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Metpac-SA: Leading the charge towards sustainable metal packaging

IN the dynamic landscape of waste management and recycling, MetPac-SA stands as a beacon of success, particularly in the realm of metal packaging.
As the Producer Responsibility Organisation (PRO) focused on metal packaging in South Africa, MetPac-SA has achieved significant milestones in promoting the collection and recycling of metal packaging materials, ranging from aerosol canisters to aluminium beverage cans and ferrous food packaging.

Key Achievements

MetPac-SA’s commitment to understanding the material flow of aluminium beverage containers through a Material Flow Analysis (MFA) exemplifies its dedication to informed decision-making.
By updating the MFA annually, MetPac-SA gains crucial insights into the local market dynamics, identifying areas for improvement and optimizing recycling processes.
In addition to data-driven initiatives, MetPac-SA has invested in educational outreach through the “Plant the Seed” video series, emphasising the importance of recycling and metal recovery.
These videos serve as catalysts for raising public awareness and fostering a culture of sustainability.

Challenges and Solutions

Navigating the complexities of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations has presented formidable challenges for MetPac-SA. From aligning reporting cycles with member timelines to grappling with fluctuating EPR fees, the organisation has encountered hurdles along the way. However, through proactive engagement with stakeholders and meticulous planning, MetPac-SA has managed to streamline processes and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.

Innovative Approaches

MetPac-SA’s partnership with GeT Metal and Waste, a specialist recycler of all types of ferrous and non-ferrous metals with an impressive footprint consisting of 8 branches throughout the Western Cape, has yielded innovative approaches to waste characterisation and provided valuable insights into the composition of recyclable materials. By conducting in-depth assessments over several months, MetPac-SA has gained a nuanced understanding of the materials being processed, thereby paving the way for targeted interventions and optimisation of recycling infrastructure.
Collaborative Partnerships

MetPac-SA understands the power of collaboration in driving sustainable change. By partnering with other PROs and government bodies, such as PETCO and Polyco, MetPac-SA has managed to successfully expand its reach and effectiveness in meeting recycling targets. Through joint initiatives like onboarding additional buy-back centers and supporting waste picker payment systems, MetPac-SA fosters a holistic approach to recycling, engaging stakeholders across the value chain.
MetPac-SA has also supported various awareness and education campaigns aimed at educating pupils and consumers alike about the importance of recycling, effective waste management and supporting a circular economy. They are the lead sponsor of the Trash 4 Treats schools programme that encourages impoverished schools to collect metal packaging in their neighbourhoods and surrounding areas, rewarding the winning schools with cash prizes that can be used for much-needed school upgrades and the winning grades who participated in the collection efforts with treats, as well as a supporter of the Miss Earth SA foundation who visits schools to promote the message, “Waste stops with me”.

Measuring Performance

MetPac-SA employs a robust system of quarterly declarations from its members to track material placed on the market. This data, coupled with insights from partner networks, enables MetPac-SA to evaluate its performance against government-mandated recycling targets accurately. With a keen focus on transparency and accountability, MetPac-SA drives continuous improvement in recycling outcomes.

Future Outlook

Looking ahead, MetPac-SA remains steadfast in its commitment to advancing metal packaging recycling efforts and contributing to a more sustainable circular economy. By increasing local recycled content in aluminium beverage cans and expanding collection and recycling infrastructure nationwide, MetPac-SA aims to drive lasting change. Moreover, the rollout of waste picker payment systems underscores MetPac-SA’s dedication to fostering inclusive and equitable recycling practices, empowering communities and driving positive social impact.

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