Media releases

Fact sheet for Mpact’s National Clean-Up Week campaign, 16 - 21 September 2013

16 September 2013

Recycling in South Africa:

  • According to the Paper Recycling Association of South Africa (PRASA), 1,151,315 tons of paper was recovered in the country in 2012, up 73,674 tons from 2011.
  • The paper recovered in 2012 equates to 57.3% of paper that can be collected and recycled (2011: 58.2%). The slight dip in the percentage recovered can be attributed to an overall increase of paper and paperboard consumption.
  • In the paper industry, 65% of recovered paper is used as an alternative raw material in the manufacturing process.
  • In 2012 South Africa consumed 2.6 million tonnes of paper, including newsprint, printing and writing grades, corrugated materials, board and tissue.
  • Paper can be recycled up to seven times before the fibres start to degrade.
  • Recycling helps to reduce pollution and litter, clearing the way towards a healthier, greener and cleaner society.
  • Recycling helps local municipalities to save money by transporting less waste to landfill sites.
  • One tonne of paper equates to three cubic metres of landfill space.
  • Recycling plays a big part in job creation and poverty alleviation.
  • By recycling your paper, you increase the earning potential for waste collectors. For many this is their only source of income.

South Africa’s paper and pulp industry:

  • South Africa is among the world’s most sustainable and responsible pulp and paper producers.
  • South Africa has the highest level of international certification for its plantations in the world with over 80% certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
  • Selling power to South Africa’s electricity grid avoids the use of 1.4 million tonnes of fossil fuel (coal, oil, gas) every year.
  • Some 2.4 million tonnes of paper was manufactured locally, 864,000 tonnes imported and 605,000 tonnes exported.
  • In South Africa, paper is NOT made from the wood of rainforests and indigenous trees.

Step-by-step guide for recycling at home or at work:

1. Separate your paper

Here are some useful “do’s” and “don’ts” to help you remember when separating your recycling products:

Do’s Don’ts
Old memos / letters Polystyrene or paper cups and plates
Computer paper Yoghurt cartons
Used photocopy paper Sweet / chip wrappers
Windowless envelopes Blueprint paper
Old books Organic material (such as old food and vegetables)
Newspapers Cigarette ends
Magazines Tissues and paper towels
Cardboard (flattened) Any bags which include a foiled lining on the inside, e.g. dog food bags
Old telephone books and Yellow Pages Post-it notes (these are not recyclable because of the glues used to make them)
  Wax paper or waxed cartons (such as frozen fish boxes on paper)

2. The next is to identify what to do with your collected paper:

  1. Paper banks and depots: There are Mpact Recycling paper banks in place at many schools, old age homes, community centres and dump sites. Choose a paper bank closest to you. Depots can also be found at many shopping centres, and dump sites. Call an Mpact branch near you to find out where your closest depot is.
  2. Kerbside collections: Mpact Recycling operates kerbside collections in some areas of both Johannesburg and Pretoria. Households are provided with orange Ronnie Recycler bags for paper recycling. This is the easiest, most efficient way to recycling your paper. This is a free service. Call 0800 022 112 to check if your neighbourhood is listed for collections.
  3. Schools: You can find Mpact Recycling paper banks at most schools. For schools that want to promote awareness about recycling, please contact 0800 022 112 to get more details.
  4. Offices: Mpact Recycling offers different programmes for offices and businesses. Contact your nearest Mpact Recycling branch to find out how this works and how your office can get involved.

Mpact Recycling

  • Mpact is the largest paper recycler in South Africa, collecting approximately 457 000 tonnes of waste paper per annum, which amounts to 45% of all waste paper recycled in the country.
  • Mpact has operations in Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, but operates country-wide through a network of dealers and supplies.
  • The bulk of the recycled paper is taken to one of Mpact Recycling’s processing plants, where it is sorted, graded and then baled to maximise payload and travel efficiency.
  • In addition, the recovered paper dealers in smaller centres can either sell sorted and baled recycled material to the main depots or deliver the loads directly to the Mpact paper mills.
  • Collection is from pre-consumer and post-consumer sources.
  • Pre-consumer sources include printers, publishers and converters.
  • Post-consumer sources are defined as household and small business sources. These are collected by the paper pickup schemes that include kerbside, churches, schools, small businesses and many more.
  • Household recycling accounts for 5% of all paper collection.
  • Only 1% of all paper collected comes from community depots.
  • Recycling participation rates: 20 – 30%.
  • Mpact’s recycling division currently has seven sites across the country and 42 buy-back centres where traders deliver waste for payment.
  • Mpact buys from more than 90 independent dealers throughout the country.
  • Mpact has empowered over 40 entrepreneurial companies to facilitate collections.

Contact details:

To find out about collection initiatives in your neighbourhood, from home or at community depots, please call 0800 022 112 or email


  • Tulisa Park : 011 538 8600
  • Midrand : 011 315 8450
  • Pretoria West : 012 386 1383
  • Springs : 011 360 4460


  • Richards Bay: 035 751 1722
  • Durban: 031 274 6600

Western Cape

  • Parow: 021 931 5106

Source: Mpact