South Africans recycled 1.2 million tons of paper in 2019

General manager of RecyclePaperZa, Anele Solo.

CAPE TOWN, September 3 (ANA) – With National Recycling Day looming, RecyclePaperZA is asking all citizens to recycle as much as they can.

In a statement released on Thursday, general manager Anele Solo said in 2019 South Africans recovered 1.2 million tons of recyclable paper products and she hopes that this year they can exceed this.

She said the 1.2 million tons of waste, when baled, would stretch as far as Kempton Park (in Johannesburg) to Cape Town if laid out end to end. It would also fill 1,442 Olympic swimming pools and cover 219 soccer pitches, one bale deep.

She said the recovered paper saved 3.6 million cubic metres of landfill space in 2019, provided an income for countless informal collectors and kept the local paper, packing and tissue industry productive,

“Eighty-eight percent of recovered paper fibre was recycled locally into new products such as cardboard boxes, paper bags and tissue. The balance was exported.

“Among the most recycled paper-based items are cardboard boxes at 71%, while office paper recovery and beverage cartons sit at 16% and 10%, respectively.

“We continue to work with our members, along with Fibre Circle, the producer responsibility organisation for our sector, to emphasise how important recycling is,” Solo said.

She said successful recycling went beyond placing items in separate bins; it required a collective effort from producers, retailers and consumers along with the recycling industry, from collectors to the recycling mills.

Solo said every company and individual in the country can play a part in ensuring used paper, boxes, milk and juice cartons, and paper cups get to the recycling mills and made into new products for everyday use.

The recycling industry not only provides an environmental service but also preserves jobs and livelihoods. Solo said for every 40 tons of paper recycled, a job is sustained.

“With National Recycling Day on Friday, September 18, now is as good a time as any to start recycling. A little bit of effort makes a big difference,” Solo added.

– African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Yaron Blecher

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