Multimillion-rand recycling boost

SUCCESS STORIES: The ECDC is already involved in many p ro j e c t s , including b re e d i n g angora rabbits and a wine farm
SUCCESS STORIES: The ECDC is already
involved in many projects, including breeding
angora rabbits and a wine farm. Picture: Supplied.

New plant to make furniture from pineapple, plastic waste

A Polyfibre project funded through the Eastern Cape Development Corporation(ECDC) has received a R22-million cash injection to establish a factory in Port Alfred.

The cash, which was made available to the project by the Department of Trade and Industry’s employment creation fund, will also fund three recycling collection centres, in Stutterheim, Dutywa and Somerset East.

The polyfibre project makes use of plastic and pineapple waste, which is then moulded and manufactured into window and door frames, outdoor furniture and utility bags.

The project was initially funded by the ECDC to the tune of R2.2-million, which assisted in acquiring SA Bureau of Standards certification for the fibre, as well as establishing recycling centres in Grahamstown and Port Alfred.

Through these facilities –known as buy-back centres –waste material is collected, bought and transformed into useful materials.

Project head Phakamisa George said the factory and related facilities would only be fully operational once registration of the company had been finalised.

The company will be called PolyFibre Pty Ltd.

George said the ECDC had first been approached by the Ndlambe municipality after officials had identified people who had been scavenging at a waste site.

The municipality wanted to know if there were any projects the people could get involved in.

George said equipment was then bought to make it easier to handle the waste plastic.

“We realised that using only waste plastic material, the furniture was becoming too brittle, so we partnered with technical people and came up with a formula to strengthen the materials using pineapple fibres,” George said.

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