Recycle Week
Photo Credit: Fibre Cycle - Supplied

It is officially Clean-Up and Recycle Week 2022 and these are all the exciting days to look forward to celebrating this week.


South Africa (12 September 2022) – Today marks the start of Clean-Up and Recycle Week 2022 in South Africa. The week is action-packed with events all dedicated to cleaning our environment.

The week also includes River Clean-Up Day which takes place on Wednesday, 14 September, National Recycling Day which takes place this Friday, 16 September, and the International Coastal Clean-Up and World Clean-up Days both falling on Saturday, 17 September that unites 180 countries across the world for a cleaner planet.

In honour of Clean-Up and Recycle Week 2022, Fibre Circle, the producer responsibility organisation for the paper and paper packaging sector, calls on businesses and consumers to practise better separation at source, and turn “trash into treasure”.

In 2021, South Africans helped to recycle 1.15 million tonnes of paper and paper packaging. To put this figure into perspective: the bales of paper recovered in 2021 would stretch a distance of 1,357km if the bales were laid end to end – that’s Johannesburg to Cape Town!

Did you know: Since 2003, the South African paper industry has diverted more than 20 million tonnes of paper and paper packaging from landfill. This has saved 62 million cubic metres of landfill space. If baled, the amount of paper would go around the equator 1.5 times.

While South Africa has a thriving paper recycling economy, there is much more than can be done at a household, school and business level to turn waste into wealth, especially for informal waste collectors and small recycling businesses.

Recyclables have a value – for the collectors, it is monetary. For paper, packaging and tissue manufacturers, old paper products are the ingredients for new products.

There are many products that we touch or use every day that need to stay out of the rubbish bin and be kept separate for recycling. This is called separation-at-source – by keeping paper and paper packaging clean and dry, we maximise its potential for re-use and divert it from landfills.

Separation-at-source starts with the small act of putting a paper-only bin or box in the kitchen, and filling it with your paper recycling. One tonne of recovered paper will save three cubic metres of landfill space – which is fast becoming scarce.

Be kind to both the planet and waste collectors, and put a bag of your clean recyclables next to your bin on rubbish day. This will save collectors a lot of time and is more hygienic for them. It is always a good idea to check with your local collector what he or she collects, as they won’t take recyclables that they cannot sell to a buy-back centre.

Common paper recyclables collected by waste collectors:

  • Cardboard boxes
  • Office paper
  • Dry food packaging such as cereal boxes
  • Pizza boxes and burger boxes – remove as much as food residue as possible
  • Toilet roll cores
  • Grocery delivery bags and take-away bags
  • Milk and juice cartons (depending on the area)
  • Paper-based soft drink and coffee cups (depending on the area)

Some paper items might be recyclable but not taken by waste collectors – you can take these to a local recycling centre. Apart from paper items, many collectors will take PET cold drink bottles, fabric softener bottles, tins and cans.

Please do not add these to recycling:

  • Food waste
  • Nappies
  • Tissues and toilet paper, paper towel
  • Very dirty paper such as paper plates
  • Laminated office paper

You can see a breakdown of the important days happening in South Africa this week below. You can find out how to get involved here.

Sources: Fibre Circle – Supplied
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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