Metal packaging offers advantages throughout the supply chain
Due to its strength and rigid nature, metal packaging is filled at high speeds with virtually no product loss, increasing overall efficiency including energy and CO2.
Metal packaging offers excellent space optimisation due to its stack ability. It is easy to handle in store, reducing spoilage and costs.
Metal packaging is unbreakable, reducing the risk of leaking or tearing during transportation.
Due to their inherent strength, metal packaging, both empty and filled, can be stacked to make maximum use of storage. There is no need for heating or refrigeration, saving up to 70% in energy consumption.
As the Product Responsibility Organisation (PRO) for metal packaging, it is Metpac-SA's mission to establish the metal packaging industry as a valuable contributor to sustainable development principles through investment in post-consumer metal packaging recovery and reutilisation.
Why is EPR important, and what potential positive impacts will it have on the packaging sector?
The recent EPR gazettes state (or highlight) that support Section 18 of National Environment Management: Waste Act are crucial regarding the entrenchment of circular economy thinking within the packaging sector. During the next few years, we can expect that additional focus will be placed on ensuring that all packaging materials are reusable, recyclable or compostable.
What changes has MetPac-SA made to assist producers and make the process easier in order to adhere to the regulations?
Implementing EPR will require collective efforts across the value chain. MetPac-SA has engaged in initial partnerships with collectors, recyclers, social enterprises and working groups (including producers) to start the journey.
2022 is the first year of the EPR implementation and many stepping stones need to be laid, including the establishment of various working groups for problematic materials. MetPac-SA has established a material flow analysis (MFA) for beverage cans and will start the MFA shortly on ferrous packaging.
Could you explain Metpac-SA’s EPR fee structures and provide a breakdown of the collection, recycling and reuse targets that have been set for the next five years for the various metal packaging types?
Raw material has a flat fixed fee while the fee for converters or contract packers ranges from R12/ton (aluminium) and R16/ton (tinplate).
Brand owners who source packaging from local converters will be levied R105/ton for aluminium and R135/ton for tinplate. Brand owners who import metal packaging will pay R117/ton for aluminium and R151/ton for tinplate. Retailers as brand owners will pay the same fee as brand owners.
Looking at ferrous metal packaging, this year we aim to achieve a collection target of 56% and a recycling target of 53%. We aim to increase both targets by 1% every year so that in 2026 the collection rate should stand at 60% and the recycling target at 57%.
With aluminium, the collection target for this year is 62% and we aim to increase it by 2% each year so that in 2026 it will be 70%. The recycling target for 2022 is 30% and the aim for 2026 is 35%.
What challenges have emerged for the industry/producers with these EPR regulations?
A few challenges have emerged in terms of implementing the EPR, for example the difference in opinion between the various PROs regarding where the EPR fee should be levied in the supply chain. This has led to PROs discussing different payment structures for the companies that have been registered with them as producers.
What opportunities have emerged for the industry/producers?
Many opportunities are emerging for producers, specifically in terms of seeing where and how product designs can be improved, particularly for packaging that is incurring higher EPR levies. There is an incentive to rethink the circularity of packaging.
How ready do you believe your members are for mandatory EPR?
Producers are ready and prepared for mandatory EPR. The voluntary programmes over the years have assisted to prime many of them for the move to a more regulated space. We anticipate that the implementation will be slow and steady as the producers and PROs find the most streamlined approach in terms of EPR fees and reporting requirements.
How are Metpac-SA and municipalities working together to help improve collection and recycling infrastructure to make target achievements easier? What initiatives will be rolled out in 2023?
Metals are already very well collected by waste pickers around the country. Metpac-SA will work in collaboration with the Packaging Alliance .