South Africans have once again proven their passion for preserving the environment. Despite challenges presented by the current economic landscape, our recycling rate has increased to 40.9%. Sustained year-on-year growth means we are achieving what we set out to do by continuing to intensify the rate at which we divert glass from landfills.
Passion and education are at the heart of South Africa’s ongoing glass recycling efforts. The passion of our people remains unquestioned. Our industry, consumers and glass collectors are working tirelessly to extend the renewable life of bottles and jars. Education has once again taken centre stage in our overall strategy and this is evident in the successful rebranding of The Glass Recycling Company.
While our entrepreneurs remain top-of-mind, the new look and feel of our business means that we are now communicating with South African consumers more than ever before as we continue to cultivate a recycling ethos. Our new strong consumer-facing brand marketing and communication efforts have been centred on the need for South Africans to acknowledge the significance of recycling and to embrace the creation of a greener economy.
This new consumer-centric approach can only be termed a success. We have built a strong brand and as a result, people are demonstrating true concern about and a real commitment to recycling. Schools, bars, pubs and restaurants are leading the way in our national recycling mind-set, with retailers following suit in a manner that can only be described as promising. Granted, there needs to be greater commitment from retailers and the hospitality industry; we call upon them to work with us in providing a platform for their shoppers and patrons to recycle glass.
With that said, as a nation we continue to hold our own on the global diversion from landfill stage. With 3 million bottles entering the South African market annually; 2.4 million are diverted from landfill due to a combination of the reuse of returnable bottles, as well as glass being recycled. This means only 20% of our bottles are making their way into landfills. Furthermore, some of our country’s returnable bottles are doing an average of 30 trips in their life cycle. South Africa has arguably one of the most advanced returnable systems in the world and of this we can be very proud.
None of this, however, would be possible without our Shareholders and it is with this in mind that I express my sincerest thanks to the Board and Shareholders for their sustained and ongoing support of the important business of recycling glass. I also extend my gratitude to my team for their continued commitment to our cause. Our passion for what we do is perhaps best reflected in our logo, which demonstrates the need for us all to have a “heart” for glass.
Chief Executive Officer