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Article by Nampak 21 August 2012

Preserving and Protecting the Environment

Like packaging, which preserves and protects products, Nampak preserves and protects the environment against the impact of packaging manufacture and waste.

As Africa’s largest packaging company, there are initiatives in the areas of glass, metals, paper and plastics, as well as corporate action in the areas of energy efficiency and environmental education and management.

Part of the JSE Sustainability Index, Nampak’s environmental policy commits all businesses in the group to pursuing green quality standards, primarily in the form of ISO 14001. To date, a number of manufacturing sites have earned this mark of trust.  More than 80% of the company’s greenhouse gas emissions come from its electricity consumption, placing energy efficiency at the top of its eco priority list.

At corporate level, Nampak supports the WESSA/WWF Eco-Schools programme, which since its start in South Africa in 2003, it has helped reach over 1 000 schools, 30 000 educators and 500 000 learners.
In terms of glass, Nampak Glass is a founding member of The Glass Recycling Company, which aims to promote and increase the recovery rate of glass. They invested in a cullet plant, giving it the means to collect 84 000 tonnes of waste glass in 2011 alone. Nampak Glass uses 45% cullet (recycled waste glass, [Status]) in its manufacturing process, reducing the demand for energy and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The challenge of lightweighting is a key trend in terms of managing sustainability for metals for Nampak Bevcan and Nampak DivFood and work has been done in the area of two and three-piece food cans. Collect-A-Can, a joint venture between Nampak and Arcelor Mittal, collects and recycles used beverage cans. Around 70% of beverage cans were recovered in 2011. This figure makes the beverage can the most recycled primary packaging in South Africa and places the country among the top beverage can recyclers in the world.

Nampak’s Research and Development facility has developed a universal lacquer to coat the inside of food cans. In so doing, it replaced 11 different lacquer systems.

On the paper side, Nampak Cartons & Labels Epping has aligned its purchasing strategy with the Forestry Stewardship Council’s chain of custody certification programme (FSC, [Status]). The FSC stamp confirms that raw materials are sourced from sustainable forests. Nampak Corrugated has increased the amount of recycled paper in its board. An investment in a brown paper mill is enabling this success. Nampak Recycling collected and recycled some 221 000 tonnes of waste paper and board in 2011.

In plastics, Nampak Closures developed the “super shorty” for carbonated soft drink PET bottles. At 2.4 grams, it’s 0.8 grams lighter than its predecessor. At an industry level, Nampak Petpak is a founding member of PETCO, a body focused on increasing public awareness of recycling. In 2010, 38% of PET was recycled for staple fibres. In partnership with Homsek Dairies and Woolworths, Nampak Liquid launched South Africa’s first multi-layer co-extruded bottle for long-life milk. Made from HDPE, all three layers and caps are recyclable. In 2011, Nampak Polycyclers converted 5 050 tonnes of polyethylene to make buckets, crates and refuse bins.
In the UK, Nampak Plastics launched its new Infini bottle. At least 15% lighter across the range, it’s the world’s first post-consumer recycled milk bottle as it’s made from 10% recycled HDPE (rHDPE, [Status]).

Nampak Flexible is pursuing a target of zero waste to landfill. Programmes include reprocessing post-industrial flexible waste as warehouse pallets and school chairs. Upcycling is also a focus area and the Bag4Life project involves the Hillcrest AIDS Centre, Nampak Flexible and Unilever. Previously unemployed crafters make bags from Unilever’s post-industrial flexible waste, which are used for gifting and promotional purposes.
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