24 August, 2015: As a founding member of the South African Plastic Pipe Manufacturers’ Association (SAPPMA), DPI Plastics is committed to adhering to the latest local and international standards in terms of environmental awareness and sustainability.
This includes being one of the frontrunners leading the industry in the phasing out of lead-based stabilisers used in the manufacture of PVC pipe and fittings.
While DPI Plastics already moved away from the use of lead-based stabilisers more than five years ago, July 2015 was the final deadline for all local manufacturers to adhere to the latest SABS requirements.
This followed the technical committee of the SABS standards division amending the series of standards related to locally-manufactured PVC pipe to ensure that heavy metal stabilisers are no longer used. Local manufacturers were granted a two-year grace period to comply, commencing in 2013.
SAPPMA members such as DPI Plastics, in conjunction with the Southern African Vinyls Association (SAVA), also campaigned successfully for the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) to remove the MAT-7 PVC minimisation clause from its Green Star sustainability rating system.
This means that PVC products now have a neutral rating in terms of green buildings. “PVC products such as pipes and fittings are well established in the building industry,” Renier Snyman, technical and product manager at DPI Plastics, notes.
SAVA also has a Product Stewardship Programme (PSP) related to the reuse of recycled materials and eliminating the use of hazardous chemicals in the manufacture of PVC products in particular.
“Lead is obviously one of these, but there are various other heavy metals as well. Being a signatory to SAVA, we are audited yearly on the PSP in terms of our compliance,” Snyman highlights.
He adds that the July ‘sunset’ date is the end of a long process driven in part by DPI Plastics in the interests of the industry at large.
“This puts us on a similar footing with many leading manufacturers globally, as the deadline for phasing out the use of lead-based stabilisers in Europe, for example, is this year as well,” Snyman adds.
DPI Plastics was not only one of the first adopters of the new requirements, but has also driven the necessary amendments of the related SABS specifications. These are related to both pressure and sewerage PVC pipes and fittings.
DPI Plastics now utilises organic-based stabilisers as a lead substitute in its manufacturing process. “It is important to note that the lead-based stabilisers had no impact on the end user, because once it was in the formulation and the pipe was processed, the lead content could never escape into the environment,” Snyman stresses. In addition, the SABS conducts yearly tests to ensure compliance.
“The main issue was that this posed a health risk to employees. That danger has now been eliminated, and is one of the major advantages of moving away from the use of lead-based stabilisers. This has however increased the cost of our end products as lead was a highly efficient and cost-effective heat stabiliser.”
Another example of DPI Plastics’ proactive approach to sustainability was its recent listing on Ecospecifier Global’s ‘Honour Roll’ as an example of a business actively using social media to promote environment-friendly product alternatives to a wider audience.
Ecospecifier Global is one of the world’s largest sustainable knowledge databases and a leading global resource of life-cycle assessed product information.
A Tweet from Ecospecifier Global on 14 May stated: “You made it onto Ecospecifier Global’s Honour Roll. Congratulations @DPIPlastics.” The criteria for inclusion focus on using social media tools to target industry to #MaketheSwitch to #EcoResponsible products and technologies.
“DPI Plastics actively advocates building a greener tomorrow for our future generation,” Martine Goodchild, marketing manager at DPI Plastics, comments.
“This not only refers to what goes into a product, but also refers to how it is made: for example, energy efficient, resource efficient and cleaner production with a high recycling level. We live this ethos, and encourage other manufacturers to do the same,” she concludes.
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About DPI Plastics
DPI Plastics is a leading manufacturer of PVC and HDPE water reticulation and drainage pipe and fitting systems, with two ISO 9001 certified South African factories, one in Johannesburg and the other in Cape Town. In addition, the DPI Group has wholly-owned subsidiary plants in Namibia and Botswana and joint venture manufacturing operations in Mauritius, Tanzania and Angola, producing plastic pipes to the relevant SABS or international specifications.
DPI Plastics Contact
DPI Plastics Marketing Manager
Phone: (021) 957 5600
Fax: 086 505 6484