Johannesburg, August 24, 2015– The Southern African Vinyls Association (SAVA) has released the findings of its second annual Product Stewardship Programme (PSP) survey for the period 1 June 2013 to 31 May 2014.
According to SAVA CEO, Delanie Bezuidenhout, this survey focused specifically on the levels of compliance of member companies with regards to the phasing out of heavy metals during the production process, as well as the recycling of PVC products by these companies.
“One of the major objectives the local PVC industry had to meet this past year was the phasing out of potentially dangerous or hazardous heavy metals from the PVC production process, including Chlorinated Paraffins (CP), EDC and VCM, mercury, lead, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, Bisphenol A and DEHP. SAVA believes that raw material suppliers, product manufacturers, product distributors and consumers are joint stewards for the responsible and sustainable production, use and disposal of PVC products. Upon endorsing a key commitment, our members and voluntary signatories of the PSP are bound to an open disclosure commitment and are required to supply general data related to a specific commitment to an independent auditor,” Delanie explains.
Signatories to the programme were required to participate in the survey and show evidence of meeting the PSP key commitments. 32 companies and one industry association (The South African Plastic Pipe Manufacturers Association - SAPPMA) were interviewed for the survey. Although the participation rate for the 2013/2014 survey period was lower than for the previous survey (77 %), SAVA feels confident that the results still provide an accurate reflection of the state of the industry.
The majority of the respondents in the 2013/4 survey were convertors, followed by additive manufacturers, additive importers, product importers and compounders:
Heavy metals were traditionally used in the PVC production process owing to their ability to act as heat stabilizers, flame retardants and plasticisers or for offering anti-corrosive properties to products. However, they hold certain health risks to the environment, end users and/or the factory workers involved in the manufacturing process. As a result, South Africa is following international trends of completely phasing out these ingredients in order to ensure compliance.
The latest PSP survey has shown a high level of compliance by SAVA member companies who completed the questionnaire. Each additive had its own key commitment from signatories, as well as different compliance dates. SAVA’s survey highlighted progress made with regards to the reduction in the amounts of additives imported and/or used and the levels of compliance. Where signatories were found to be non-compliant, SAVA will continue to engage with these companies and commit them to a prompt phase-out date.
Recycling of PVC products in SA
The promulgation of the National Environmental Management: Waste Act has placed recycling and the reduction of materials to landfill high on the agenda for the local PVC industry. According to Delanie, the new Waste Act provides for the determination of waste management charges and its review, as well as for the collection of these charges through the national fiscal system. “It also makes provision for the establishment of a Waste Management Bureau within the structures of the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA). The main purpose of the Waste Management Bureau will be to process, monitor and evaluate any Industry Waste Management Plans submitted to DEA,” Delanie says.
It is SAVA‘s view that the outlined legislation either holds an opportunity for the local PVC industry to pro-actively submit and bring into effect its own Industry Waste Management Plan (IndWMP) or it could potentially hold a risk should the industry decide to adopt a “wait-and-see” approach.
Highlights of the most PVC recycling successes in South Africa include:
“When it comes to legislation and regulations, companies tend to underestimate the cost of non-compliance, which, within the framework of the NPSWM, could be dealt with by the implementation of a government managed tax similar to the plastic bag levy of which we are all too familiar with. Product manufacturers need to understand the true costs of failure, assess the business implications, and adopt long-term strategies to avoid these costs,” she says.
SAVA recognises that they are faced with some challenges that needs to be addressed prior to the next survey period. These include:
Delanie concludes: “SAVA will continue to combine the principles of shared responsibility, lifecycle thinking, awareness, innovation and supply chain communications to achieve the key commitments of the SAVA PSP. We remain committed to the PSP process as part of our total commitment to the sustainability of the Southern African PVC industry. Whether we are looking at new recycling initiatives, or pushing for compliance to meet the deadlines set out for the phasing out of heavy metals in the production process, we believe that taking a proactive approach is the key to success and avoiding costs in the current regulatory environment. We will continue to invest in a long-term approach on both these issues, as the costs of being unprepared are simply too high”.
For more information about SAVA, please visit their website on www.savinyls.co.za
Issued on behalf of SAVA by:
Aim Marketing & Communications Consultants
Tel: (021) 531-0313 / (071) 083-5219
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