Can’t repeat this enough, so here it is: think before you throw
South Africans might be astounded at the number of common household materials that are recyclable
National recycling association RecyclePaperZA on Global Recycling Day on Monday called on South Africans to take a moment and think about what they do with their rubbish. “With a little bit of thought and a few extra bins or containers, South Africans can change their rubbish to recycling ratio significantly,” said RecyclePaperZA general manager Anele Sololo.
According to a 2018 report by Statistics SA, 90% of about 59 million metric tons of general waste produced in 2011 ended up in landfills, while only 10% was recycled.
“Take a moment to count how many rubbish bins you have in your home. What about recycling bins? Think about how much refuse goes out with the weekly municipal collection and how much you are diverting from landfill by recycling,” Sololo said.
According to RecyclePaperZA, separation at the source is the first step in the greater recycling process.
“It doesn’t have to start and stop in the kitchen. A variety of household paper products – especially packaging commonly found in the bathroom, office or right at your front door – can be recycled into new paper products,” Sololo said.
The next steps are the collection or drop-off of recyclables.
Paper is sorted into different categories – white paper, magazines, newspapers, cardboard, liquid board packaging – and then taken to a paper mill to be made into new paper and packaging products.
Sololo suggested placing recycling bins in common areas at home.
“At the front door, in your home office, bathrooms and the kitchen are all great places,” said Sololo.
Know your recyclables – from the bathroom to the kitchen sink Bathroom: Cardboard tubing from the toilet paper roll
Paper packaging used for toiletries such as toothpaste, cosmetics or tissues
Boxes used for over-the-counter medicine Office: Paper cups
Copy and printing paper, notebooks
Professional journals and trade magazines
Paperback books – you could donate old books to a library or community centre, but for those who are worn, a new life awaits through recycling The front door: Post – if you still get any, including envelopes, postcards and advertising mail
Cardboard boxes from your online shopping Kitchen: Boxes from cereal, biscuits, tea, sugar, pasta, doggy treats and other dry goods
Milk or juice cartons
Pizza boxes and other clean takeaway packaging
Egg cartons and takeaway cup holders
Paper shopping bags from retail stores or restaurants
Tubing from kitchen towel rolls