Recycling Holidays landfill Paper
Photo Credit: iStock

3.9 million cubic metres of paper was kept out of South African landfill, saving space the size of 166 rugby fields or weighing as much as 214,208 elephants.


Johannesburg, South Africa – In 2018, South Africa recovered 1.285 million tonnes of recyclable paper products, putting the country’s paper recovery rate at 71.7%. This is according to Anele Sololo, general manager of the country’s paper recycling association, RecyclePaperZA, who adds that this rate is well above the global average of 59.3%.

If baled, 1.285 million tonnes of paper and paper packaging would:

  • Cover 166 rugby fields
  • Fill 1 542 Olympic swimming pools
  • Weigh the equivalent of 214 208 adult African 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 Sololo. More than 90% of this recovered paper is used for the local beneficiation of new paper packaging and tissue.

South Africa’s paper recycling success is thanks to the efforts of citizens who separate their waste at home, work and school, industry initiatives and our informal waste sector. “Recycling requires a collective effort – from retailers to the consumer. 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,” says Sololo.

Get into a recycling rhythm

With National Recycling Day taking place on Friday, September 20th, RecyclePaperZA wants to help you get into recycling rhythm.

Keep it clean and dry

  • Empty paper-based packaging such as beverage cartons and paper cups of the dregs. (Replace the cap on beverage cartons – these are recycled to make wheelie bins! Lids from paper cups can be recycled with your plastics – they are made from high-density polystyrene)
  • Remove any remaining food and non-paper items from your paper packaging. This includes the inner plastic bag from your cereal box.

Keep it separate

  • Have a separate container for your paper recycling – in your kitchen, bathroom and office. Make it easy for yourself and the family!

Keep in the system

Your used paper products will go into the making of new items such as newspaper, various types of cardboard packaging, paper bags and egg boxes. Help it get to a paper mill by finding out what you can do with your paper recycling.

  • Look out for recycling points at local shopping centres and garden refuse sites.
  • Check if your area is serviced by a collection programme.
  • Support a local recycling collector – they earn money for clean recyclables. Find out what else he or she collects, such as plastic or cans.
  • Support a school or community centre if they have a recycling initiative for fundraising.
  • Contact one of RecyclePaperZA’s members

These websites are also helpful resources:

My Waste and Treevolution have useful guides for setting up a recycling habit in your home.

Sources: Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa – Supplied
Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments or follow GoodThingsGuy on Facebook & Twitter to keep up to date with good news as it happens or share your good news with us by clicking here
Click the link below to listen to the Good Things Guy Podcast, with Brent Lindeque – South Africa’s very own Good Things Guy. He’s on a mission to change what the world pays attention to, and he truly believes that there’s good news all around us. In the Good Things Guy podcast, you’ll meet these everyday heroes & hear their incredible stories:
Or watch an episode of Good Things TV below, a show created to offer South Africans balance in a world with what feels like constant bad news. We’re here to remind you that there are still so many good things happening in South Africa & we’ll hopefully leave you feeling a little more proudly South African. 

Facebook Comments

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *