PetrecoZim (Pvt) Limited is an initiative that was started by major companies within the beverage and allied industries in Zimbabwe to address environmental pollution related to PET bottles. This was in line with concerns that were flagged by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA). The disposal of post consumer polyethylene terephthalate (PCPET) bottles had become a huge problem in the country due to lack of any visible recovery and recycling effort. Serious concerns were therefore raised by various environmental stakeholders including EMA, prompting beverage companies to take the initiative at their expense to address the problem in a visible and significant way. The companies behind this initiative includes Delta Beverages (Pvt) Ltd, MegaPak Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd, Dairibord Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd, Schweppes Zimbabwe Ltd, Mutare Bottling Company (Pvt) Ltd, Tanganda Tea Company Ltd, Coca-Cola Central Africa (Pvt) Ltd and Martindale Trading (pvt) Ltd t/a Lyons Maid. These companies use PET packaging in their operations in one way or another as converters, bottlers or brand owners and therefore felt a compelling need to participate to fulfill their extended producer responsibility obligations.   The PetrecoZim (Pvt) Ltd initiative is therefore a collaborative strategic intervention by the beverage industry and PET value chain in Zimbabwe to reduce environmental pollution but also to demonstrate commitment to sustainable business practices. The industry players realized that it is more prudent to achieve industry self regulation than to comply with gazzetted legislation. As a result the door is still open for other players in the PET value chain including retailers, converters, importers and other bottlers and brand owners to participate so that our current efforts are not undermined. This is in sync with global best practices as PET recycling initiatives in most countries are typically inclusive and industry funded.

This collective effort by beverage companies and PET value chain players culminated in the signing of the MOU on 17 August 2011 and subsequent incorporation of Petrecozim on 13 October 2011. The decision to register PetrecoZim as a private company as opposed to nonprofit organisation was a deliberate position to enforce and inculcate a culture of high performance and accountability. The mandate of PetrecoZim is to address environmental problems around PCPET bottles through sustainable collection and recycling. PetrecoZim focuses on PET bottles only within the broader waste management matrix. By reducing the volume of post consumer PET in the waste stream, PetrecoZim compliments recycling efforts in other waste streams and contribute to the general upkeep of the environment. The specific activities of PetrecoZim entail the recovery and processing of recyclable PET (rPET) bottles to produce flake which is used in various end user applications but mainly fibre. To that end the company has invested in a 500kgs/ hour PET recycling plant which converts post consumer PET bottles into flake, which is a base raw material in polyster fibre industry. This is a huge and thriving industry globally which has registered significant success in South East Asia, mainly China. Petrecozim (Pvt) Ltd is therefore participating in global polyster fibre value chain by converting waste PET into an export quality raw material. However our long term aspiration is to develop domestic demand for PET bottles or flake through supporting value addition efforts in downstream applications. Our view is that it is more sustainable to use the processed material locally than exporting as the export model is prone to international market volatility and the huge shipping and transportation costs translate to significant loss of money by recyclers.