‘If you can’t re-use it‚ refuse it’ – advice for Joburg residents as recycling becomes compulsory

14 June 2018 - 06:00 By Thando Mpembe
Residents will be required to separate cans‚ plastics‚ glass‚ cellphones‚ paper‚ garden waste and car parts from their household rubbish to aid in recycling.
Residents will be required to separate cans‚ plastics‚ glass‚ cellphones‚ paper‚ garden waste and car parts from their household rubbish to aid in recycling.
Image: 123RF/Pavel Lipskiy

Starting from July 1‚ Johannesburg residents will be required to recycle in their households‚ MEC of Environment Affairs and Infrastructure Nico De Jager said this week.

This is to reduce pollution and protect the environment from further damage caused by poor waste management.

Residents will be required to separate waste before it can be collected by Pikitup.

As for complexes and townhouses‚ the Body Corporate of the respective complex is responsible for making sure that the tenants are recycling.

De Jager said if Johannesburg residents do not change their recycling habits‚ there will be no more space for landfill sites in Johannesburg by 2023.

Johannesburg residents will be required to separate cans‚ plastics‚ glass‚ cellphones‚ paper‚ garden waste and car parts from their household rubbish to aid in recycling.

As soon as the process rolls out‚ Pikitup will be providing residents with colour coded bags to make the recycling process easier‚ De Jager said.

“Blue bags will be for plastic and glass materials‚ the green bags will be for biodegradable waste‚" he told TimesLIVE.

With the City of Johannesburg fast running out of landfill space, recycling will now become compulsory in order to reduce illegal dumping and pollution.

The colour coding is going to make it easier for the Pikitup team to collect waste separately for recycling purposes.

Getting into the habit is going to be a bit of an adjustment for some.

Online searches reveal that the cost of recycling bins is quite hefty - with the cheapest ranging from R300 and the most expensive costing over R3‚000.

However‚ it doesn’t have to be.

Head of Group Research for Waste Development at the CSIR Susan Oelofse has strategies that help her make recycling easier.

With organising your kitchen for recycling‚ she suggests having a bag for dry waste and wet waste.

She insists that it makes life easier when it’s time to separate waste because it’s not messy. It is not necessary to spend lots of money on a new recycling bin‚ she said.

“I use an old box cardboard box for recycling in my kitchen” Oelofse said.

She believes the implementation of this rule is going to make a big difference.

“Johannesburg is running out of landfill space‚” she said.

“It’s also not new; the city has done this before. Just that now they are implementing it on a larger scale.”

It’s also possible to make an income from recycling.

According to the Glass Recycling Co‚ individuals can recycle materials and sell recyclables to buy-back centres.

On estimate‚ about 50‚000 South Africans earn an informal source of income from collecting glass and cans‚ then selling these goods back to entrepreneurial buy-back centres.

Recycling is not only going to save the environment but is also going to help the less fortunate make a living for themselves.

There are no penalties in place yet for residents who do not comply with recycling as it is still the first phase of the project.

However‚ penalties will be introduced eventually‚ said De Jager.

The main aim for this initiative is to sensitise residents to environmental issues‚ protecting the environment and spending less money on landfills.

He said to remember: “If you can’t re-use it‚ refuse it.” 

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