WITH South Africa’s population expected to increase to 59.5 million by 2020, the country needs to find sustainable ways to deal with the enormous amount of waste a growing population is expected to generate.
It’s a problem government cannot solve on its own and requires commitment from every business, community and individual.
With Clean-up and Recycling Week (September 10 to 16) approaching, the spotlight is on the measures that ordinary South Africans can take to help protect the environment and preserve the country’s natural resources.
John Hunt, the managing director for Mpact Recycling, said one of the easiest and most effective ways to preserve the environment is for people to separate their waste and make sure all recyclables are properly disposed of. “It’s a matter of understanding what items are recyclable and setting up a programme for separating waste at home or in the workplace,” he said.
The programme can be as simple as having separate containers for paper, plastic, tins, glass and non-recyclable household waste. If your neighbourhood is part of Mpact Recycling’s kerbside collection programme, paper packaging, boxes, milk and juice cartons can go into Ronnie bags.
People in neighbourhoods that are not part of the kerbside collection programme can take their paper and paper-based packaging to participating schools and community centres. “They need to look out for Mpact’s large, green paper banks at these locations,” noted Hunt.
He urges families to get children involved in the process. “Recycling can become a shared activity for families, with different members being responsible for different parts of the process. It’s also a way to educate children about the benefits of recycling and the importance of preserving the world we live in.”
A good idea is to gather communities together and organise the cleaning up of a local park or neighbourhood streets. “Not only does the community get to take part in beautifying the surroundings, neighbours get to know each other better and clean-ups can become a regular occurrence.
“It’s also a good time to get the workforce involved. Time can be set aside to clean up a local community or shared spaces. Not only is it a good teambuilding process, but is an excellent way to instil an environmentally aware mindset among employees,” says Hunt.
While recycling is a simple process, these are actions households and businesses can adopt to ensure recyclable material is usable when it reaches the recycling operations.
For more information visit www.mpactrecycling.co.za
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