According to the 2017 Plastics|SA’s annual survey into plastic recycling .
- South Africa recycled 334 727 tons of material into raw material, when compared to the recycling rate of 1 % in Europe, South Africa has an input recycling rate of 43.7 % for all plastics.
- According to Stats SA; 12,1 % of Metropolitan households do not have regular refuse removal as recorded in 2015 and 64 % of all households have formal waste management.
- The largest quantity of recyclables, 74 %, was obtained from landfill and other post-consumer sources.
- 60% of incoming materials was sourced as baled materials from the formal sector, collectors and waste management companies.
- 12% originated from the same formal supply chain but consists of the larger components are were not baled. Although very critical to the value chain
- 3 % of recyclables were sourced directly from waste pickers and walk-ins.
- Plastics recycling sustained 5837 formal jobs in 2017 in the recycling factories.
- It is estimated that 52 300 workers received an income through the supply chain, 700 more than in 2016 (These include self-employed waste pickers and employees of smaller entrepreneurial collectors).
- Through the procurement of recyclables an estimated R 448 million was injected into the economy at primary sourcing level.
- The most widely recycled material is still PE-LD and PE-LLD packaging films (34%), followed by PET beverage bottles which showed a steady increase over the last 4 years (22%), PE-HD bottles, drums and crates represent the third largest recycled polymer in 2017 (20%). The PP tonnages showed some growth (15%) and Flexible PVC gumboots, hoses and cable sheathing remains steady.
- For the second year in a row, the recyclers had more recyclate than required by their immediate and existing customers. Only 5.5 % of the recycled raw material was exported as raw material to plastics convertors mainly to the neighbouring countries.
- more than 210 bona fide recyclers have been identified operating in South Africa; 30 % of the recyclers convert 80 % of the tonnages. Among the recyclers surveyed in 2017, 50 % were at least granulating, washing and pelletising; 22 % were only granulating.
Note: All materials recycled or reprocessed in South Africa are expressed as a percentage of locally manufactured plastics products.