A CONSORTIUM of Zimbabwean companies has invested US$1 million into a Polyethylene Terephthalate (Pet) Recycling Company of Zimbabwe (Petrecozim) to recycle pet bottles into plastic flake for export to China by end of March 2013.
Petrecozim chief operating officer, Tawanda Masuka, confirmed the company had already identified a site and was at the stage of completing basic compliance issues with the Environmental Management Agency and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.
"The site of the plant is in Ardebennie. We are at the stage of buying the equipment in China after completing compliance issues to operate within the confines of the law and then delivery and installation will need about three to four months," Masuka said.
He emphasised the new project would bring about a new paradigm shift.
"Traditionally, companies like Megapack process pre-forms and sell to retailers for packing products.
The duty of Petrecozim will be to pick the used bottles, recycle, produce flake -- a raw material needed by fibre manufacturing companies. In other countries they do bottle to bottle recycling but we will be producing flake and exporting it to China -- the biggest market for recycled products," he said.
Petrecozim is a culmination of combined efforts by 10 companies -- Dairiboard, Lyons, Tanganda, Mutare Bottling Company, Nestle, Delta and Schweppes.
The investors also include plastic converters Mega pack Zimbabwe and Pet pack and leading branding company Coca-Cola.
"The 10 companies are all equal partners in the project, each having an equal shareholding of 10%. However, l must emphasise that these are just inaugural members; membership is still open to other companies in the Pet value chain like converters, importers, bottlers and retailers," Masuka said.
He said Petrecozim would establish pet collection and baling centres in various cities across the country, tapping empty pet bottles from vendors, community based organisations, waste entrepreneurs, waste collectors and complimenting its own collective fleet facility to fine-tune the project.
"We are going to pay vendors to get the material. We want it to be sustainable. Ema is also setting up community groups and we will be happy if a lot of people come and sign in for the project. It works well when people are working together," he said.
He said the project would not duplicate existing efforts and as a strategy they were engaging companies doing waste collection.
According to Masuka, the plant will be operating at a capacity of 500 kg per hour. The first stage of used pet bottle processing will involve the separation of bottles initially by colour followed by glue and label, residue removal as well as metal detection. The plant will grind bottles into small particles (flakes) which will be fed into a sink float separator which will check for non-pet and pet bottles.