The Paper Recycling Association of South Africa is calling on South Africans to give our country a spring clean during the 2014 Clean-Up SA and Recycle Week from 15-19 September, on National Recycling Day on Friday, 19 September and the 29th International Coastal Clean-Up Day on Saturday, 20 September.
“Gather family, friends and colleagues to give a few hours back to Mother Nature by picking up litter,” says Ursula Henneberry, operations director of the Paper Recycling Association of South Africa (RecyclePaperZA). “Whether you choose a lake or beach, a mountain or valley, a park or pavement, make a morning of it.” RecyclePaperZA encourages recreational and sporting clubs to pick up litter in the places in which they “play”.
RecyclePaperZA also appeals to businesses and retail stores: “Allow each staff member an hour during the week to collect litter in the area surrounding your premises – especially parking areas, pavements, kerbs and drains,” says Henneberry. “A few hours each day during Clean-Up SA week will make a massive difference.” She adds that retailers should encourage a litter-free environment around their stores by installing rubbish bins and recycling drop-off points as well as hosting regular clean-ups.
Recycling needs to become a culture
While 62% of paper is recovered for recycling in South Africa, only 5% of homes actually recycle their paper. “Recycling needs to become part of our national psyche,” says Henneberry, adding that recycling puts renewable paper fibre back into the papermaking process instead of into landfill, creates income-generating opportunities and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
“Littering does not create jobs – but recycling does.”
Five simple steps to cleaning up SA
1. Visit www.cleanup-sa.co.za and www.recyclingday-sa.co.za to check the events line-up for your area. You can also host your own clean-up operation – with friends or family, your sports club or place of work.
2. Connect with the regional coordinator and register your event to receive special Clean-Up SA bags or simply use standard refuse bags.
3. Wear protective gloves and shoes and get going.
4. Clean up and separate waste into the various recyclables and non-recyclables – make it easier by assigning people to collect certain items.
a. Paper, cardboard, milk and juice cartons
b. Plastic, cans and glass
c. Non-recyclable waste – wet or soiled paper, tissues, chip packets, used cement bags, nappies, food waste.
5. Go to www.mywaste.co.za to find your nearest recycling drop-off site.
Clean-up SA Week and National Recycling Day, an initiative of Plastics SA and the KZN Wildlife, now has the support and involvement of the entire country as well as the National Recycling Forum and players in the packaging, converting and recycling space.
- An astounding 648,015 volunteers in 92 countries picked up more than 5.5 million kg of rubbish from beaches and waterways in the 2013 International Coastal Cleanup – they did this by walking 20,058km and searching 732km of water. www.oceanconservancy.org
- During 2013, just short of 1.2 million tonnes of paper was recovered in South Africa through formal collection programmes and by informal waste collectors. Enough to fill 1,403 Olympic-sized swimming pools, this saved 3.5 million cubic metres of landfill space.
Go to www.recycling.co.za for some helpful recycling tips.
Get social – Post your photos to @PaperRocks_SA with the hashtag #cleanupsa
A tonne of recycled paper can save up to three cubi metres of landfill space and subsequently reduce transport costs for local municipalities.