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International Recycling Day: Just what can be recycled

May 19, 2017
International Recycling Day: Just what can be recycled

Recyclable, non-recyclable, biodegradable, hazardous…there are so many buzz terms out there around waste and what you should or shouldn’t be doing with it. Knowing just what can be recycled means you can play your part in reducing the amount of waste ending up in landfills

Many of the earth’s natural resources are nearing critical tipping points of depletion or irreversible change, pushed by high population growth and economic development. If current consumption and production patterns remain the same, and with a rising population expected to reach 9.6 billion, by 2050 we will need three planets to sustain our current way of life.

Currently South Africa produces 108 million tonnes of waste per year. 90% of that waste ends up in landfills; 44% is unclassified waste, while 50% is general waste. Scarily, only 10% of that waste is currently recycled.  

Add to this the fact that South Africa’s landfills are rapidly running out of space and it is clear that the only solution lies in recycling and repurposing our waste. International Recycling Day aims to increase awareness by educating all South Africans about the environmental and economic benefits of recycling by understanding the difference between recyclables and non-recyclables.

RECYCLABLES = Products and substances that can be recycled when the owner no longer has use for them.

Examples of what you can recycle: 

  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Cereal boxes
  • Tissue boxes
  • Office paper
  • Small appliances – such as toasters, irons, pots, pans


NON-RECYCLABLES = Items that cannot be reused/processed in some form.

Example of what you cannot recycle:

  • Tissues
  • Crockery
  • Nappies and sanitary towels
  • Cigarette ends


REDISA is passionate about cleaning the environment and believes it is up to all South Africans to take responsibility and ensure a clean environment for future generations. In line with International Recycling Day’s aim of increasing awareness by educating communities about the environmental and economic benefits of recycling, REDISA is driving the message of waste into worth and of how environmental conservation can ensure the effective long-term management of waste.

“As an initiative focused on encouraging people to find the value that can be derived from waste, REDISA is committed to educating consumers about the importance of recycling and re-using products. We have seen great success in the tyre industry, by implementing a circular economy approach, which ensures that nothing goes to waste and reduces the reliance on natural resources,” says Stacey Davidson, Director at REDISA.

Education around the opportunities that exist within the waste sector is vital to change South Africans’ mindsets that waste has no value.  

“This can be achieved by looking at consumer products further than the end of their accepted lifecycle. Re-introducing them into the economy will go a long way towards reducing our reliance on fossil fuels for new product development,” she concluded.

So, what’s stopping you? Take a look at what’s in your bin today and sort out those recyclables!