How to recycle – A step by step guide


To encourage more South Africans to recycle, Polyco PRO (Plastics Responsibility Organisation), has launched its Million+ How to Recycle Series, which guides users on recycling best practices, whether you are at home, work, or school.

“We are aiming at getting more than one million South Africans to recycle their used plastic packaging. Our new How to Recycle Series had been designed to be a user-friendly, easily accessible guide to get people started,” says Nicola Rowe, brand manager at Polyco.

Depending on whether you would like to start your recycling journey at home, work or at school, Polyco’s How to Recycle guide will clearly take you through each step.

At home

As a committed consumer, your first step is to shop for items that can be recycled. Packaging is always marked with a recycling symbol (triangle) that indicates whether it can be recycled. Your second step is to set up your home bin system that clearly separates plastic recycling from general waste. It is also important to keep your recyclables clean.

Before collection, the next step is to place all recyclable material into clear bags. Non-recyclable waste should go into the standard black refuse bags. Lastly, make sure that your clear recycling bags are placed outside only on the days that recycling is collected in your area. Alternatively, drop your recycling off at the nearest local depot.

At school

Polyco has designed a full classroom checklist to help implement recycling efforts at schools. An important step to complete your schools recycling programme is to partner with a recycling collection service nearby.

At work

Starting a recycling programme at work will need buy-in from all your colleagues and management. Start by conducting a waste audit to determine how much waste is produced, where the most is produced and how much of these volumes can be recycled. With the complete picture, approach your colleagues to get their ideas and buy-in.

Once you have the commitment of your colleagues, start engaging other important stakeholders, like the facility management and local waste management service providers. Once all the important stakeholders have been informed, put your waste audit findings and recycling targets into an organisational recycling plan. Once the recycling plan has been implemented, speak to your recycling collection company about how they will report on the waste and recycling volumes collected each week.

“If the guide can encourage one person to start a recycling campaign at school or work, this may encourage friends and family to start their own. Action spreads through word-of-mouth and Million+ is based on this concept. If each person encourages another to start recycling, we can drive a recycling revolution in South Africa that will eventually put an end to plastic in the natural environment,” Rowe concludes.

To access Polyco’s How to Recycle Series and to start your own recycling campaign, visit their Million+ website

Compiled by Justine Fortuin