Why Recycle

Tackle the Impending Landfill Crisis

The Environmental Affairs Department has warned many landfills are reaching full capacity.” – James-Brent Styan.

In South Africa, the landfill capacity is fast becoming an impending crisis. With only 7.5% of South African’s recycling, we currently have over 90% of waste produced ending up in landfills. It is common knowledge in the Waste industry, that 60% of the waste produced at source can be recycled. How is this being communicated? Government has attempted partnerships and agreements with private organisations to help increase the recycling of waste at source. In addition, various pilots focusing on separation at source have been attempted, producing mixed low-key results.

Adding to this, the global recycling industry is under pressure due to China, the biggest importer of plastic waste, banning the import of plastic waste from exporters like South Africa. This means that there are now limited options for the disposal of plastics available, with the landfill – which is already overloaded – becoming the automatic default disposal choice.

This requires a fresh approach to the problem at hand. With space for dumping ‘garbage and waste’ running out, a call has gone out from the public and private sectors to begin pushing recycling at source for all corporates and residential households. By recycling and separating our waste by ‘recyclable versus non-recyclable’ we will be helping prevent the impending landfill crisis.

Support Waste Pickers

Waste pickers saved government R748.8 million in 2014 through their informal recycling services. However, their value is not recognised.

Seen as pariahs by most residential communities and corporates, Waste Pickers earn their living through scavenging from the disposed goods, waste and general garbage produced by formal dwellings. The work they do daily is thankless, and they lack support to do it efficiently and effectively. The problem is around how they are recovering the waste. It is a known fact that Waste Pickers scavenge in refuse bins and landfills (illegally), loading their recovered items in makeshift trolleys and bags. They then travel many kilometers between suburban areas where they scavenge and the industrial areas where they attempt to sell off their items at formal and informal buy-back centres.

The recovery and scavenging process results in waste pickers being commonly exposed to disease and illnesses that require treatment. In addition, hauling large amounts of recovered items to and from source can be dangerous, arduous and unpredictable. Waste pickers experience theft, harassment, assault and at times unfair remuneration for their hard work in earning their living on a daily basis. This has to change.

By recycling, we can create an ecosystem where waste pickers are supported by means of access to household recyclable waste at source, uniforms, sorting space, safe payment and training in life and finance management. So be a part and contribute to waste pickers’ well being.

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Did you know that harmful chemicals and greenhouse gasses are released from the garbage dump in landfill sites?

When these chemicals and gasses are released, they damage the environment during their distribution and production. Landfill sites are the most common places where these harmful gasses are produced. They become most potent in environments with limited to no oxygen and can be fatal to surrounding life – methane, a typical example of such a gas.

Recycling helps to reduce the production of waste, and thereby reduce the chemicals and gasses produced in landfills. By recycling we are also reducing the need for raw materials that are used to produce more products resulting in more waste. The manufacturing of new products requires a large amount of energy. Recycling reduces the need for raw materials because they recycled waste is reused to create or recreate the new products, thus saving natural resources.