Media releases

Greater participation is needed to make recycling worthwhile for all

12 August 2013

Recycling can be a great contributor to the South African economy with job creation opportunities and direct benefits to the environment.

However recycling rates are distressingly low among South African households and businesses. This is according to Managing Director of Mpact Recycling, John Hunt.

Hunt explains that paper consumed in people’s homes and offices represents the biggest opportunity to grow paper recycling in South Africa. Currently only 5 percent of all paper collected for recycling comes from households and 1 percent from community depots.

“Recycling participation rates range between 20 and 30 percent and such low rates threaten the viability of continued recycling collections,” says Hunt.

Mpact has had to terminate household collections in some areas in Gauteng where increasing transports costs and low rates of recycling combine to make the service uneconomical.

Furthermore these low rates of recycling have a direct impact on employment.

“People don’t realise that when they recycle, they are creating a future for others through job creation and direct benefits to the environment; this alone should be a great motivator for more households and businesses to participate in recycling programmes,” says Hunt.

Mpact’s recycling division currently has seven sites across the country and 42 buy-back centres where traders deliver waste for payment.

Mpact also buys from more than 90 independent dealers throughout the country.

“We have empowered over 40 entrepreneurial companies to facilitate the company’s collection strategies,” says Hunt.

Hunt suggests that a great way to start recycling is with paper.

“Recycling paper which includes cardboard, old newspapers, magazines, outdated directories or schoolbooks is a simple process that goes a long way to reducing the impact on landfill sites, creating employment and reusing items that are simple to sort and recycle from home,” says Hunt.

Businesses are also encouraged to join the broader community in paper recycling. “Mpact has different recycling programmes for businesses of all sizes,” concludes Hunt.

Fact Sheet – Step by step guide to help you start recycling from home or at your office

  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, Computer paper, Used photocopy paper, Windowless envelopes, Old books, Pale coloured paper (invoices, etc.), Newspapers, Magazines, Cardboard (flattened), Old telephone books and Yellow Pages directories Polystyrene or paper cups and plates, Yoghurt cartons, Sweet / chip wrappers, Blueprint paper, Organic material (such as old food and vegetables), Cigarette ends, Tissues and paper towels, Car

    Any bags which include a foiled lining on the inside, e.g. dog food bags 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 paper banks in place at many churches, 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 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 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 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.

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
  • Parow : 021 931 5106

Prepared by FTI Consulting on behalf of Mpact:

FTI Consulting – Strategic Communications

Kgomotso Moalusi 011 214 2413 / 076 941 2902 /
Courtney Chennells 011 214 2404 / 082 775 4743 /

Mpact Limited

Deborah Chapman | Communications Manager, Mpact
+27 (0) 11 994 5500 / +27 (0)76 650 4155 /

Notes to editors

Mpact is a leading southern African paper and plastics packaging group with revenues of R6.8bn in 2012. Mpact employs 3,790 people at 31 sites, of which 24 are manufacturing sites. Mpact earns approximately 10% of its sales outside of South Africa. It also has plants in Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Mpact has the number one market position in corrugated packaging, recycled-based cartonboard and containerboard, recovered paper collection, PET preforms, styrene and PET trays and plastic jumbo bins. These accounted for approximately 90% of its revenue in 2011.

Source: MPACT