In 2018, South Africa recovered 1.285 million tonnes of recyclable paper products, putting the country’s paper recovery rate at 71.7%. This is according to Anele Sololo, general manager of the country’s paper recycling association, RecyclePaperZA, who adds that this rate is well above the global average of 59.3%.
If baled, 1.285 million tonnes of paper and paper packaging would:
- Cover 166 rugby fields
- Fill 1 542 Olympic swimming pools
- Weigh the equivalent of 214 208 adult African elephants.
“More importantly, the paper recovered in 2018 saved 3.855 million cubic metres of landfill space and ensured that the recovered fibre was made into new products that we use every day,” says Sololo. More than 90% of this recovered paper is used for the local beneficiation of new paper packaging and tissue.
South Africa’s paper recycling success is thanks to the efforts of citizens who separate their waste at home, work and school, industry initiatives and our informal waste sector. “Recycling requires a collective effort – from retailers to the consumer. We can all play a small part in making sure that recyclable paper gets where it should: to the paper recycling mills across the country,” says Sololo.
Get into a recycling rhythm
With National Recycling Day taking place on Friday, September 20th, RecyclePaperZA wants to help you get into recycling rhythm.
Keep it clean and dry
- Empty paper-based packaging such as beverage cartons and paper cups of the dregs. (Replace the cap on beverage cartons – these are recycled to make wheelie bins! Lids from paper cups can be recycled with your plastics – they are made from high density polystyrene)
- Remove any remaining food and non-paper items from your paper packaging. This includes the inner plastic bag from your cereal box.
Keep it separate
- Have a separate container for your paper recycling – in your kitchen, bathroom and office. Make it easy for yourself and the family!
Keep in the system
Your used paper products will go into the making of new items such as newspaper, various types of cardboard packaging, paper bags and egg boxes. Help it get to a paper mill by finding out what you can do with your paper recycling.
- Look out for recycling points at local shopping centres and garden refuse sites.
- Check if your area is serviced by a collection programme.
- Support a local recycling collector – they earn money for clean recyclables. Find out what else he or she collects, such as plastic or cans.
- Support a school or community centre if they have a recycling initiative for fundraising.
- Contact one of RecyclePaperZA’s members
These websites are also helpful resources: