According to RecyclePaperZA, the paper recycling association of South Africa, our country recovered 1.1 million tonnes of recyclable paper products in 2020, putting the paper recovery rate at 69.8%.

Today – Friday 17 September – is National Recycling Day and RecyclePaperZA calls on homes, schools, and businesses to be better at separating recyclables from rubbish.

By keeping cardboard boxes, used office paper, newspaper, pizza boxes and other food packaging out of our bins, we keep out of landfill. Not only is it better for the environment, but it supports the economy, especially the livelihoods of waste collectors.

If baled, 1.1 million tonnes of paper and paper packaging would cover 142 rugby fields or 200 soccer fields, or fill 1 322 Olympic swimming pools. “More importantly, the paper recovered in 2020 saved 3.3 million cubic metres of landfill space and ensured that the recovered fibre was made into new products that we use every day,” says Samantha Choles, communications manager for RecyclePaperZA.

The small act of separating our recyclables at home, school and work, makes a difference to our environment.