Afrox has come up with an innovative way to recycle expired breathing bags from its AfroxPac 35 Self-Contained Self Rescuers (SCSRs) by “upcycling” these bags into children’s paint aprons, chair bags and library book protectors.
A SCSR is a self-contained, escape-type breathing apparatus, carried at all times by underground mine workers on their persons for use in an emergency that potentially threatens the air quality underground. Once activated, the SCSR produces breathable oxygen from potassium superoxide for a period of about 30 minutes, allowing the miner enough time to move to a place of safety. Because the oxygen is generated from a chemical reaction, there is no need to carry cylinders of compressed air, making the devices relatively compact and light.
AfroxPacs comprise more than 70% of the South African self-rescuer market and are represented in significant quantities across virtually all the hard-rock underground mining groups. Regulations require that self-contained self-rescuers may only be deployed for ten years, after which they must be removed from service and disposed of, whether or not they have been used.
Emerging from the latest ten-year cycle, Afrox received thousands of expired breathing bags, they are manufactured from a plastic coated fabric with rubber fittings thus prompting Afrox to explore innovative ways to recycle these bags, rather than dispose of them in a landfill for hazardous materials. The self-rescuers’ metal and chemical components are used in scrap metal recycling and fertiliser production, respectively, but the plastic and rubber components have posed more of a challenge.
“These bags are part of a system that saves lives and we were determined not to see them damage the planet once they reach the end of their operational life,” says Peter Rowlands, Business Manager of Afrox’s Self-Rescue Division. “Our research led us to an innovative eco product company called IAMGREEN that specialises in re-using, recycling and upcycling all manner of materials.
“In consultation with this company we came up with the concept of producing the aprons, chair bags and library book protectors. The first production run of these items will be donated to the children attending crèches currently benefitting from Afrox’s Corporate Social Investment initiatives, whether through gas product donations or through our Corporate Volunteering programme.”
“This is an example of Afrox’s new approach of ‘cradle to grave’ product stewardship that will make Afrox unique in this product segment. It sets us apart from those that regard Africa as a dumping ground’; Nazmi Adams, Head of Hardgoods.
Afrox supports more than 30 crèches and other non-profit organisations by donating LPG for cooking. This assists the organisations by making them more self-sufficient and takes them out of the national electricity grid. Funds that would go towards the purchasing of energy for cooking can now be channelled towards other day to day expenses. Afrox also provides these beneficiaries with training on the safe handling of LPG.
Issued by: Serendipity Events, Promotions & Exhibitions
On behalf of: Afrox
Editorial contact: Loll Thomson (011) 467 2133
Mail to: loll@
Client contact: Nazmi Adams
Date: 1 October 2013