Nearly 1,1 million tonnes of paper were collected for recycling in 2014. This amount of paper – enough to fill 1,276 Olympic-sized swimming pools – saved 3.2 million cubic metres of landfill space. Yet only 5% of South African households recycle their paper and many claim that they don’t know how or where to recycle.
Key to improving paper recovery is separation at source – this means separating your recyclable paper from general rubbish. The “source” can be in your home, at the office, at school or at any big or small business.
“Paper is not waste but a valuable source of fibre used for the production of corrugated boxes and board, newspapers, tissue products, kitchen and industrial paper towelling, cereal boxes, soap cartons and moulded paper products such as egg boxes,” explains Ursula Henneberry, operations director for the Paper Recycling Association of South Africa (PRASA).
Top tips for paper recycling
- Invest in paper-only bins/boxes that will keep paper clean and dry and separate from wet waste to maintain the quality of the paper/cardboard.
- Enrol for Mpact’s kerbside collection programme http://www.mpactrecycling.co.za/our-programmes/household
- Go to mywaste.co.za for your local collection programme or drop-off point.
- Look out for igloo-shaped paper banks at places of worship and schools. Many of them earn money from the paper collected.
- Partner with an informal waste collector who can collect from you on their weekly rounds.
- If you want to recycle other items, put recyclables in separate bags – paper and cardboard in one, and other recyclables (glass, plastic, cans) in another.
- Make sure family, friends and visitors are aware that you recycle.
- Magazines and brochures including glossy varieties
- Office and shredded paper; envelopes
- Cardboard of any kind – dry food, cosmetic and medicine boxes; toilet roll cores; packing cartons
- Paper giftwrap
- Milk, beverage and food cartons (Tetra Pak/SIG Combibloc cartons)
- Used paper plates, disposable nappies, tissues and toilet paper
- Wax-coated, foil-lined or laminated boxes
- Used cement bags and dog food bags
- Foil gift wrapping, carbon and laminated paper