Imagine the difference every single person could make to our planet and our economy by separating recyclables for reuse in new products and composting organic and food waste.
With a little thought and a few extra bins or containers around the home, every South African can change their rubbish-to-recycling ratio.
Ideally, your recycling bins should be more significant than your landfill waste bins too.
Do a quick waste audit:
- How many rubbish bins do you have in your home?
- How many recycling bins do you have?
- How much refuse goes out with the weekly municipal collection?
- How much could you be keeping away from landfill by recycling?
- Do the people in your home understand the concept of recycling and separating waste?
Separating waste and keeping it separate is the first step and a big win
Separation-at-source — the first step in the greater recycling process doesn’t have to start and stop in the kitchen. Various household paper products — especially packaging commonly found in the bathroom, home office, or right at your front door — can be recycled into new paper products.
Placing small paper recycling bins in various areas of your home — at the front door, in your home office, bathrooms and the kitchen are all great places. This makes it easier and more convenient to get into the recycling habit.
Please always make sure that a recyclable paper-based item is dry, clean and free of food residue.
Know the paper recyclables in your home
You might be throwing away paper products or packaging that you didn’t know were recyclable. You might be astounded at the number of common household materials that can be recycled.
- cardboard tubing from the toilet paper roll
- paper packaging used for toiletries like toothpaste, cosmetics or tissues
- boxes and inserts used for over-the-counter medicine
- paper cups (these are recyclable, but there is limited recycling capacity)
- office / printing paper, notebooks (minus wire binding and laminated covers)
- magazines and reports
- paperback books – you could donate old books to a library or community centre but for those that are too worn and torn, a new life awaits through recycling
The front door:
- post — if you still get any, including envelopes and advertising mail
- cardboard boxes from your online shopping
- boxes from cereal, biscuits, tea, pasta, doggy treats and other dry goods
- milk or juice cartons (these are recyclable, but there is limited recycling capacity)
- pizza boxes and other clean takeaway packaging (always remove food residue)
- egg cartons and take-away cup holders
- grocery delivery bags and paper shopping bags from retail stores or restaurants
- tubing from kitchen towel rolls
Various types of plastics, tins, cans, glass bottles and jars are also recyclable — so don’t forget to recycle those too.
Recycle with a purpose
It is important to know where your recyclables will go. If your area does not have a recycling programme, put your recyclables out for a waste collector, or look into a paid collection service. You can also drop them off at a community centre or school that earns money from recycling.
Now you’re in the know, think before you throw.
For more information, visit www.fibrecircle.co.za.
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