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New Year’s resolution for 2012 – Recycle your paper

13 December 2011

South Africans could make a big difference to the environment if they recycle paper in their households. Recycling paper, including cardboard, old newspapers, magazines or schoolbooks is a simple process that will go a long way to reducing the impact on landfill sites, creating jobs and reusing items that are simple to recycle.

In fact, recycling should play a big part of your 2012 New Year’s resolutions.

“In order to make recycling as efficient and effective as possible, it is extremely important that as many people as possible participate in recycling programmes,” says John Hunt, MD of Mpact Recycling (formerly Mondi Recycling).

Hunt adds that as a nation we’re lagging behind, with South Africans recycling a total of 58% of recyclable paper annually in comparison to Australia, where 75% of recyclable paper is recycled.

“The local recycling industry aims to increase this to 61% over the next five years,” says Hunt. “But this will only happen if many more South African households start to participate.”

There are many reasons to recycle; the most important being:

  • Recycling conserves scarce and valuable resource such as water and energy; the process to convert a tree into pulp is a lot more energy intensive and uses twice as much energy compared to using recycled paper. There are also far fewer polluting emissions released in the air and water as a result.
  • According to the Paper Recycling Association of South Africa for every ton of paper recycled, 3 m3 of landfill space is saved. This reduces costs to municipalities as their transport costs decrease as a result of not having to take the paper to the sites.
  • In a report by Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), a waste action group based in the UK, on average, when comparing the manufacture of recycled paper versus virgin paper (paper made from trees), one tonne of recycled paper can save 1.32 tonnes of CO2 equivalent. This considers the complete lifecycle and takes into account that, if placed in landfill sites, degrading paper could produce methane, a greenhouse gas which is 23 times more powerful than CO2.
  • The recycling industry aims to create many more jobs over the next few years. This can only truly happen if people take the initiative to start recycling.
  • Recycling decreases the need to import raw materials to make products such as cartonboard, and also indirectly reduces the amount of litter scattered around.

Finally, recycling is the right thing to do – it just makes sense.

Mpact Recycling is South Africa’s largest paper recycler, with seven of its own operations in major centres around the country and 42 buy-back centres (a place where people bring waste for collection). It also supports 67 independent dealers throughout the country.

“We recover approximately 450 000 tonnes of paper each year,” says Hunt. “But we would obviously like to increase this by many more tonnes over the next few years with your help!”

Getting started: What to separate

“Many people say that they don’t even know where to start recycling from home,” says Hunt. “The process is fairly simple when you know how. The very first thing is to understand what papers can be recycled and what can’t.”

Here are some useful “do’s” and “don’ts” to remember when separating your recycling products:

DO'S
Old memos / letters
Computer paper
Used photocopy paper
Windowless envelopes
Old books
Pale coloured paper (invoices, etc.)
Newspapers
Magazines
Cardboard (flattened)

DON’TS
Polystyrene or paper cups and plates
Yoghurt cartons
Sweet / chip wrappers
Blueprint paper
Organic material (such as old food and vegetables)
Cigarette ends
Tissues and paper towels
Plastic wrapping
Carbon paper
Post-it notes (these are not recyclable because of the glues used to make them)
Waxed cartons (such as frozen fish boxes)
“Unfortunately, often, when people put the incorrect materials into recycling containers, these items need to be manually separated out, which is very expensive and time consuming,” warns Hunt. “In addition, these items end up in a landfill, which defeats the purpose of separating.”

Where to go

“Once the separating rules are clear, the next confusion is that many people just don’t know where to take their recycled material,” says Hunt.

There are recycling bins in place at nearly all retailers, local churches or school. Just look out for them.

“If there are programmes already in your community, please support them. If not, contact Mpact Recycling at info@mpact.co.za and we will assist you in getting them there – we’ll help to make recycling simple for you!” states Hunt.

Do your bit in the New Year and start to recycle.

Notes to editors:

Mpact is a leading southern African paper and plastics packaging group with revenues of R6.2bn in 2011. Mpact employs 3,500 people at 29 sites, of which 22 are manufacturing sites. Mpact earns approximately 10% of its sales outside of South Africa. It also has plants in Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

Mpact has the number one market position in corrugated packaging, recycled-based cartonboard and containerboard, recovered paper collection, PET preforms, styrene trays and plastic jumbo bins. These accounted for approximately 90% of its revenue in 2011.

Issued by:

FTI Consulting – Strategic Communications
Lianne Osterberger +27 (0) 11 214 2414 / +27 (0)83 27 27 313
Chloe Webb +27 (0) 11 214 2421 / +27 (0)83 305 0144

On behalf of:

Mpact Limited
Deborah Chapman
Communications Manager, Mpact +27 (0) 11 994 5500 / +27 (0)76 650 4155

Source: Mpact