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Mpact Recycling: working with local government to drive job growth via recycling

14 August 2012

Mpact Recycling is partnering with South African municipalities to increase recycling, creating jobs and reducing the strain on landfill sites.

As the largest recycler in the country, Mpact Recycling recovers approximately 450 000 tonnes of paper each year nationally.

"Having been in this business since 1975, we have become a trusted partner to a number of municipalities in this sector," says John Hunt, MD of Mpact Recycling.

The paper recovery rate in South Africa was 58 percent in 2011, which compares favourably internationally.  But major sources of recovered fibre are largely collected from newspaper printers, box makers, supermarket chains and industry – not households.

"Households are the main untapped source of recyclable materials presenting a huge opportunity for both municipalities and recyclers like Mpact," says Hunt.

Hunt adds that municipalities are under increasing pressure to encourage households to recycle, not only because of landfill sites filling up rapidly, but also because of recent legislation aimed at promoting recycling initiatives.

"With our strong track record in kerbside collections, we’re able to share our expertise and knowledge with local municipalities looking for recycling solutions."

In Durban’s eThekwini municipality, Mpact Recycling has partnered with local government to collect of paper from nine regions and upwards of 350 000 households.

"Municipal leaders in eThekwini have shown tremendous commitment in ensuring the success of this effort," says Hunt. "We introduced a voluntary kerbside programme two decades ago as a way to increase the paper Mpact recovers for use in our mills."

In 2008, Mpact approached the municipality and initiated a highly successful trial project currently known as the "orange bag" system in the Highway region. This project was initiated in anticipation of the Waste Act that sets certain waste service standards and provides authority to municipalities to set others.

"The project was based on a phased approach and now includes the entire municipal area, with a formal agreement in place for us to collect paper and plastic waste separated by households into an orange bag. These bags are collected by contracted small business transport enterprises that have been established to support the recycling industry," explains Hunt.

It is estimated that 134 jobs have been created through the project to date, and over 10 000 tonnes of recyclables are collected annually. Based on the success of the trial, Mpact Recycling also established another facility to sort the incoming kerbside material, which is owned and operated by local entrepreneur and former Mpact employee, Mavis Ndlovu.

"We hope that the eThekwini model will serve as a blueprint for other municipalities around the country. This initiative highlights the positive opportunities such as job creation when companies and local government form partnerships and work together closely," says Hunt.

Mpact Recycling, formerly Mondi Recycling, has seven of its own operations in major centres around the country and supports 42 entrepreneur owned buy-back centres. It also supports 67 independent dealers throughout the country. Mpact Recycling offers a number of programmes to support recycling in businesses, schools and other institutions.

Mpact Recycling has also initiated other kerbside programmes in Gauteng, partnering with municipalities in this region for the collection of recyclable materials. While these are still in the fledgling stage, it is hoped that they too will grow to service multiple households in the area.

"We hope to continue working with government at all levels to expand the kerbside collection projects throughout South Africa," says Hunt. "The projects create jobs, and the steady increase in the collection of recycled paper has long-term benefits for the environment. Recycling reduces the pressure on landfill sites and decreases the need to import raw materials."

Mpact Recycling is proud to support National Clean-Up and Recycling Month in September.

Contact details for Mpact Recycling:
Johannesburg: 011 538 8600
Cape Town: 021 931 5106
Durban: 031 274 6600
Richards Bay: 035 751 1722

Issued by:

FTI Consulting – Strategic Communications

Chloe Webb +27 (0) 11 214 2421/ +27 (0)83 305 0144
Lianne Osterberger +27 (0) 11 214 2414 / +27 (0)83 27 27 313

On behalf of:

Mpact Limited

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

Notes to editors

Mpact is a leading southern African paper and plastics packaging group with revenues of R6.2bn in 2011. Mpact employs 3,700 people at 30 sites, of which 23 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.

Source: Mpact