Plastic Fence Droppers – Using 100% recycled material for sustainable fencing

Submitted by: Kathryn Kasavel, Monday, October 28, 2013

<p>Zwarboschkraal Electric Wire Fencing Fixed to Black Plastic Droppers (Image source: Sakkie Pelser)</p>

Zwarboschkraal Electric Wire Fencing Fixed to Black Plastic Droppers (Image source: Sakkie Pelser)

Plastic Droppers, a fencing product made from 100% recycled material, has recently received a silver award in the South African Plastics Recycling Organisation (SAPRO) Best Recycled Product Awards. The product is owned by Sakkie Pelser who started manufacturing plastic fence droppers in 2009 due to the problems he had with the “rigidity of steel and wooden droppers at that time as well as the low quality of those products”. The purpose of a dropper is to support and keep the distance of wires evenly spaced and fixed between posts of a fence. The fence droppers created by Pelser are solid plastic poles that are designed with prominent, evenly spaced ridges to hold fence wire up more effectively.  

Plastic Dropper  (Image source: Sakki Pelser)

Pelser’s plastic fence droppers are CSIR and SABS tested and made from 100% recycled High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), which is sourced from chemical containers that previously contained pesticides and insecticides supplied to farms. Annabe Pretorius a spokesperson for SAPRO explains that the droppers are made from containers that “cannot be recycled into products that will be in contact with water, people or animals on a constant basis” so they make excellent base material for fence droppers, effectively taking the product back to the farms. Pelser adds, “we very carefully sourced our material from a wide variety of potential suppliers and after testing their materials, we chose only those suppliers whose material were up to the A+ standard we wanted to use.”

Reduced carbon footprint

Pelser indicates that one of the major benefits of the recycled droppers is a reduced carbon footprint. The recycled plastic fence droppers are a low carbon alternative to steel and wood fence droppers as the plastic that is used to make the droppers is sourced from plastic chemical containers that cannot be reused and therefore virgin material is not used in the manufacturing process.

Pelser states that because the plastic fence droppers are lightweight, the carbon emissions associated with transporting their product is less than their steel and wooden competitors. “HDPE is lighter than steel, and more droppers can therefore be fitted in each load, this significantly reduces fuel consumption by minimising the amount of delivery trips that have to be undertaken to and from the site,” says Pelser.

Safer

One of the greatest advantages of the plastic fence dropper according to Pelser is the safety aspects. Unlike steel fence droppers, plastic fence droppers do not conduct electricity, which eliminates the risk of an electric fence short circuit, says Pelser. Furthermore, the plastic droppers don’t absorb water and water doesn’t cling to the plastic which adds to its safety benefits when used for electrical fencing. The plastic fence droppers are also fire retardant and won’t easily melt when exposed to the heat direct from veld fires, adds Pelser.

Lightweight and pliable

Pelser’s plastic fence droppers are light weight and pliable making them safe to work with and able to absorb impact. This is especially important for game farmers as the use of plastic fence droppers “reduces injuries on livestock and game when they impact the fences due to its flexibility,” explains Pelser.  “The plastic memory of the chemical containers has been maintained in the droppers which allow the fence to recover itself when large animals like Zebra and Kudu jump against it, as the droppers won’t bend and kink as metal droppers would typically do,” elaborates Pretorius.

Economical

Another benefit of their plastic fence dropper over a wooden or steel product are the cost savings says Pelser, “farmers save at least 30% of their immediate fencing costs and in the long term, also save on the maintenance costs….these fence droppers are resistant to rust, insect damage and ultra violet light and these characteristics ensure further long term savings, due to the fact that minimal maintenance is required”. In addition Pelser adds that “recycled HDPE has no scrap yard value, which further reduces the risk of the fence being damaged as a result of theft.”

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Kathryn Kasavel