28 June 2024


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Article by Nampak 5 November 2012

Aerosol cans: the most recycled packaging in South Africa

Aerosol cans are among the most recycled packaging in South Africa, namely metal cans.

According to Collect-A-Can, which is a joint venture between Arcelor Mittal and Nampak, the 2011 recovery rate for used beverage cans was 72%. (This recovery rate provides the measure for the industry as a whole. When all metal cans are considered, the recovery rate is believed to be much more., [Status]) The numbers have grown significantly since the start of Collect-A-Can in 1993.

Today, Collect-A-Can pays “cash for cans” and provides tens of thousands of southern Africans with the opportunity to earn a living, most of whom are unemployed. On receipt, cans are crushed into bales at Collect-A-Can’s various branches, before being dispatched to steel mills where they are melted to produce “prime steel”. Used metal cans are 100% recyclable and can be recycled over and over again without degradation. Energy and resources are saved in the process.

The Aerosol Manufacturers’ Association also reports that there is a big initiative in the Industry to drive sustainability and recycling. Nampak DivFood is Africa’s largest manufacturer of aerosol cans.

In association with Collect-A-Can and Nampak Bevcan, Nampak DivFood is co-sponsoring the CAN DO! Trekking for Trash initiative. A 3,000km walk from Alexander Bay on the Namibian border to Kosi Bay on the Mozambican border, social adventurers Michael Baretta and Camilla Howard will collect and recycle litter along the way, while engaging people regarding the importance of sustainability in their daily lives. Before the walk starts on Tuesday, 2 October, they’ll be giving a number of presentations and talks at the Green Expo in Johannesburg.

Nampak DivFood is also a co-sponsor of the Green Expo, which is designed to give sustainability a “cool” edge, particularly among businesspeople and homeowners. Once again, the company is sharing the CAN DO! platform with Collect-A-Can and Nampak Bevcan. To further highlight the recycling capability and sustainability of metal cans, the group has invited Atit Bhatia, President of the International Canvironment Week, to speak. Initiated by Hindustan Tinworks, India’s largest manufacturer of food and beverage cans, International Canvironment Week is a global campaign aimed at promoting metal packaging. South Africa was the first country in Africa to get involved in 2011.

There are many similarities between India and South Africa from a recycling and packaging perspective, which Atit will profile during the Green Expo programme. On the CAN DO! stage, Nick Tselentis, the Executive Director of the Aerosol Manufacturers’ Association, will show how and why aerosols are recyclable. The Green Expo runs from 28 to 30 September in Johannesburg, and from 23 to 25 November in Cape Town. The venues are the Sandton Convention Centre and the CTICC respectively.

At the same time, Nampak DivFood is constantly reviewing opportunities for improved lightweighting and sustainability performance – in fact, stage 1 of this is already complete and customers have had the benefits of lightweighting on 45mm and 52mm diameter cans. Nampak’s world-class research and development facility in Cape Town is at the cutting edge of science and technology in this regard. Once a lighter steel has been fully tested and approved for the 57mm and 65mm diameters, consumers and industry stakeholders can look forward to conserving significant resources and making a real difference for the future.
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