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Separation at home boosts South Africa’s paper recycling rate

South Africa recovered almost 1.3 million tonnes of recyclable paper products, putting its paper recovery rate at 71.7%, according to the country’s paper recycling association, RecyclePaperZA.


South Africa has a target of a 70% recycling rate by 2020 and that figure was first surpassed in 2017.If baled, 1.3 million tonnes of paper and paper packaging would cover 166 rugby fields, fill 1 542 Olympic swimming pools. The weight is the equivalent of 214 000 elephants.

‘More importantly, the paper recovered in 2018 saved 3.855 million cubic metres of landfill space and ensured that the recovered fibre was made into new products that we use every day,’ says Anele Sololo, general manager of RecyclePaperZA.

Public and private initiatives

South Africa’s paper recycling success is the result of the efforts of citizens who separate their waste at home, work and school; industry initiatives and the so-called informal waste sector. ‘Recycling requires a collective effort – from retailers to the consumer,’ adds Sololo. ‘We can all play a small part in making sure that recyclable paper gets where it should: to the paper recycling mills across the country.’ More than 90% of this recovered paper is used for the production of new paper and packaging.

Schools are teaching kids about the animal kingdom while discussing the value of materials.

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