Bumper floor off-cuts collection just what the doctor ordered

20 November 2019 | Web Article Number: ME201917212

Commerce & Trade
Government & Municipal
Green Industries & Renewable Energy

DURBAN’S new Dr Pixley Ka Isaka Seme Memorial Hospital was recently the scene of an innovative recycling initiative.

Polyflor SA and Innovative Pvc Compounds (IPC), both members of the Southern African Vinyls Association (SAVA), joined hands to ensure that 7.5 tons of vinyl floor off-cuts were collected, of which six tons were recycled, following an installation at the R3bn hospital in KwaMashu that is scheduled to open its doors in December 2019.

The 500-bed regional hospital named in the honour of one of the first black lawyers in South Africa and a founding member of the African National Congress (ANC), is the largest hospital currently in development in South Africa. It is situated near Bridge City Mall (a new mixed-use precinct that serves as a business, commercial and transportation hub for the eThekwini Municipality) and will be amongst the largest public healthcare facilities in the country once it is completed.

Bumper floor off-cuts collection just what the doctor ordered

The new development forms part of the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health Hospital Revitalisation Programme. It will provide 1.5 million people living in KwaMashu, Inanda, Ntuzuma and surrounding communities in the northern Durban catchment area with a full spectrum of medical services.

Polyflor SA, one of South Africa’s leading suppliers of vinyl sheeting and luxury vinyl tiles to the healthcare-, retail-, education- and commercial industries, was awarded the contract to supply more than 35 000 m² of vinyl sheeting at the hospital.

The company launched the country’s only official programme that recycles vinyl sheeting off-cuts generated during installations in 2016. Contractors are given specially branded recycling bags in which they place the off-cuts in order to be returned to the company’s head office in Sebenza, Johannesburg, for weighing and recording and collection by recyclers.

“Upon hearing of our involvement in the project through our networking at SAVA and given the fact that it was literally taking place on their doorstep, IPC offered to assist us with the recycling of the off-cuts at their premises,” said Tandy Coleman, CEO of Polyflor SA. “Their involvement in this project made the entire process considerably shorter and easier to manage”.

IPC is a family-run vinyl compounds supplier based in Durban. Established in 2010, they are one of the PVC compounders who supply their products nationwide, as well as internationally, for the manufacturing of footwear, safety shoes, gumboots, wire coating, floor tiles, electrical and plumbing fittings, for the moulding and extrusion industries.

“Although recycling of vinyl products is not a core focus of our business, we do encourage our customers to allow us to reprocess any, if not all, of their off-cuts in view of maintaining a sustainable environment,” said Mubeen Siddiqi, CEO and Director at IPC.

Valuable source

“Vinyl floor off-cuts are a valuable source of clean, top quality material that holds high recycling value. For this reason, we were eager to assist Polyflor by collecting, reprocessing and recycling the material at our facility in Phoenix Industrial Park in Durban, before supplying it back into the industry as compounds for the footwear sector.”

Adri Spangenberg, CEO of the Southern African Vinyls Association, applauded both companies for their pro-active approach and supporting the industry to reach its recycling targets.

“PVC recycling in South Africa has seen 16.4 % year-on-year growth in during 2018, whilst the virgin consumption increased 2.3 % in the same period. 20 778 tons of PVC were recycled in South Africa, of which 80 % was flexible and 20 % rigid vinyl products,” she said.

“Because the recycling process does not measurably decrease the chain length of PVC molecules, vinyl products can be recycled repeatedly up to 8 times - depending on the application. For this reason, the vinyls industry has been working very hard to boost collection of waste, optimise recycling technologies and boost the percentage of recyclate in new products.”

Footwear continues to be the biggest market application (43%) for recycled, flexible PVC, followed by pipes (23%), flooring and cables (both 12%). Other applications for recycled PVC include speed bumps, traffic cones, gum boots, vehicle heel mats and rubber edging used around pet bowls.

Both Polyflor SA and IPC agreed that the project was a success and said they were eager to collaborate on similar projects in future.

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