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Think before you throw this Global Recycling Day


Johannesburg – March 16, 2022 – Around 1.1 million tonnes of paper and paper packaging are recovered for recycling in South Africa every year. This accounts for just under 70% of paper products available for recovery in the country.

Over the past 15 years, more than 19 million tonnes of paper and paper packaging have been recovered and kept out of South African landfills, the bales of which would almost go around the Earth twice.

The country also boasts an average paper recovery rate of 70%, making paper the second-most recovered material in South Africa.

“This is no time to rest on our laurels as consumers of paper,” says Jane Molony, acting CEO of Fibre Circle, the producer responsibility organisation (PRO) for the paper and paper packaging sector.

“There is much  people can do to change their rubbish to recycling ratio with a little bit of thought and a few extra bins around the home to keep waste and recyclables separate.”

Separation-at-source – the first step in the greater recycling process – doesn’t have to start and stop in the kitchen. A variety of household paper products – especially packaging commonly located in the bathroom, office or even right at your front door – can be recycled into new paper products.

Fibre Circle shares top tips for new and old recyclers:

  1. Do a bin audit.
    • Count how many rubbish and recycling bins you have in your home.
    • Take note how much refuse goes out with the weekly municipal collection and how much you are diverting from landfill by recycling.
  2. Think about the paper products you are recycling.
    • Know your recyclables – from bedroom and bathroom to the kitchen sink
    • Cardboard boxes
    • Copy and printing paper, notebooks (minus wire binding and non-recyclable covers)
    • Egg cartons and take-away cup holders
    • Magazines
    • Milk or juice cartons
    • Newspapers
    • Paper cups (minus the lid – this made of polystyrene but can be recycled via other means)
    • Paper grocery bags and take-away food bags
    • Paper packaging from cereal, tea, sugar, pasta, doggy treats and other dry goods
    • Paperback books – you could donate old books to a library or community centre but for those that are worn, a new life awaits through recycling.
    • Pizza boxes
    • Tubing from kitchen towel rolls and toilet rolls
  3. Keep paper recycling clean and dry, and separate from wet waste and out of the rain.
  4. Support a waste collector, find a drop-off centre or collection programme.

Now that you’re in the know, think before you throw.