This week (12 – 18 September) is Clean Up and Recycle SA week.
The week is aimed at encouraging and educating South Africans to take responsibility. Moreover, to mobilise action towards protecting our environment from unnecessary litter and waste.
National Recycling Day – 16.09
In 2014, only 22.5% of the plastic produced in South Africa was recovered and recycled. Comparatively, in 2009 only 18.3% was recovered. Luckily there has been improvement over the years. However, we believe that this statistic is still far too low. Businesses and households can vastly improve this statistic and make a difference by implementing recycling programmes.
Whilst recycling is a very important part of managing our waste as a community, it is very important to first consider ways of minimising and reducing our waste. We need a mindset change. We need to consider how and what we purchase and how environmentally sustainable its packaging is. (Never mind the product itself.)
Rethink before recycling
You can refuse and avoid certain products with a little bit of planning. Things like plastic shopping bags, plastic straws or PET plastic water bottles are all examples of unnecessary single-use plastic which we could all do with avoiding. “Plastic Free July” is a campaign held internationally. This year, a number of South Africans partook. The Eco Atlas blog has captured some of their stories. From their stories, you will find some great tips and inspiration on how to avoid unnecessary plastic. Reusing and repurposing of products should always be the next point of call.
When it comes to recycling, with a little bit of effort, it is not hard to do. Treevolution has put together a great downloadable guide of recycling for South Africans. In addition to information on what can be recycled, there is a list of some of the places we can go to drop off our recycling nationwide.
Recycling can be fun
A great way to make recycling more accessible for household members and employees is to make it fun. Some great ways to do this:
- Implementing humorous waste separation and recycling signage.
- Putting exciting incentives in place.
- Choosing a fun recycling-fact-of-the-week and displaying it, to help educate in bite-sized chunks.
- Organising group team building clean up or visit to a recycling plant.