South African Vinyl Industry Commits to Product Stewardship Programme
“Our Product Stewardship Program is a series of achievable commitments that address the industry’s environmental issues and forms the cornerstones of the Association’s focus and activities”, explains Delanie Bezuidenhout, CEO of SAVA.
As proof of the fact that the industry is serious about making good of its promises and commitments, SAVA members voluntarily signed the Product Stewardship Programme, which consists of five fundamental key areas, namely:
- A commitment to the responsible and sustainable use of additives, including (but not limited to) stabilizers, plasticizers, pigments and Bisphenol A.
- A commitment to the responsible and sustainable Vinyl recycle program that quantifies the opportunity for recycling in post-production and post consumer waste and sets realistic and sustainable goals.
- Ensuring open and effective communication with industry role players, the public and government in order to correct perceptions about the science, reality and local applicability of PVC.
- Ensuring industry health through product, market and application opportunities, thereby improving human capital and overall growth, prosperity and sustainability of the vinyl industry.
- Ensuring a fully functional industry initiative that adds value to both members and the industry by growing a sustainable membership base with an effective marketing plan.
“PVC has in recent years received a bad rap from environmentalists, the public and the media who are, in many cases, unaware of the hard work being done behind the scenes to ensure that vinyls are environmentally safe and sustainable”, she says. “SAVA aims to raise awareness of the good qualities of PVC by assisting its members, relevant authorities and experts to understand, characterize and address product stewardship issues association with the life cycle of PVC products”.
Being part of a successful industry implies accepting a responsibility towards others in that industry to join forces, to share ideas and to turn ideas into action. For this reason, SAVA actively participates in knowledge transfer activities with the Australian Vinyls Council, The Global Vinyls Council, Vinyls Plus and other international organisations. “Our main purpose is to represent our members’ interests in the Southern Africa region by creating consumer confidence within the industry and to develop and sustain markets for the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) business,” Bezuidenhout explains.
Since its inception a little more than year ago, SAVA has already made significant inroads by convincing the Green Building Council of SA to withdraw the Mat-7 PVC Minimisation credit from the Green Star SA rating system and not to replace it with an alternative version.
Says Bezuidenhout: “We are proud of the fact that the GBCSA acknowledged the progress our industry has made to date and that they have deemed the transition in the local vinyls industry to be on par with that of the Australian PVC industry.”
However, SAVA cannot afford to be resting on its laurels as delivering progress on the PSP is critical to the Association’s success. They have set realistic timeframes and goals for the delivery of key undertakings in the production and storage, the safe and sustainable use of these additives, waste management thereof, and research and public reporting.
“SAVA is ideally positioned within the local plastics industry and has representation on the Recovery Action Group (RAG), the Packaging Council of South Africa (PACSA) and the Plastics SA Sustainability Council. It is our goal to ensure that our members are represented on a broader platform and we are confident that we will be able to create an even bigger impact and reach within in our industry as we strive to double our membership by the end of 2012”, Bezuidenhout says.