This Local SA Turns Tons of Plastic Waste Into Eco-Friendly Clothespins

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The Increda ankle. Picture provided.

  • A local South African company has found a way to turn unnecessary plastic waste into a multipurpose clothespin.
  • Although their aptly named Increda Clothespin looks nothing like a clothespin, it can certainly hang your clothes to dry and do so much more.
  • Made from 100% locally sourced recycled plastic, the company is a a far cry from the garage operation they started out with, now making around 800,000 stakes a month.
  • For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

A local South African company is tackling the clothespin industry one clothesline at a time by turning unnecessary plastic waste into a multipurpose clothespin.

They call it the Increda-stake and although it looks nothing like a normal clothespin, its inventor Brett Potgieter says he can handle the job better than them. They are made from 100% locally sourced recycled plastic and are more durable than normal pegs. Plus, they can be used for more than clothing, from camping to gardening and even to keep your pot from overboiling by hanging it on the side.

Picture provided.

Brett Potgieter, Increda-peg inventor. Picture provided.

Key to its success is a design that doesn’t need a metal spring, typically seen in most clothespins, and makes their local manufacture uncompetitive with Chinese mass-producers.

Picture provided.

The Increda ankle. Picture provided.

It was the light bulb moment Potgieter found on a Saturday afternoon watching rugby from his home in Pretoria.

“I couldn’t believe something like this didn’t exist. I stood up and said ‘I’m going to make one right away’. I started waltzing around the house to see what I could get away with.

Which was correct when he turned to the kitchen and came across his wife’s favorite Tupperware, the only plastic in the house he thought he’d be able to handle the design.

“And I knew I was going to be in trouble, but I could see it was the only thing that could work, so I went for it. We’re a family of five. I did a lot of washing and I was always wondered why there was never a hook. Because you had to hang up your underwear afterwards. And I thought that could save a lot of time.

Picture provided.

The Increda-peg can be used for a variety of things including gardening. Picture provided.

With this humble beginning in their home of Pretoria, the Increda-peg was born. Months later and a sacrificed Tupperware later, the business is a far cry from the garage operation it once was. Potgieter says they make about 800,000 pegs a month.

“Fortunately, [the peg] worked well with recycled plastic. Many other products must use virgin material to retain the properties of plastic in order to function. Black, black color is part of the design. It draws in the sun’s energy and remains flexible. And we guess it could probably last 10 years,” he says.

Potgieter, 57, who started out as a dental technician, says he’s always tinkered with inventions. An invention, a product designed to help you hang picture frames, taught him a valuable lesson in the patent business.

“The thing I learned was that it didn’t look like a hook to hang a picture. Everyone walked past in the hardware store, and no one knew what it was. I realized how much money it costs to market something. Retail is very, very expensive when it comes to purchasing shelf space. As soon as this product no longer moves, you must remove it.

Picture provided.

The Increda ankle. Picture provided.

Fast forward to the Increda-peg and it was the same scenario. They had a product, but the Increda clamp was nothing like a clothespin.

“People had no idea what they were watching until they saw a demonstration.”

Instead of trying to sell the product in stores, Potgieter, along with his wife and son, began promoting the product at flea markets around Gauteng. But, just as the business was beginning to gain momentum, the Covid-19 pandemic stalled. As with most small business owners, the massive disruptions have brought their small business to a halt.

Picture provided.

The Increda-peg can be used for a variety of things, including holding your cables. Picture provided.

As they desperately tried to move their business online, it was one nurse’s one action that saved them.

“We had a bit of luck with the confinement. A nurse used an Increda peg to hold her surgical mask behind her head rather than around her ears. With that, we were able to get a license to be able to distribute as a medical supplier and we started giving lots of pegs to hospitals for the nurses that were working. This allowed us to continue to manufacture and distribute during the lockdown. »

From its Silvertondale factory in Pretoria, the company now pumps thousands of pegs a day. Their biggest market is their online sales, with most sales heading to Cape Town. They say they recycle an average of 1 ton of plastic each month, of which 20 tons have already been turned into stakes since the start of the business.

“My family says I invent these things because I’m lazy…because lazy people become inventors, because they’re always looking for the shortcut.”

Surely a company decides to put its competitors dry.

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