“South African National Bottled Water Association and the PET Recycling Company (PETCO) confirmed this and approached us for assistance,” he adds. The recycled bottles will be converted into plastic packaging for Woolworths food items.
In 2010, Woolworths became the first major retailer in South Africa to use recycled plastic for food packaging. Their ready-to-eat sandwiches have been packed in containers made from 30% recycled PET bottles since September 2010.
According to Woolworths, everything in their stores from trolleys to signage is made from recycled materials. This effort to send plastic waste from the Western Cape to Gauteng is part of the Woolworths pledge to environmental sustainability and reduced waste-to-landfill.
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