Paper recycling in South Africa

Recycled Paper and paper packaging
Paper and paper packaging is not waste but a valuable commodity. For many paper manufacturers, recycled paper is an alternative fibre, with some 65% of mills in South Africa using it for the production of corrugated boxes and board, newspapers, tissue products, kitchen and industrial paper toweling, cereal boxes, soap cartons and moulded paper products such as egg boxes and takeaway cup holders.

Paper recycling in South Africa

  • South Africa has been using waste paper to produce paper since 1920. 
  • Paper can be made from virgin fibre (wood of new trees), recovered fibre (recycled paper) and bagasse (waste from sugar cane processing).
  • In the case of virgin fibre, this comes from sustainably farmed trees – similar to wheat for our bread and corn for maize meal.
    • These trees are planted, and once mature – after about 15-20 years – they are harvested and new saplings are replanted in their place. This is what makes the paper products that we source from wood renewable.
  • At an environmental level, working forests are good for the environment, providing clean air, clean water, wildlife habitats; renewable, carbon-neutral energy and carbon storage.
  • At a socio-economic level, the growing and harvesting of trees, making paper products and recycling them provides sustainable jobs for millions.

Why is paper recycling important?

  • South Africa has been using waste paper to produce paper since 1920. 
  • Paper can be made from virgin fibre (wood of new trees), recovered fibre (recycled paper) and bagasse (waste from sugar cane processing).
  • In the case of virgin fibre, this comes from sustainably farmed trees – similar to wheat for our bread and corn for maize meal.
    • These trees are planted, and once mature – after about 15-20 years – they are harvested and new saplings are replanted in their place. This is what makes the paper products that we source from wood renewable.
  • At an environmental level, working forests are good for the environment, providing clean air, clean water, wildlife habitats; renewable, carbon-neutral energy and carbon storage.
  • At a socio-economic level, the growing and harvesting of trees, making paper products and recycling them provides sustainable jobs for millions.
recycling commitment
A small commitment to recycling will make a big difference to our country.
paper recycling bin
Keep a paper recycling bin at your desk.
Recyclable Liquid packaging
Liquid packaging such as milk and juice cartons are also recyclable.
paper clean and dry
Keep paper clean and dry in a separate container.
newspaper, magazines, office paper
Always keep your paper (newspaper, magazines, office paper), cardboard and beverage cartons from general waste.
Formed in 2003, RecyclePaperZA represents companies that process recovered paper and make new paper products. It also represents some manufacturers of liquid board packaging in the form of milk and juice cartons, paper cups and bowls. Backed by the pay-off line “Paper recycled. Paper Renewed”, the paper recycling association promotes the recovery and recycling of paper fibre as a vital link in the renewability chain.