South Africans across the country are encouraged to participate in the annual Clean-Up and Recycle SA Week which takes place from 13 – 18 September 2021. Recycle Week is an annual event designed to celebrate and promote the benefits of recycling and creates opportunities for us all to implement positive change that will help protect our  planet.

Apart from raising awareness and supporting cleanup initiatives by donating refuse bags, gloves and other equipment needed, this year is also the 25th year that Plastics SA, the umbrella body representing the entire plastics industry, is coordinating South Africa’s participation in the International Coastal Clean- Up Day – the world’s  biggest volunteer effort for ocean health.

Clean-Up and Recycle SA Week has become a highlight on South Africa’s environmental calendar supported by all  the packaging streams in the country, encouraging citizens, corporates and municipalities to help remove all visible litter from neighbourhoods and streets, rivers, streams, beaches and oceans.

With the pandemic, we haven’t had much control on day-to-day events and with COVID-19 restrictions prohibiting large groups at public clean-ups and gatherings, the spirit of camaraderie, positivity and willingness to make a difference in our environment is what counts.

Recycling is something we can have control over.

Do your part – and let’s all keep recycling

Here are some easy recycling tips you can follow at home:

Keep paper-based products clean and dry by making a paper-only bin or box

  • Put it in an accessible place, preferably near your current rubbish bin. Space permitting, you may want to have smaller paper-only bins around the house – kitchen, bathroom (for cosmetic boxes and toilet rolls), garage, etc.

Know your recyclables

Recyclable paper products include:

  • Milk, beverage and food cartons (liquid board packaging)
  • Office paper (preferably not shredded), envelopes
  • Big brown cardboard boxes
  • Pizza boxes
  • Cereal boxes, cosmetic and medicine boxes, toilet roll cores
  • Books (if they can’t be donated or are obsolete)
  • Paper gift wrap
  • Paper cups
  • Magazines and brochures, including glossy varieties
  • Newspapers

Remember to remove any non-paper packaging (e.g., plastic windows) from the paper or cardboard.

Some paper products are not recyclable because of contamination, finishes – in the case of laminates and foils – or because we simply don’t have the appropriate processing facilities in South Africa – these include:

  • Used paper plates, disposable nappies, tissues and toilet paper
  • Wax-coated, foil-lined or laminated boxes (unless stipulated)
  • Used cement bags
  • Used dog food bags
  • Foil gift wrapping
  • Carbon paper
  • Laminated paper
  • Backing paper from adhesive labels

Examples of recyclable non-paper products include:

  • Plastic bottles or containers (Not plastic bags.)
  • Tin
  • Aluminium
  • Steel cans
  • Glass jars or bottles
  • Milk, beverage and food cartons (liquid board packaging)

Do something with your recycling

  • Support your neighbourhood waste collectors by leaving a separate bag of recyclables on rubbish day for them. This will save them from having to dig through your smelly bin or bags, and help them to earn a little more.
  • Support a local school or community centre if they collect paper for fundraising.

Make sure everyone in your home knows what recycling is and how your system works

  • Recycling is a team effort so ensure the family, your domestic helper, friends and visitors know that you recycle and how it happens in your home or office. If you are having people over, keep two bins outside – one for waste and another for recyclables. 

South Africa’s paper recycling rate is on the up

During 2020, South Africans recycled 1,1 million tonnes of paper and paper packaging, putting the country’s latest paper recovery rate at 73%, up from 68.5% in 2019. According to RecyclePaperZA, the paper recycling association, South Africa has kept 19 million tonnes of paper out of landfills over the past 15 years, enough to cover 3 456 soccer fields.

On the plastic front, the recycling rates for PET bottles, such as your fizzy drinks and water bottles, has improved over the years. Latest stats show 62% of all PET plastic beverage bottles produced in the country in 2019 were collected for recycling – up from 55% in 2016. South Africa is therefore ahead of international standards and is currently a recycling world-leader.

South Africa’s recycling infrastructure has developed to make it as easy as possible to #SeparateAtSource as certain recyclable materials can be grouped together. This is called “multi-recycling” and simply means separating all your recyclables from your general waste. For example, all your paper-based recyclables can go in one clear refuse bag, making recycling accessible and easy. The balance of your recyclables such as glass, plastic and cans can be placed in a separate bag, purely because they often carry liquid which can contaminate paper and cardboard.

The Novus Holdings Commitment to sustainable practices

As one of the largest printing and manufacturing operations in southern Africa, sustainable development is key to the Group’s business strategy. The business remains focused on driving effective solutions to address relevant environmental, social and economic challenges while delivering the highest quality products and services to customers.

As per the Novus Holdings Environmental Policy, the Group is committed to the following:

  • Meet or exceed all environmental regulations that relate to the Group.
  • Integrate environmental considerations into planning and decision-making by implementing effective environmental management systems.
  • Promote resource sustainability by encouraging the recycling and reusing of goods, implementing energy- efficient practices and reducing waste.
  • Minimise emissions through the selective acquisition of new, efficient equipment and the implementation of emission-reducing technology.
  • Encourage improved environmental performance amongst suppliers.
  • Raise environmental awareness amongst employees.

For more information on how sustainability is integrated into the business operations of Novus Holdings, refer to the Group’s 2021 Responsible Business Report available on the company website.

*Sources: www.thepaperstory.co.za, www.westerncape.gov.za, www.mpactrecycling.co.za