The sustainability of industrial packaging in a regulated environment

Environmental policies and regulations have a strong impact on future packaging trends. A sustainable environment is important for the public, industry and Government which in turn contributes to a healthy economy; but it is essential that all industrial packaging meets current packaging legislation. The Responsible Packaging Management Association of Southern Africa (RPMASA)’s role is to help members operate in an appropriately regulated market place to maximise competitiveness.

Industrial Packaging is designed and manufactured to specifications for the different risk classes of chemicals and industrial products to be safe and secure in transport and use worldwide. All packaging used for dangerous substances or products containing substances with UN numbers must be performance tested and certified by an accredited packaging test laboratory as per the United Nations Model regulations and is permanently marked with the manufacturers specific certification markings confirming specification, date and factory of manufacture. Similarly reprocessed packaging should be the correct specification for use, be tested and bear the reprocessors registration mark in addition to the original manufacturer’s marks.

Packaging is vital to modern systems of production, distribution and consumption. The packaging industry has been under pressure for more than 20 years to reduce the environmental impacts of its products. South Africa has a significant threat in the reprocessing market through the frequent purchase of incorrect specification packaging which cannot be reused hence unnecessary waste, and the direct scrap of perfectly good, re-useable drums and Intermediate bulk containers (IBCs), which is wasteful, increases resource and energy use, and carbon footprint to the detriment of our environment.

Making use of the correct specification is vital to reduce risks to people and the environment during handling, storage and transport of products as well as to contribute to sustainable use of resources and reduced carbon footprint.

“RPMASA members now have a significant opportunity to help people reduce their overall environmental footprint by choosing packaging companies that comply with regulations,’’ says Liz Anderson, President of the RPMASA. “Most importantly we applaud members who are already using regulated companies for their commitment to the waste hierarchy and environmental sustainability.”

Anderson continued, “With the emergence of regulatory requirements to address extended producer responsibility and other environmental packaging legislation currently in the pipeline, this is a critical time for our industry to join the RPMASA initiatives to offer a compelling voice. Purchase of the correct specification package results in resource, energy and cost savings as well as reduced risk and liability.”

For more information about the RPMASA and membership organisations can log on

Notes to Editors

The RPMASA is part of a network of organizations’ around the world that follow the entire lifecycle of Industrial packaging. RPMASA addresses economic, legal and regulatory concerns associated with drum and container use and reuse, as well as uplifting the standard of drum reconditioning through global best practice. It has a seat on the UN Committees of Experts for Transport of dangerous goods and the GHS, National Standards Committees and the Waste Act Steering committee to assist members, and bring best practice to our industries.

What will be the future of waste pickers in South Africa?

“Waste pickers are not fighting for the right to be on landfill sites, they are fighting to be part of the waste management system,” said Mr Simon Mbata, representative of the South African Waste Pickers Association (SAWPA) at a workshop debate hosted by the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) in Midrand last week.  Having seen firsthand how effectively waste is being managed by informal waste pickers in Brazil recently, Mbata strongly believes that separation of waste at source (household level) is the way forward for the waste industry. “This too is the solution being advocated in the Recycling Industry’s Waste Management Plan that is currently being developed,” said Mr Andrew Marthinusen of the Packaging Council of South Africa (PACSA). Marthinusen accompanied Mbata on the recent fact finding trip to Brazil.

Waste pickers, as they have been dubbed, are individuals who make an independent living reclaiming recyclable waste from the waste stream, predominantly from landfill sites, and selling it on to recycling companies. An estimated 88,000 South Africans currently earn a living in this way. Waste picking offers individuals a means to make a living regardless of age, level of education or skills set. A basic understanding of what is recyclable is required but this is gained through working experience.

“The reason that the waste pickers are there is clear,” says Dr Suzan Oelofse, Chairman of the IWMSA. “A lot of recyclable and reuseable waste is entering the waste stream due to South Africa’s current waste disposal strategies. This waste is valuable and if reclaimed, can earn collectors up to R120 per day. Many waste pickers have evolved into entrepreneurs by finding creative ways to re-use waste, such as by building dog kennels out of discarded wood or potting and reselling discarded plants.

“Having waste pickers on a landfill site has it’s pros and cons for the site operator,” says Mr Frans Dekker, Functional Head of Landfill Management Operations for City of Tshwane. “They contribute to waste reduction on the site and can be extra eyes, if trained, to look out for illegal dumping activities and criminal behaviour. They assist the public with offloading waste and can help out during strikes as they did recently. However, having waste pickers on a landfill site means more people for the site operator to manage and slower turnaround time on waste processing. The personal safety of the waste pickers themselves is also an ongoing risk. Many sites feel that their public image may be tarnished by the presence of waste pickers,” Dekker explains. “But these waste pickers are always going to be there and it is important for landfill sites to have their cooperation as far as possible. Waste pickers also need to be encouraged to manage themselves via a representative committee, a process that has started in City of Tshwane during 2002.” Dekker continues.

