environment recycling sustainability

South Africa’s Plastic Recycling Statistics for 2014

During 2014 1,084,400 tons of plastic waste was sent to South African landfills. This is according to the latest plastic recycling statistics released by PlasticsSA.  PlasticsSA commissions research into the status quo of the plastic recycling industry each year. The information is gathered by interviewing recyclers from around the country and intends to provide valuable data for the industry, government and other stakeholders. Anton Hanekom, Executive Director of Plastics SA explains the need for this research. “It gives us a clear indication of the flow of plastics products in South Africa, the state of the plastics recycling industry and the recycling markets. It is therefore a valuable tool for promotion, knowledge of the industry, forward planning and policy development.”

The 2014 results show that the amount of plastics converted from local production and imported materials in South Africa remains the same from the previous year at 1,400,000 tons. There has been a slight increase in 2014, 22.5% of plastic waste produced was recovered and recycled compared to the 20% of the previous year. “Although this is the same total as was reported for 2013, the conversion rates for certain types of plastics have increased and others decreased in tonnages owing to the impact of light-weighting plastics packaging, which had a marked increase on South Africa’s consumption rate, asserts Hanekom. A recovery of 32.9% of all plastics packaging material has been achieved.



The majority of plastics that are recycled in South Africa are used locally to manufacture new products, mainly films (packaging, building and industrial) and pipes. Of the 315,600 tons of plastics diverted from landfill in 2014, 90.2% was recycled locally; the remaining 9.85% which amounts to 31,087 tons were exported for recycling elsewhere. While this represents a slight increase from the previous year, the industry has witnessed a significant drop since 2009, when 97.6% of recovered waste was recycled in South Africa. Hanekom further explains that it is a challenging period for the industry, “Not only are we facing increased electricity, transport and raw material costs on the local front, but the sharp increase in imports also poses a very real threat to our progress.”



Employment in the sector

According to the statistics, 47420 people are employed by the industry’s informal sector and 6037 people by the formal sector. Overall, job creation in the industry increased by 11.4% in 2014 compared to the previous year. There are 221 recycling companies in South Africa and an estimated 1800 converters in the industry, most of which are Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME’s).



The future of recycling

On the future of the recycling industry, Hanekom is confident that South Africa is on the right track. “South Africa is being recognized as one of the world leaders when it comes to “closing the loop”, or recycling products back into their original form.  Whilst our first choice will always be to recycle plastics for re-use, we are investigating waste-to-energy recovery options for difficult to recycle or end-of-life plastics that could provide a viable answer to our country’s current electricity crisis, save natural resources and support our objectives of saving landfill space, reducing litter, saving energy and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.”

Source: Urban Earth



Recycled Houses

Gregory Kloehn goes dumpster diving, but not for the reason that most people would think. He isn’t homeless. Rather, he is an artist who is trying to help the homeless and develop his craft at the same time. Instead of building sculptures that he would sell to rich people to add to their homes, he decided to focus his efforts on helping house the homeless population in California. He uses what he collects to build small, one room shelters for the homeless. Each shelter is built with a pitched roof so they are waterproof.



