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Teqal and Wildtrust establish a ‘plastic neutral’ partnership

Teqal and Wildtrust establish a ‘plastic neutral’ partnership.

01 Dec – written by P & C Review


Based in KwaZulu-Natal, Teqal produces high-quality packaging for the cosmetics, personal care and industrial markets. Its manufacturing plant, situated at the Dube TradePort SEZ, adjacent to King Shaka International Airport, houses some of the most energy- and production-efficient servo-driven packaging machinery in the world.

Teqal’s strengths include the strategic registration of functional and technical designs and patents, along with in-house high-end packaging, tool-making and design experience – all of which are vital in generating value in the personal care and cosmetics industry.

In an effort to be 100% plastic waste neutral, for every kilogram of plastic Teqal converts into packaging, an equal amount of post-consumer plastic waste (PCPW) is collected from the environment and recycled.

The Blue Port Project is an initiative of Wildoceans (a programme of the Wildtrust), with the aim of creating action-based research and the implementation of strategic interventions to reduce plastic waste in the Durban Port and ultimately restore the Durban Bay to its natural functioning state.

A Local Innovator

Thanks to funding received from the incredibly supportive Industrial Development Corporation, Teqal is experiencing a very high growth phase in the business. The company recently relocated to substantially bigger premises within the Dube TradePort and has invested in new technology to increase capacity in various areas of the business.  

Teqal already actively uses recycled content in its packaging products, some of which are also biodegradable. The company’s biodegradable Reflections jar was launched in July last year, marking a first for cosmetics packaging produced in South Africa as it is 70% biodegradable and 100% recyclable. The challenge here is that biodegradable or compostable packaging needs to end up in the correct environment in order to biodegrade or compost. Conditions within home composters and in the open environment are very different compared to industrial composting plants and this affects the rate and extent of breakdown. The correct disposal and treatment of biodegradable, compostable and bio-based plastics are also crucial for these types of sustainable packaging solutions to be effective.

Enabling a Circular Economy

Plastics are a key material in modern life. They are versatile, light and can be produced at relatively low cost. In a circular economy, all plastics should be recycled into new plastics in the first instance. This is why Teqal has turned to Wildtrust to effectively contribute to enabling a circular economy, initially in Durban with the hope of growing the project’s reach further afield in KZN.

“As a company, we are trying to find ways to reduce out environmental footprint – and striving to be plastic neutral is certainly a big stride in that direction. Until the partnership with Wildtrust, this goal was not going to be easy to achieve,” explains Sean Kirkham, sales and marketing director of Teqal.

Rachel Kramer, Blue Port project manager, adds: “This agreement gives Wildoceans an opportunity to have sustainable finance streams which allow for progression within these projects, by increasing the teams’ operations in the port. They also allow for continuing long-term research and exploring different opportunities.”

A Vision for Sustainability

Sean says that consumers are becoming more educated about problems linked to plastic pollution and they are beginning to push brands, which in turn push suppliers to be more environmentally conscious.

“We are now leading the pack in driving the message of being waste neutral. Government has also played a part in putting legislation in place that lets producers and retail companies know that they are also responsible for the waste generated by the plastic that they sell,” he adds.

Renee Kirkham, CFO of Teqal, is equally passionate about the ‘plastic neutral’ partnership. “Plastic is highly recyclable and highly reusable,” she says. “If we can get to a point where we ensure plastic is reused and recycled, we can continue to reap the benefits of the solution it provides in packaging – but do it in a way that is sustainable. As a converter of plastic, it is important that we contribute to this initiative.”