However, the existence of these waste pickers and their prevalence on landfill sites has become an increasing concern for the site operators as landfill sites are a dangerous environment and accidents arising on the site can become the responsibility of the site operator. This was highlighted by Mr Leon Grobbelaar from Interwaste in his presentation that discussed the liabilities that a site could face if something goes wrong. Enviro-Fill, an Interwaste subsidiary, was sued for R5 million by an informal waste picker that was injured accidentally whilst collecting waste informally on an Enviro-Fill operated landfill site. The legal action was instituted in spite of measures being put in place by Enviro-Fill to reduce the risks to the health and safety of the waste pickers. “Recycling should be done before waste reaches the landfill site,” says Grobbelaar. “I don’t believe that a landfill site is the right place for the waste pickers to operate.”

Waste pickers may be perceived by the uninformed as poor, dirty, uneducated and dangerous individuals and yet they are hard working, fiercely independent, self motivated people who bring with them a wealth of knowledge about the waste management stream and recyclable products. It is imperative that they be considered and included in future waste management plans and it is encouraging that the waste management industry seems to be doing this. It is clear that there is room for improvement in the working conditions of waste pickers and in the way waste is currently being managed but it is also clear that the waste management industry is actively tackling this challenge and while there is still a lot of work to be done and discussions to be had the outlook is predominately positive.

The IWMSA have recognised that the forum for more discussions around these issues is necessary and as such will be planning more workshops in the near future.

The IWMSA is a professional, multi disciplinary organisation with voluntary membership established to promote the science and practice of waste management and is a non-profit organisation. For more information contact the IWMSA visit:

Who is the greenest of them all?

Industries across KwaZulu Natal are invited to enter the prestigious Waste Management Awards 2012.

The Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA)’s KwaZulu Natal branch in conjunction with the the Department of Agriculture, Environmental Affairs and Rural Development (DAEARD) are delighted to launch the Waste Management Awards for 2012 and are challenging companies across KwaZulu Natal to see who is the greenest in the Province.

Pat Reddy, the Chairman of the IWMSA KZN Branch says, “we are encouraging organisations throughout KZN to enter the Waste Management Awards for 2012. With the increased pressure on companies to comply with the New Waste Act and to be environmentally more conscious, we see the Waste Management Awards as a great way to share good ideas, get recognition for hard work and celebrate environmental action.” Reddy continues, “Very often the focus is on what is wrong in the environment. The IWMSA and DAEARD will be focussing on what is right by rewarding environmentally-conscious organisations.”

Reddy adds, “the aim of the awards is to celebrate organisations’ green credentials by paying tribute to the great and green. In 2010 the competition was of a very high standard with many deserving entrants and we hope that even more of KwaZulu Natal’s leading businesses will enter this year to stand a chance of receiving recognition for their sustainable practices. We are challenging all the organizations to set an example for the rest of South Africa.”

Reddy continues, “These awards aren’t about creating winners and losers. Everyone that is working towards a greener life is instantly a winner. We feel that these awards are a fitting way to recognise those organisations that really are trying to make a difference to the environment in the course of their day-to-day business.”

The main objectives of the awards are to promote responsible practice in the use of resources and environmental management, to encourage the waste hierarchy (3 R’s – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) as well as to encourage alternative methods to avoid overfill at landfill sites.

The bi-annual Waste Management Awards aim to recognize businesses of all sizes and sectors, employing good environmental practice in their daily activity, while also making significant financial savings.

Organisations are invited to attend the launch function of the Waste Management Awards that will be taking place at the Premier Hotel in Pinetown on 28 July 2011 from 08:00 – 11:00. Last year’s winners in the various categories will be at the launch and share their experiences of taking part in the awards.  Companies will get a chance to interact with these companies and will also be guided on what the requirements are for entering the 2012 competition.  There are different categories that can be entered including Chemical, Service and General Industries – more information will be made available at the launch.

The judging includes a site visit and audit by professional members of the IWMSA, as well as employees of the DAEARD and other government departments.

The IWMSA is a professional, multi-disciplinary organisation with voluntary membership established to promote the science and practice of waste management and is a non-profit organization. For more information contact the IWMSA’s KwaZulu Natal branch at: (031) 564 2795, e-mail: or visit,

Learners go Wild for Animals at Giraffe House

Many learners across the Cape have never seen or experienced the beauty of our Province; something many of us take for granted. In a bid to create awareness of our country’s unique and diverse range of wildlife, Peninsula Beverage Company (PenBev) has entered into a collaboration with The Giraffe House Wildlife Awareness Centre (Giraffe House), situated just off the N1 between Muldersvlei and Stellenbosch.

Giraffe House hosts school visits to their facility which encourages learners to discover the wonders of South Africa’s wildlife and even a chance to interact with a few of them. With Giraffe House’s mobile unit they are able to reach even more learners. Denise Green, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at PenBev indicated, “There are many leaners in less fortunate areas across Cape Town that may never get an opportunity to see the wonders of our Country; we can’t expect the youth to ‘look after the environment’ if they don’t know what it is they are supposed to look after.

We at PenBev are delighted to form this collaboration with Giraffe House and introduce learners across Cape Town to the wonders of nature.”