The 7 Passes Swop Shop 2.0

Dear Friends,

Two years ago in the vibrant rural community of Rheenendal, on the edge of the magnificent Knysna Forest, The 7 Passes Swop Shop was born. At that time it was one of about ten similar such projects around South Africa. Each one slightly different, adapted to it’s location. Yet all founded on the same, basic concept: kids in marginalised communities collect recycling and redeem it for much needed goods and essentials. Great ideas are always remarkable in their simplicity.
7 Passes has seen over 600 people come through its doors, bringing with them an average of almost 1,5 tons of recycling every month. In a community of 4000, of which over 50% of the adult population are unemployed, this small project that operates for only a few hours, once a week, is having a direct influence on the social well-being of many households as well as a quantifiable reduction in municipal waste. And at the same time instilling an environmental awareness in kids from a young age.
Highlights over the last couple years have included the inaugural Toys 4 Joy Christmas Toy Drive, in which over 120 kids were treated to a morning of games, music and snacks, before being allowed to go into the shop and choose for themselves a brightly wrapped Christmas pressie. All of which were generously donated by people from Cape Town, PE, Joburg and Knysna.
World Enviro Week
During World Environmental Week, 14 kids were treated to a day outing to the Pledge Square Nature Reserve, where they were educated on various local flora and fauna, before being let loose on a madcap information treasure hunt. The indigenous bird-life had no chance against the screams of chaos and delight!
Every day that the shop is open creates moments of pleasure: boys and girls arriving with wheelbarrows overladen with bulging recycling bags and heading home with toys, stationary, a new pair of shoes or even a tent! Men and women who survive on government grants able to choose blankets, boots and baby clothes. The project would not have survived were it not for the ongoing charitable kindness and assistance of numerous individuals, businesses and organisations such as Rotary.
And now, in order to continue having the impact it does, 7 Passes needs your financial support to accomplish the following:
  • Repair broken windows and shop door.
  • Refurbish the shop interior with proper shelving and cupboards.
  • Beautify the exterior with water-wise plants.
  • Pay weekly stipends to Swop Shop staff, who are from the community.
  • Fence off the containers to prevent further vandalism.
  • Hire transport to take the kids on outings.
  • Purchase stock when donations run low.
  • Initiate a weekly ‘7 Passes Arts Club‘.
  • Initiate a ‘Garden Club’ to maintain a food garden at the school.
We therefore ask, for those who are willing and able, to donate a a regular monthly amount of R25. Or for those who prefer, a once-off contribution of whatever is financially possible. Every little bit helps and is wholeheartedly appreciated.
The 7 Passes Swop Shop is a project of Seven Keys, a registered charity organisation. (NPO 100/954)
Bank details:
Account Name: Seven Keys
Bank: Standard Bank
Account No.: 082 581 525
Branch Code: 05 03 14
Please use the reference: Swop Shop Fund’
Check out our Facebook page – 7 Passes Swop Shop for regular updates and feel free to forward this email on to as many people as you can.
environment recycling sustainability

WINNERS: The Lazy Man’s Guide to Saving the World

The winners of our Lazy Man’s Guide to Saving the World competition are Tracey Frayne and Henry Howard. Well done to you both! For those of you who would still like a digital copy of the book, it is available HERE.


recycling sustainability

SA’s Greenest Municipalities

Ekurhuleni Metro has added a feather in its cap by being announced the overall winner in the Greenest Municipalities Competition, walking away with prize money of R3.5 million. eThekwini was the first runner-up and walked away with R3 million, while the City of Cape Town was the second runner up and scooped R2.5 million. At local municipality level, Greater Tzaneen topped the category, bagging the R3.5 million prize money. It was followed by Newcastle and Drakenstein, which walked away with R3 million and R2.5 milllion respectively. The winners were announced by Water and Environmental Affairs Deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi during an award ceremony held at Marianhill Landfill Site, Durban, on Friday. The prize money has to be utilised for projects that promote environment related projects and green economy initiatives. A total of 111 metropolitan and local municipalities had entered the completion.


The Greenest Municipality Competition (GMC) started its life as the Cleanest Town Competition (CTC), with a primary focus on implementing the National Waste Management Strategy. According to the ministry, the competition is premised on reducing, recycling and reusing waste materials. Although these principles are still relevant, other elements related to sustainable development and various greening interventions have been added. “Our Green Economy Plan emphasizes the implementation of measures to strengthen and expand our economic growth through recycling and enterprise development, so that we can generate and sustain jobs as well as formalise existing jobs in the waste area as part of the economy,” said Mabudafhasi.

The Department of Environmental Affairs has conducted numerous studies that have clearly illustrated the capacity constraints experienced by municipalities in delivering waste services in terms of landfill operations, waste collection planning and administration, and refuse collection. The deputy minister said the department was planning to bridge the capacity gap by involving community members as partners and ambassadors in the process of solving the environmental challenges in general and waste challenges in particular. “The low levels of capacity in municipalities present an excellent opportunity for the creation of jobs, on-the-job training, continuous up-skilling as well as enterprise development for the youth. “An estimated 3 577 jobs will be created by placing young people in municipalities, where they will work as landfill site assistants, waste collection administrators and environmental awareness educators,” said Mabudafhasi.