|Visitors on the PET-recycled boardwalk|
You could be forgiven if you thought the boardwalk at the Nature Seychelles’ run Sanctuary at Roche Caiman was made from wood. The 600 metre long boardwalk looks like wood but is made entirely from recycled PET bottles. The planks, trusses and beams are made in the UK and are guaranteed to last 40 years with little or no maintenance.
While most plastics can, in principle, be recycled, PET bottle recycling is more practical because of the high value of the PET resin and the almost exclusive use of PET for water and soft drink bottling. The main uses for recycled PET are polyester fiber, strapping, and non-food containers. Planks and poles such as the ones used by Nature Seychelles at the Sanctuary at Roche Caiman are also produced.
On the 14th of March, the Minister for Energy and Environment of Seychelles promulgated a new legislation which ensures that all beverage containers imported, manufactured, distributed, traded in or used shall be made of PET or glass and labelled by paper or PET film. The “Environment Protection (Beverage Containers and Labels) Regulations, S.I.27 of 2013, also states that the import, manufacture, trade and commercial distribution of PVC labels shall be prohibited for the purpose of labelling beverage containers. Plastic outer packaging used for the transportation of beverage containers now need to be made from PET film as well.
The Seychelles, a Small Island Developing State (SIDS) has a limited land area but as a medium developed country dependant on tourism produces a large amount of solid waste per capita. Although there are currently no facilities in Seychelles that can recycle the PET bottles they are collected for export.