Werner Fourie, Director of Giraffe House and previously a lecturer in Conservation at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), is passionate about conservation and about educating our youth about the importance of our wildlife. The talks are entertaining and fun, which Fourie believes is essential for the learners to retain information. Fourie says,

“I developed the concept for the Giraffe House after some rural children had pointed to a couple of giraffe that we were transporting at the time and they had asked what type of lions they were. It really concerned me that the children of Africa did not know about this animal that is so unique to us.

Not having the exposure or experience of wild animals could lead to misunderstanding and subsequent irrational fears and even abuse of these animals.”

“These children are our future cabinet ministers and members of parliament and our potential future conservationists. We need to instil in them a sense of environmental responsibility while they are still young.”

The sessions are started off with an introduction of the Big Five and relating them to South Africa’s currency, thereby allowing learners to recognise what they are looking at on our bank notes and coins. Learners also get to learn that South Africa is the home to everything from the tallest animal in the world – the giraffe, the largest bird – the ostrich, the smallest antelope – the blue duiker, the oldest animal – the Nile crocodile etc.

Reptiles also form an important element when learning about South Africa’s wildlife. Fourie explains that there are good and bad snakes, that one shouldn’t fear and randomly kill any reptiles as they all play an important role in our delicate eco system. During the session, learners (and even teachers!) get an opportunity to interact with the reptiles, and even get a chance to overcome their fears by meeting a python up close and personal.

Giraffe House is open seven days a week from 09:00 to 17:00 and can be contacted on 021 884 4506 or e-mail > . For more information visit <>

PenBev is committed to supporting educational outings of this nature which contribute towards a more thorough understanding of our environment as a whole. PenBev is an independent bottling company that holds the rights to manufacture and distribute the products of The Coca-Cola Company within the Western and Northern Cape.

For more information, contact PenBev on: 021 936 5500 or visit <>

Reaching out to the Heart of Fathers in Eerste River

The South African statistics for fatherless homes are shocking – 9 million children grow up without fathers in South Africa, 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes; more than a third of the country’s prisoners are aged 18 – 25. Nearly 50 000 school girls fell pregnant in 2007 a 151% increase since 2003. Nearly a third of 12 – 14 year olds said they had easy access to marijuana and 8% had easy access to crack cocaine .(info. SAIRR ) This crisis is out of control and affecting our communities.

The odds are stacked up against South Africa’s Youth, therefore The Greater Blue Downs Ministers Fraternal and Hearts of Fathers have joined forces to address issues relating to fathers and sons that are destroying the community and our country.

Heart of Fathers will be launching an inter-church crusade from 22 – 24 July 2011 which is aimed at uniting the Church and community to fight the degeneration in the youth and families caused by absent fathers.

Special guest, Tex Neveling from the Journey of Hope will be speaking to the group during the event. Neveling is a breast cancer survivor and the Journey of Hope’s first male rider. “It is important for fathers and sons to communicate and to address sensitive and difficult topics.

Breast cancer is one of those topics – it is something that does not discriminate against race, gender, age – it is important to know about and if you see any changes in your body to not be ‘macho’ about it, but to check it out; if I had not been proactive I would not be here today.”

The Journey of Hope is a breast cancer awareness initiative that was launched in 2006 where Survivors ride motorcycles throughout the country and create awareness and educate people about the importance of early detection of breast cancer. Dispelling myths about breast cancer is also important – it is not something that only middle-aged women get.

For more information on Heart of Fathers Event please call 021 904 0533 or email and for more info on the Journey of Hope, please contact 011 317 3861 or visit

Journey of Hope Breast Cancer Ride – the first of its kind in South Africa

The Journey of Hope Breast Cancer Awareness Ride going from strength to strength.

When the Journey of Hope Breast Cancer Ride was initiated in 2006 it was the first of its kind in South Africa. The purpose of the Journey of Hope Breast Cancer Ride is to spread the message of a positive attitude and of hope regarding breast cancer, in a unique and vibrant way. This is achieved through a volunteer group of breast cancer survivors travelling across South Africa on motorcycles and sharing their stories of Hope. At the same time these dynamic role models highlight the importance of early detection of breast cancer.

Since then a number of similar initiatives unassociated with the Journey of Hope have been initiated following the same basic model. Journey of Hope are supportive of any cause that shares its vision of spreading the message of Hope and the early detection of breast cancer to South African communities.

Aileen Taylor, Director says, “The Journey of Hope has a long and successful track record and has grown from strength to strength over the years, especially when it comes to educating rural communities about breast cancer and dispelling some of the myths that exist around breast cancer.  We are looking forward to an exciting Ride this year when we will be travelling through Gauteng to Mpumalanga, Limpopo and the North West to spread our message of Hope and early detection of breast cancer.”

This year a new group of 15 breast cancer survivors from all walks of life will once again embark on a Journey of Hope by riding Honda motorcycles. Amongst them will be the first male breast cancer survivor to participate in a Journey of Hope ride. Appearances, talks and awareness workshops will be held throughout the year as well as during the week of the main ride, when various schools, shopping centres and communities along the route will be visited.

The Journey of Hope ride will be taking place from 09 – 15 October 2011. For more information about the Journey of Hope 2011 ride contact 011 3173861 / 082 840 3633 or visit