As of the 1st July 2018, the City of Johannesburg has made recycling mandatory to a large number of residents in selected suburbs of Johannesburg. Residents are now legally required to separate their recyclable refuse from their household waste.Nico de Jager, MMC of Environmental Affairs says that the only way to prevent a waste management crisis is to make household recycling compulsory.
Why is recycling in Johannesburg compulsory from 1 July 2018?
Due to a large amount of waste being accumulated in Jo’burg, the city is facing a risk of running out of landfill space within the next six years. If serious actions are not taken, the city will be forced to transport waste to Delmas in Mpumalanga; meaning residents will have to incur costs of waste disposal to this new site.
Mzukisi Tshem, General Manager of Pikitup says that the Robinson Deep landfill site in Turffontein sees 2 500 tons of rubbish being dumped on a daily basis and will soon reach maximum capacity.
Recycling is not new to the City of Johannesburg. According to Susan Oelofse, Head of Group Research for Waste Development at the CSIR, recycling initiatives have been implemented before, but not on the same scale as it has been now.
Benefits of recycling for the environment
The main driver behind the Johannesburg recycling initiative is ensuring we have sufficient landfill space and being mindful of not taking up valuable land space with items that could be otherwise disposed of - like recycling.
More reasons why recycling is beneficial:
- Dumping rubble is not only wasteful, it is harmful to the environment. This means that greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere and toxic liquids are leaked resulting in soil and water resources are being polluted.
- Recycling conserves natural resources. We manufacture less plastic that ends up in our oceans, improve the re-use of paper that will see a decline in deforestation and we manage our mining resources more effectively.
- Recycling protects natural ecosystems and wildlife. This means that the need to make use of raw materials and space to grow is reduced. Natural environments are not left in disarray, fewer forests are cut down and fewer animals are harmed. As many of you are aware, tons of waste (plastic in particular) ends up in oceans negatively affecting ecosystems and animals.
- By recycling, we also conserve energy as opposed to producing brand new items. Did you know that producing new aluminium materials from used cans, for instance, saves 95% less energy than producing it anew! Surprisingly, a 100-watt light bulb can be powered for 4 hours with the amount of energy saved from recycling just one glass bottle!
- Not only will recycling benefit the environment, but also create opportunities for those earning an informal income, allowing them to sell recyclable materials to buy-back centres.
How will this affect your everyday waste disposal?
Pikitup will collect all waste on a weekly basis, as per their usual process, and will also supply you with a clear bag for recycling purposes each week.
Instead of piling rubbish all together, you will need to separate recyclable items from usual waste and use the relevant bags provided by Pikitup.
Recommended blog: How to set up an office recycling scheme
What can be recycled and how do we recycle?
Items that can be recycled (to be placed in clear bags):
- Glass: containers, bottles and glassware.
- Paper: newspapers, magazines, books, mail and cardboard.
- Plastic: bottles and tubs.
- Metal: cans and foil.
- Tetra Pak
Items that can’t be recycled (to be placed in your usual black rubbish bags):
- Milk cartons
- Food waste
- Tissue paper
- Pizza boxes
Steps on how to recycle:
- Know and understand what you are recycling
- Set aside a bin for recycling at home using the clear bag
- Be sure to rinse items if necessary i.e. contaminated by food waste or debris before placing in the clear recycling bag.
Watch this video by Mia Lindeque, from Eyewitness news where she explains how to recycle.
Recycling and the future
For the immediate future, De Jager mentions that no penalties will be instated, but should Johannesburg residents not comply, this will become a reality - along with more costs involved in the transport of waste.
Recycling and the future go hand in hand. As mentioned earlier, recycling has a much bigger impact than merely saving land space. It has so many other positive impacts - such as protecting the earth, our environment, wildlife and conserving energy - that allows us to actively look at our carbon footprint and how small daily activities can really add up to benefit our planet.
From a hygiene perspective, less waste means less chance of airborne diseases arising from stagnant waste as well as an improvement in the number of pests seeking harbourage and food sustenance from accumulated waste that could lead to the spread of diseases.
City of Johannesburg, we applaud you. This great initiative should be rolled out on a larger scale. Even if you aren’t part of this initiative we would like you to seriously consider recycling as part of your household and work culture.
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