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Volkswagen Group Africa receives international honour for plastic recycling project

A project involving the recycling of plastic parts not used in the production process, has earned Volkswagen Group Africa’s plant in Kariega an international award.

The Challenge of the Brands competition, which received more than 140 entries in five categories from across the Volkswagen Group, awarded Plant Kariega top honours in its Zero Impact Factory environmental category.

The winning project has seen the Kariega plant divert 132 tons of plastic waste (equivalent in weight to approximately 105 Polo GTIs) from landfill since the project was initiated in 2023.

Forming part of the plant’s 2Y24 programme for Production and Logistics, the recycling process entails collecting discarded plastic parts such as grommets and plastic caps from engines and components, and then sorting and transporting these parts to local non-profit organisation Vistarus. At Vistarus, which provides shelter for impoverished and substance dependant individuals, the plastic parts are extruded into pellets that is then sold before being upcycled into new items such as crates. The income generated from recycling projects covers a large portion of Vistarus’s operating expenses and enables them to provide employment for the community.

The success of this project is only part of VWGA’s efforts to reduce landfill waste. The company’s waste reduction initiatives have resulted in a 14% reduction in landfill waste since 2021.

“On behalf of the Plant Kariega team, I would like to express our heartfelt gratitude for this award,” said Ulrich Schwabe, VWGA Production Director. “This recognition not only validates our work but also motivates us to continue supporting as well as finding new initiatives to contribute to the Volkswagen Group environmental strategy. As we strive to achieve a Zero Impact Factory in our production plant by 2030, it is essential that we demonstrate a similar commitment to the community, and this particular project allows us to have a direct impact on the lives of those in need in our community.”

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