Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  21 Aug 2011

MANUFACTURING: Recycling Makes Sense For Tuffy


Recent Western Cape Business News

NOT only is there a strong environmental moral case to be made for recycling, but the economic benefits too can be compelling.

As reported last month, on the macro economic side recycling of plastics keep up to 220 companies in business, employing some 4 800 people directly and creating 35 000 jobs indirectly who have an annual payroll of R250 million.

By taking a closer look at the operations of one of the leading plastic recyclers in South Africa, the Cape Town-based Tuffy Group of companies, one also gets somewhat of a measure of how economically viable such an effort can be for a business operation.

Tuffy, founded some 25 years ago by Johathan Duffett, today has a turnover of some R300 million a year with manufacturing facilities of some 2 200 sq m in Stikland and around 3 600 sq m in Airport City.

The company has for the past four years consistently grown volume (in tonnages sold) by 8% per year.

Tuffy pioneered refuse bags on a roll and today, importantly, these ubiquitous black bags represent some 60% of total turnover, says Tuffy Brands’ marketing manager Rory Murray. Running 6 000 tons of recycled material through its plant every year, producing some 240 million refuse bags, Tuffy holds a major share of the national market of black bags, according to Murray.

Much of these find their way to consumers via increasingly environmental conscious retailers such as Pick n Pay, Spar, Shoprite and Checkers. And they are buying from Tuffy because of the company’s environmental credentials in its manufacturing process, which pioneered refuse bags made from 100% recycled materials.

It’s what goes into the products when they are recycled that matters. Many products claim to be 100% recycled, however what most customers don’t know is that some of these products are only recycled using pre-consumer waste which is not taken out of the environment, so essentially does not make much of a difference to the state of the environment”, Murray explains.

He advises that in order to support recycling efforts consumers need to look for products that are made from high percentages of ‘post consumer’ waste, meaning a material that was discarded after someone uses it; in other words it has served its intended purpose, passed through the hands of a final consumer and has been discarded for disposal or recovery.

So ‘post consumer’ content is key, and here Tuffy can boast an unequalled 70%. This figure, once explained, is increasingly bringing more retailers and consumers into the Tuffy fold, Murray says.

Another strong selling point is that Tuffy Brands has become the first organisation in South Africa to receive the global SGS accreditation for having fully recycled content in their refuse bags (see separate article).

All in all, the Tuffy Group’s efforts show that recycling not only makes environmental sense, but business sense too.

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