The paper recycling sector in South Africa is thriving, thanks to the efforts of waste management providers, collectors and consumers. South Africa’s 2020 paper recycling target of 70% was met in 2017 – three years ahead of schedule after 1.3-million tonnes of paper, cardboard and liquid packaging were recycled.
These impressive recycling statistics are proof that the industry is growing and flourishing. However, separation at source is still the major factor that can influence the paper recycling volumes. Consumers and businesses need to continue to separate their paper-based waste from other materials in order to keep up these recycling statistics.
Separation at source can improve paper recycling rates
Improving on these figures is relatively easy if separation at source is done properly. “This is about you and me: people in their homes, people in their workplaces and at their schools putting in place measures that allow for efficient and effective separation at source,” says RecyclePaperZA general manager Anele Sololo.
Businesses can play their part by introducing more bins to offices. Simply having one bin for all waste items in the workplace will not encourage recycling. Having different bins for paper, plastic, metals and food waste items will allow employees to easily separate their waste. A study conducted in Australia revealed that paper recycling rose from 28% to 94% after separate paper bins were introduced into offices.
South Africans still have room to grow
Recycling relies on education and knowledge of what is recyclable and what is not. Currently, around 13% of South African households recycle properly; even fewer businesses recycle their waste. Not only do more households and businesses need to start recycling, but they also need to ensure that their waste is clean before placing it in recycling bins.
Clean waste items ensure that a recycling batch is not contaminated with food particles, dirt or impurities. This saves money and effort for recycling facilities and the taxpayers. The thriving paper recycling industry definitely has room for growth and improvement but South Africans can be proud of their collective efforts to meet paper recycling targets early.
Averda is a leading waste management provider with over 50 years of experience across three continents. Through growth, transformation and engagement, we strive to find new ways of managing waste while protecting the community and environment.
By pairing international expertise with local insights, we have secured our position as one of South Africa’s most respected providers of waste management and industrial cleaning services. We also operate in the recycling, pipe inspection, CCTV, infrastructure inspection, hydro-demolition, high-pressure water jetting and catalyst handling industries.
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