The Department of Environmental Affairs recently released shocking stats that more than 17 million tons of waste were disposed of across 120 landfills in 2017.
The Glass Recycling Company looked at seven key factors that impact recycling successes in South Africa.
Below are seven factors that will continue playing a successful role in recycling:
- Currently South Africa does not have punitive mandatory legislation in place which makes separation of recyclables at source, (where recyclable material which includes glass, paper, metal and certain plastics is separated from the waste stream) in homes, offices, restaurants and bars. Mandatory separation at source in SA will ensure greater recycling success in years to come.
- In many developing countries like ours, an informal ‘collector market’ has evolved. Recyclables are collected by individuals in order to generate a source of income. This includes individuals who both collectively or independently retrieve recyclables from home or business waste and sell these recyclables to buy back centres.
- These are community-based multi-recycling centres that buy recyclable waste such as paper, plastic, cans and glass from collectors and then sell it on to packaging manufacturers.
- Approximately 50 000 South Africans earn an informal source of income from collecting waste glass and selling this valuable packaging to entrepreneurial buy-back centres.
- South Africa has one of the most efficient returnable bottle systems in the world spearheaded by our beer, wine and spirit manufacturers.
- These returnable glass bottles are sent back to the beverage manufacturers to be sterilised, inspected and refilled, making each glass bottle achieve numerous trips.
- A carbon-friendly trend is closed-loop recycling. Glass, for example, fully meets the formal definition of a Closed Loop System, i.e. bottle-to bottle recycling – whereby material is recycled into the same product (i.e. a bottle becomes a new bottle or jar).
- Recycling glass has huge environmental benefits; it saves landfill space, saves raw materials, lessens demand for energy, and reduces CO2 emissions. As a result, the maximum environmental benefits are achieved in South Africa.
- Manufacturers are certainly assisting in diverting waste from landfill. Consol Glass and Nampak Glass have both invested significantly in the development of high-level cullet processing plants; these include the presence of advanced technology meaning that consumers do not need to sort glass into its three primary colours (brown, green or clear) as this is done at the processing plants by means of optical sorting.
- With the future of our country in the hands of our youth, it is vital to build enthusiasm amongst the youth regarding recycling and green behaviours. Many brands are trying to encourage this, however, there is certainly space to do more. Recycling brands often run campaigns and competitions to encourage recycling in schools.
- As South Africans are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious and responsible, the demand for recycling points has increased. The Glass Recycling Company now has more than 4 000 glass banks located nationally which makes it easier for the public to recycle their glass.
With the global paper consumption set to rise from the current 400 million tonnes in the next five years, there is no better time to start recycling.
According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), paper consumption will grow to between 450 million and 500 million tonnes by 2020.
The amount of paper being recycled in South Africa has increased by over a third in the past decade and is expected to reach 63% by 2017, according to statistics released by the Paper Recycling Association of South Africa.
Businesses and organisations can make a significant difference to the environment by simply recycling documents and printing or packaging materials, says Dorota Boltman-Malone, divisional director of a local paper collection and recycling service.
The 2014 Metrofile Information and Records Management Trends Index found that 26% of local organisations do not practice or promote paper recycling initiatives.
Organisations that do not have in-house recycling stations can approach recycling service providers to implement these practices, Boltman-Malone says.
She adds that industrialised paper wastage use up unnecessary landfill which accounts in total for about 35% of global municipal landfill space.
“As a result, South African businesses must realise the vast environmental and business benefits of recycling, as paper consumption shows no signs of decreasing anytime soon.”
Unwanted paper documents, magazines, books, newspapers and cardboard boxes are all ideal for recycling, she says.
Once materials are gathered in recycling stations, stock is collected and processed into different grades, thereafter used as a secondary fibre during the production of new tissue paper and packaging materials.
“No matter how big an organisation is, everyone uses paper materials and this means that there is an opportunity to make a difference in trying to save the environment for the generations to come. Paper that has been used, is not a waste any longer, if recycled it becomes a resource,” she says
Source: News 24
Attend the Vision Zero Waste Seminar by booking your seat here
“That is what’s missing in South Africa,” she says. “In Holland, due to the lack of space, recycling is a necessity. We can’t do without it. I remember how we used to go to the recycling depot as kids to trade in our newspapers for cash. We grew up being recycling-conscious.”
It’s not the same in South Africa. “Here space isn’t an issue, so people simply dig a hole and that becomes their new dumping site.” Vuyk’s company collects 100 tons of recyclable cardboard and 10 tonnes each of plastic and paper every month – an indication that Newcastlers are keen on recycling. But South Africans in general still have a long way to go.
“It’s all about making a conscious choice to create less waste and dispose of recyclable waste in the right way. If every person, in every household can commit to this, we will soon have a cleaner society – and save on resources,” says Vuyk.
Recycled material is an excellent fibre resource for the manufacturing of new products. The cardboard waste from Sappi’s network of agents re-enters the manufacturing cycle to produce containerboard for the packaging industry. Sappi Cape Kraft Mill in the Western Cape, for example, uses 100% recycled fibre in its production of linerboard and fluting medium. The mill uses approximately 67,000 tons of waste paper a year. Sappi‘s Enstra Mill in Gauteng also uses recycled paper in the making of linerboard, while the Tugela (KwaZulu-Natal) and Ngodwana Mills (Mpumalanga) use a percentage of paper waste in its production processes.
But much more waste could re-enter the production chain across a number of industries, including paper, glass, plastic, aluminium, ink and toner cartridges and computer consumables. All it takes is consumers who are passionate about recycling.