Scheme launched to recycle PET bottles |20 September 2007
The public will be able to return their used PET soft drinks and mineral water bottles manufactured by SBL and SMB for a refund of 50 cents each at redeem centres that will be purposefully set up.
The department has said that the pollution from these bottles has proven to be a major threat to the environment, “in terms of visual pollution and the space that these non-biodegradable products occupy in the landfills”.
After many years that the government has been responsible for disposing of these products at no cost to the producers, SMB and SBL have agreed to buy back the PET bottles in circulation for the purpose of recycling them for re-exportation.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to that effect was signed at Independence House on Monday between the government and the two companies. Signing on behalf of the government was the Minister for Environment, Natural Resources and Transport, Joel Morgan, while the managing director of SMB Patrick Vel and the managing director of SBL Alan Barnes signed on behalf of their respective companies.
Present at the signing ceremony was the principal secretary for Environment Didier Dogley, other environment officials and staff of SMB and SBL.
Following the signing, PS Dogley explained that the new scheme, which is set to begin on October 1, will be initially to recycle PET bottles produced by the two companies but it will gradually extend to bottles from other smaller companies as the programme gets under way.
He explained that starting on that date, all pre-formed PET bottles entering the country will carry a 70 cents tax. The tax will be collected at import and will be credited to a Waste Management Fund which has been set up to fund the scheme.
The fund will be managed by a board comprising representation from the public and private sectors. It will make all decisions pertaining to the use of the funds.
From this 70 cents tax, 50 cents will go towards refunding the public when they return with the PET bottle at the redeem centres that will be set up for this purpose.
He stressed however that all bottles which are being handed over for recycling will have to be accompanied by its cap as when it was purchased or they will not be accepted. The remaining 20 cents will used to pay for logistical costs.
The scheme will start with a network of six redeem centres on Mahé, Praslin and La Digue and the exact locations will be made known later.
Once the bottles have been collected they will be then shredded and packed to be re-exported.
For its part SBL has announced that as from October 1, their 1.5 litre PET bottles will no longer carry a one rupee deposit.
Mr Barnes said that starting next week the brewery will cease production of soft drinks in the 1.5 litre PET bottles temporarily to give its clients enough time to return those bottles for them to be refunded their one rupee deposit before October 1.
He explained that as from that date, all 1.5 litre bottles will have to be taken to the redeem centres for a 50 cent refund.
Earlier this year SBL donated R1 million to the fund and Mr Barnes said that his company will be making further donations to the fund shortly.
As of October 1 the public can expect to pay 70 cents more for SMB’s bottled water and 20 cents more for all SBL soft drinks in PET bottles of 0.5 and 1.5 litres. The money will be a contribution to the Waste Management Fund.
According to PS Dogley there are an estimated 10 million bottles that needs to be collected and recycled.