THE South African recycling industry continues to face poor recovery rates of office paper, an important raw material for manufacturers of paper and packaging. This shortage exists despite the vast quantities of office paper that is disposed of by businesses across the country.
According to Mpact, a leading player in the Southern African paper and plastic packaging industry, recycling participation rates among businesses and consumers across the country remain low and could be improved. This is also true of the Western Cape.
Recycling initiatives present businesses with an opportunity to contribute to the creation of environmentally sustainable practices and thereby their own “green” credentials.
“We therefore encourage businesses to consider recycling from a strategic perspective. In addition to making a positive contribution to the environment, businesses can also bolster their sustainability efforts, important to brand sustainability and positive public perception,” says Org van der Wath, Mpact Recycling’s Western Cape regional manager.
Nationally, only 20% – 30% of small businesses, offices and office parks are participating in paper recycling programmes. These figures vary by region.
Says Van der Wath: “In addition to the environmental benefits of recycling, there is economic sense in driving recycling initiatives in businesses.”
Nationally, recycling activities currently provide jobs for around 100,000 people, an estimated 30,000, of which are involved in the recycling of paper. Moreover, the recovery and recycling of paper in South Africa ensures local beneficiation of raw materials. Mpact Recycling, collects in excess of 457,000 tons of recovered paper each year and currently has a 45% share of the South African paper recycling market. Seventy percent of the recycled paper collected by Mpact is used in its paper manufacturing division.
As part of Mpact Recycling’s continuous drive to promote the sustainable use of resources, businesses are encouraged to make recycling routine to the way business is done.
“Just like recycling at home, the easiest way to start recycling at the workplace is with paper as it is usually used in the largest quantity,” says Van der Wath. However, depending on the nature of the workplace other recyclable items can also be found. Offices can consider recycling the following paper-based items:
- Magazines and newspapers
- Cardboard boxes (e.g. packaging boxes)
- Waste paper, including printed paper
- Unwanted files and notepads
- Used envelopes
Depending on the size of the company and other requirements Mpact Recycling will either collect the used paper or direct the enquirer to the closest drop-off point. For large paper-intensive companies, bins, cages and bags will be provided and collected by Mpact Recycling.