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Plastics industry body meeting ‘pivotal’ for the industry’s future

Home Manufacturing & Processing Plastics & Rubber Plastics industry body meeting ‘pivotal’ for the industry’s future

PLASTICS SA, the umbrella body representing the local plastics industry, successfully hosted a general plastics industry meeting at its head office in Midrand, Johannesburg, on November 30, 2023. The hybrid meeting witnessed enthusiastic participation from representatives spanning various sectors of the South African plastics industry.

The meeting commenced with a warm welcome from the deputy chairman of the Plastics SA board of directors, Thokozani Masilela from the Department of Trade and Industry, setting the stage for the insightful discussions that followed. Plastics SA executive director Anton Hanekom provided a comprehensive review of the industry’s activities over the past year, emphasising the crucial role plastics play in modern society, including food storage, transportation, job creation, and economic expansion.

A significant part of the discussion focused on the challenges posed by the ongoing power supply interruptions in South Africa. With the country’s power utility predicting two more years of load shedding, industry leaders stressed the urgent need for affordable and workable energy solutions to maintain competitiveness. The plastics industry aims to explore options like going off the grid, feeding power back into the grid, or incorporating renewable energy sources.

The meeting addressed the global spotlight on plastic waste in the environment, with a commitment from the industry to eradicate this issue through science-based strategies. Plastics SA representatives actively participated in international forums, including the intergovernmental negotiating committee on Plastic Pollution and COP27, emphasising the industry’s commitment to combat climate change and promote sustainability.

Education on the importance of a circular economy and waste management system improvement emerged as key focus areas. Plastics SA is in discussions with local government, the private sector, and PRO/EPR organisations to develop an alternative waste management option, recognising the broken waste management system as a barrier to effective recycling.

Kirtida Bhana, head of academy for learning and development; Douw Steyn, sustainability director and Annabe Pretorius, technical operations executive; provided detailed reports on milestones achieved and outlined future plans within their respective divisions.

The new Plastics SA board of directors for 2023/2024 were also announced as follows: Jeremy Mackintosh (Chairman), PCA; Thokozani Masilela (Deputy Chairman), Government; Gary Wiid, ARMSA; Mike Meyers, EPSASA; Malan Mudaly, Importers; Gregory Schneider, Importers; Debbie van Duyn, PCA; David Rule, PISA; Anton Hanekom, Plastics SA; Jan Venter, SAPPMA; Johann Conradie, SAPRO; Mark Berry, Safripol and Gerome Marrian, Sasol Polymers.

The meeting concluded with a lively questions & answer session, before breaking for a networking session and a finger lunch during which guests engaged in meaningful conversations, fostering collaboration within the industry. Plastics SA announced plans to host regular general industry meetings in 2024 to provide updates, address queries, and facilitate networking opportunities.

In the face of industry challenges, Plastics SA remains optimistic about the future, highlighting innovation as a driving force for resilience. The organisation, along with its partners, is committed to promoting plastics as the material of choice and actively participating in global discussions to shape the industry’s future.

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