There are four main reasons why we should increase our recycling rates of all materials (not just packaging) in SA.
• Recycling creates jobs. The mechanical activity of recycling itself is not a big job creator. Collection of waste and separation into the waste steams is estimated to create employment for some 80 000 people in SA . The Industry Plan envisages household separation of waste into recyclables and other and the former will be taken to a material recovery facility (MRF) for further separation and sale to the recyclers. This has the potential to create entrepreneurship and divert workers from landfill to better quality and safer jobs. It is envisaged that this will be achieved through public/private co-operation.
• Products made from recycled material have a considerably lower carbon footprint than those produced from virgin materials. Using paper and paperboard as an example, recycling extends the pivotal carbon storage role that paper plays.
• Recycling saves scarce resources and enables us to use a raw material that would otherwise be landfilled.
• Recycling extends the lives of landfill.