MetPac-SA encourages retailers to become members

MetPac-SA encourages retailers to become members

MetPac-SA, the Producer Responsible Organisations (PRO) representing the metal packaging industry in South Africa, has been educating brand owners and retailers about its aims and objectives as part of a drive to get them to sign up as members.

“Retailers and brand owners form a very important part of the value chain and it is therefore vital to get their support for our recycling and material recovery efforts,” said Kishan Singh, CEO of MetPac-SA. According to Kishan, South Africa’s metals packaging collection rate currently sits at 75.8%, but the industry is under pressure to increase this to 79% by 2021 and 81% by 2023.

“The only way we are going to be able to meet this objective and establish a sustainable, effective material recovery system is by positively managing the so-called ‘free riders’ – those producers who push their products into the market and onto supermarket shelves, without belonging to a PRO and without contributing to the EPR fees that are intended to clean-up the environment, drive recycling, create jobs and make South Africa a better place for all,” he added.

MetPac-SA represents a wide variety of different metal packaging in the metal value chain, ranging from food and beverage cans, to aluminium foil containers, aerosols and general metal packaging. The recovery of all of these products need to managed effectively after the retailer and, post-consumer, to ensure that they do not end up in landfill or the oceans.

“Our message is clear: The retail sector enjoys value from the sale of these products. Therefore, they have a responsibility, firstly, to apply backward pressure on their suppliers, upwards through the supply chain, by insisting that all such suppliers belong to a PRO and subscribe to the Industry Waste Management Plan and secondly, that the retail sector are supportive of our efforts by contributing an annual EPR fee in the form of an annual grant per retailer,” Kishan said, adding that meetings have already taken place with several retailers, all of which were very positive and supportive.

Commenting on why it was important for Woolworths to join MetPac-SA, Feroz Koor, group head of sustainability, said: “As a retailer and brand owner, Woolworths understands the importance of responsible treatment of packaging that has reached end of life. Minimising our environmental impact through the recovery of used packaging ensures responsible use of resources across the value chain and reduces waste to landfill. Producer Responsible Organisations play a key role in driving this process”.

Kishan said: “We are currently in the process of finalising membership agreements with other retailers who are following Woolworths’ lead and signing up with us as part of their Extended Producer Responsibility. We need as much support and industry co-operation as we can get and having retailers as members is a major step forward. This is an exciting time for the industry and we look forward to working closely with them in the months and years to come”

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