SAB contributes to a circular economy through an innovative bottle collecting solution

SAB contributes to a circular economy through an innovative bottle collecting solution

As part of its continued efforts to ensure sustainability and contribute to a circular economy, SAB has formulated an innovative solution in order to collect returnable bottles from the informal recycling industry.  The solution follows a problem that was identified by the brewer where they had seen a decline in its Return To Issue bottles for the past five years.  

The initiative forms part of the brewer’s ambition of ensuring that 100% of the material used in their packaging is made from 100% recyclable material by 2025. Central to reaching the 2025 target has been ensuring that there is an efficient Return To Issue system, which is implemented through the brewer giving customers full beer when they return the bottles which then get recycled. This forms part of the Extended Producer Responsibility Law which has been recently introduced in South Africa and will be effective from November 2021.  The Extended Producer Responsibility Law ensures that these products are either recycled or upcycled, and that waste products that are diverted to landfills are kept at a minimum.

SAB has partnered with a Buy Back Centre in Soweto to begin the trials of bottle collection. SAB built a business case which enabled it to understand the amount of monies that needed to be compensated. As part of this initiative, SAB is paying the business R1.25/bottle.

The initiative has presented an opportunity for street waste pickers to collect bottles that have been discarded in community bins, landfills as well as collect bottles lying around on the ground.

As part of the pilot, SAB funded the Zondi Buy Back Centre which is able to collect 660HL of bottles for the Brewer. Bongani Mzansi, the owner of Zondi Buy Back Centre, has been empowered to create job opportunities by employing six people in line with SAB’s focus of being a driver of economic recovery.