Media releases

How to make something from nothing

04 September 2014

Now's the time to get into recycling, says Mpact

Recycling is just about the only way we know to turn something seemingly worth nothing into something of substantial value in terms of jobs, economic growth and, of course, the environment.

This is the view of John Hunt, MD of Mpact Recycling, part of the paper and plastic packaging group Mpact. When we collect thousands of tons of waste paper and plastic, that material now has a value and a price per ton. This means we're able to create jobs for people who collect and transport the waste material, says Hunt.

With National Clean-up and Recycle Week running from 16 to 21 September, Hunt says this is a good time for consumers large and small to get into recycling.

Spring is here and this is the traditional time for doing a clean out and getting ourselves set to have a great summer. Sorting your recyclables is an activity that everyone can start as part of spring cleaning. And the easiest recycling of all is probably piling up your paper and cardboard, he says.

Hunt says there has never been a better time to get commit to and get involved in recycling.

Right now around South Africa there are hundreds of convenient places to drop off paper, plastic and other material for recycling.

Mpact Recycling currently collects its famous Ronnie Bags from almost 200 000 homes in Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and Tshwane. Collections are done every week from the kerbside.

Everyone from individual consumers to offices to large businesses can recycle, says Hunt.

Mpact also runs education campaigns at schools using Ronnie Recycler, the cartoon-like character developed to help carry the message of recycling to children.

Recycling-related activities provide about 100 000 jobs, which would grow further the more South Africa recycles. These jobs include work for those collecting material for recycling, for people gathering and baling the material, people who transport it to factories and those working in the factories.

Mpact currently collects over 450 000 tons of waste paper and cardboard a year. This material is used at paper mills in the manufacture of new packaging material.

In the coming months Mpact will begin collecting PET plastic bottles, the kind used for carbonated beverages, water, fruit juice and so on. These bottles will ultimately be recycled at a new Mpact factory in Wadeville, Germiston that will begin production in 2015.

The biggest benefit to the environment is that the more we recycle, the less we send to those enormous landfill sites. For example, from the second half of 2015 we'll be taking 29 000 tons of PET bottles into recycling per year, and saving landfill space of about 75 Olympic-size pools, says Hunt.

Using recycled fibre and plastic in making new packaging also means that overall carbon emissions are reduced, he says.

South Africa has a relatively good record in recycling when compared to other countries, but there's still lots of room for everyone to get involved.

Top tips for getting into recycling

  1. Develop a routine. In homes, the best place to start is by setting up the bins or bags you will use to collect different material for recycling. It doesn't take long to develop a shared habit for sorting and collecting at home.
  2. Separate. A bit of plastic mixed in with the waste paper, or a bit of glass mixed in with the plastic means that there is a lot of work needed in the sorting process at the processing plants. Mixed material often means that these waste materials cannot be used or recycled.
  3. Drop off or leave for collection. Some local authorities collect material for recycling. Mpact runs a kerbside collection service in some suburbs around the country. But perhaps the easiest is to look up a drop-off point near where you live or work. You can find an Mpact drop-off point at
  4. Support your community. Many schools, churches and other organisations run recycling collection points as a way to raise funds. Companies such as Mpact buy the collected material from these organisations.

For more information on recycling, recycling programmes and collection points please visit the Mpact Recycling website at, or call the Mpact Recycling toll-free number at 0800 022 112.

Mpact Recycling regional contact numbers


Tulisa Park: 011 538 8600

Midrand:  011 315 8450

Pretoria West: 012 380 0920

Springs: 011 360 4460

Western Cape:

Parow: 021 931 5106

KwaZulu Natal:

Richards Bay: 035 751 1722

Durban: 031 274 6600

Source: MPACT