Photo: Quality standards team – The MyPlas team is chuffed at having succeeded in lifting the standards of the recycling process at their plant in Bellville to an internationally accredited level
CAPE multi-material recycler MyPlas has gained ISO standard accreditation, making it the second South African plastics recycler to achieve the international standard qualification.
MyPlas received its certificate on 3 January, confirming that it operates a quality management system which complies with the requirements of ISO 9001:2015 for the recycling of post-consumer, post-industrial and factory waste polyolefin materials.
The first SA recycler to achieve ISO accreditation was Extrupet, the Johannesburg-based PET recycler.
MyPlas, being a processor of a wider range of materials, including HD, LD and PP, may have faced an even more daunting path en route to accreditation.
The standards accreditation process was indeed difficult, conceded MyPlas director Johann Conradie.
“Our focus is to supply custom-made high-quality recycled plastic for quality sensitive applications where historically only virgin has been used,” said Johann.
Each of the different materials however brings its own set of variations and difficulties, starting from the collection point. No recycler can function without a reliable collection system, and in South Africa that brings its own, possibly unique problems in that most of the collectors are or were informal operators.
MyPlas, which emerged from Proplas, one of the oldest Cape recyclers (started 1983), has built up its systems and culture over the past three decades-plus. Under John Nield, Proplas had started the process of empowering collectors by way of assisting the individuals and small teams with balers, advice on quality, prompting them to lift throughput to minimum loads of 500kgs (at that time) and getting personal bank accounts. The latter on its own was a breakthrough in the recycling game, because prior to that most of the collectors only functioned until they had sufficient cash to pursue other interests. But once the routine become semi-formalised, a number of these collectors lifted their games to the point where they could actually employ small teams and operate as commercially viable ventures.
A lot more was required leading up to what is the successful operation we now see, however. After Proplas went bankrupt with the rest of the Lomold group in 2013, Myplas purchased the assets from the liquidator and moved their plant in with that of Proplas at the premises in Bellville South. With Nield joining the MyPlas team and providing the technical expertise and experience, MyPlas has grown steadily from there. In 2017 the company installed its own lab and set out on the standards qualification path in earnest.
Much of the impetus required to reach the desired standards has come from the buy-in of the MyPlas staff, ironically several of who are ex-Lomold and Plastamid personnel. That, together with the financial support of Polyco and the IDC, has now resulted in MyPlas crossing this next step in the quality journey that can only help garner better respect for SA’s plastic recyclers.