6 June, 2018
SA's paper recycling 2020 target of 70% reached three years early
| Ursula Henneberry- operations director of the Paper Recycling Association of South Africa
- 1,3 million tonnes of paper and paper
packaging diverted from landfill in 2017.
- Increased rates driven by industry
investment for local beneficiation in mills.
- An extensive collection network and
- Sector challenges the need for paper
and paper packaging industry tax - prefers route
of public-private partnerships.
The Paper Recycling Association
of South Africa (PRASA) has announced the 2017
paper recycling rates. Last year the paper recycling
industry along with conscientious consumers and
thousands of collectors kept 1,3
million tonnes of paper and paper, boxes and
liquid packaging out of landfill
would fill 1,539 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
tonnage represents 70% of the 1,8
million tonnes of paper available for recovery,
which excludes books and archived records, and
unrecyclable paper like toilet tissue.
are delighted with our latest statistics as it shows
us that people are recycling more," says Ursula
Henneberry, PRASA operations director. In 2015, the association set a target of
70% by the year 2020, and this has been achieved
three years early.
the past six years alone, more than seven million
tonnes of paper and paper packaging have been
recovered for recycling. If baled,
this amount would cover the surface of 1,273
soccer fields, one metre deep. "The
unsung heroes are our country's recycling collectors
along with industry players who operate collection
and drop-off schemes as well as buy back centres,"
our recovery rate has increased, there has been a
drop in local consumption particularly in printing
and writing grades, so much so that a newsprint
paper machine was closed down last year," remarks
Jane Molony, executive director of the Paper Manufacturers
Association of South Africa (PAMSA). This has
resulted in a slight drop in the actual tonnage from
1,4 million tonnes to 1,3 million tonnes.
decline is however in line with international
trends," adds Molony. The average annual per person
consumption in South Africa has dropped from around
50kg in 2011 to close to 40kg in 2017. Some of this
reduction is attributable to cost saving, electronic
media substitution and the country's weak economic
Robust local beneficiation
Jane Molony - executive
director of the Paper Manufacturers Association of
The paper packaging industry does not
need another tax
on the Section 28 notice1
(published on 6 December 2017) calling for Industry
Waste Management Plans, PAMSA asserts that the
private sector consistently invests in voluntary
waste management initiatives without it being
mandatory. "We would prefer not to have mandatory
taxes as these will increase the price of packaging.
And our economy and already cash-strapped consumers
cannot afford additional costs," explains Molony.
addition the objectives of the notice will not be
met through more taxes but rather through
strengthening existing partnerships between
industry, municipalities, the Department of
Environmental Affairs and other public institutions.
It is through partnerships with the
likes of the Fibre Processing and Manufacturing
(FP&M) SETA that PRASA have trained over 6,000
recycling collectors and entrepreneurs since 2010.
PRASA has also worked with the FP&M SETA and the
Quality Council for
Trades and Occupations to
formalise the qualifications that these entrepeneurs
to Statistics SA, there has been a substantial
increase of jobs in the paper recycling sector from
2016 to 2017, which has been buoyed by robust demand
from paper mills.
sector has the capacity to process all the waste
paper it collects and less than 5% was exported in
2017. As a result, South Africa is less vulnerable
to the vagaries of the international waste paper
market and although China's moratorium on waste
paper imports did have some impact, it was neglible
compared with the likes of that in the USA and the
an industry, we embark on numerous awareness drives,
promoting better separation-at-source to reduce the
contamination of waste paper and provide a better
quality fibre for paper manufacturers," Molony
|Siphamandla Ntshangase (front right) operates a recycling
business in the
|Mary Phillips owns and
manages The Waste Takers, and
servicesareas such as
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