The City of Johannesburg has announced that household recycling will be mandatory from 1 July 2018. This is an effort to curb pollution and protect the environment which will roll out in different phases.
This ‘separation at source’ initiative will require all households in the metro to separate certain recyclable waste items before they are collected by waste management providers.
Residents need to change their habits
The City of Johannesburg released a media statement on Friday, 8 June stating that the biggest challenge they face is changing human behaviour and getting people to understand how they impact the environment by the way they dispose of plastic waste.
Although recycling paper and plastic in homes will be compulsory, the municipality has not put any penalties in place for non-compliance. Warning letters will be issued to residents who don’t participate.
“With the community’s involvement, I’m positive this challenge will be effectively dealt with,” says Member of the Mayoral Committee for Environment and Infrastructure Services, councillor Nico de Jager. He urges South Africans to refuse what you can’t reuse.
Public and private organisations join the fight
This announcement comes at the same time as two of South Africa’s supermarkets announce their plans to ditch plastic. Woolworths and Pick n Pay have both said that they will phase out plastic shopping bags and use recyclable plastics for all of their products and in-store items.
Similarly, the minister of environmental affairs, Edna Molewa, announced that her department will be seeking to update legislation and phase out harmful plastic products such as straws.
Illegal dumping and littering in Johannesburg costs the taxpayers around R60 million a year. The municipality is working with waste management providers to eradicate illegal dumping sites in the city, totalling nearly 2000 identified spots.
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