Mpact Recycling, which is a leading paper and PET recycler in South Africa, collects approximately 630,000 tonnes per annum of recovered paper and plastic. The paper goes to the Mpact Group’s paper mills for processing into recycled-based cartonboard and containerboard and the PET bottles go to its recycled PET (rPET) plant – Mpact Polymers – for producing recycled PET bottles.

What is Recycling?

Recycling is the process of reusing discarded materials which can be made into new products. Newspapers can be made into egg boxes. Old cardboard boxes can remade into new ones. White office paper can be made into toilet paper. By recycling, we prevent valuable raw material going to landfill, and ensure that it goes back to air paper mills or Mpact Polymers for processing into new packaging.

Paper is a renewable and recyclable product, which has a positive impact on climate change. Paper stores carbon, sequestered by trees. Recycling it reduces greenhouse gas emissions by keeping carbon locked up in the paper for longer and extends the life of landfills.

This paper we recover is used in the production of cartonboard and containerboard.

Recycling facts

  • We recycle some 600,000 tonnes annually which is equivalent of filled Olympic swimming pools (if the volume of a pool is 2,500m3) or 17.25 times the amount of concrete that went into Soccer City/ FNB Stadium (80,000 m3).
  • Recycling one tonne of paper can save:
    • 26,498 litres of water
    • 1,438 litres of oil
    • Three cubic metres of landfill space
    • 1.32 tonnes of CO2 equivalent
  • Paper recycling accounts for over 100,000 income opportunities

Why Mpact Recycling?

We draw on our experience as one of the leading paper and plastics recycler in South Africa. As part of the Mpact Group we provide responsible and sustainable solutions that can be tailored to your needs.

Why is it important to recycle?

There are 3 main benefits when it comes to recycling paper – social, economic and environmental. “Long-term sustainable recycling in South Africa requires long-term sustainable investment in the country’s recycling capacity. This means investing in recycling facilities such as paper mills and plastic operations that create a market for recyclable materials. This will also allow the approximately 100,000 people who rely on constant volumes of recycled material to earn a sustainable living, from the factory employees to the entrepreneurs and small business owners, and the collectors.”

“Today, recycling is recognised by government and many South Africans as a job-creating beneficiation activity and integral to the pursuit of a green economy.”

There are tangible benefits to be derived from recycling.

Mpact Recycling managing director, John Hunt, says while the country’s citizens may have a general understanding of the benefits of recycling, they may not realise just how much good they are doing.

“The environmental impact of recycling is enormous. According to the Department of Environmental Affairs’ South African Waste Information Centre, more than 19.2 million tonnes of general waste and one million tonnes of hazardous waste went to South Africa’s 133 landfill sites in 2017. We are running out of landfill space in South Africa.”

This means that every item that is recycled is one less item going to the country’s strained landfill sites. Less waste to landfill means a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and ultimately less of a negative impact on the environment. By recycling waste, South Africans are helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

He says recycling also helps to address some of the country’s social ills such as unemployment and poverty. “Recycling has helped create work opportunities for more than 100 000 people, according to Recycle Paper ZA.”

“In line with this, Mpact Recycling has helped establish 45 buy-back centres in Gauteng alone. This includes eight new buy-back centres that were set up in Soweto, Tembisa and Boksburg last year. The programme provides income opportunities for about 1,000 people on a regular basis through the collection of recyclables.”

Hunt points out that recycling needs to remain economically viable. “The industry needs the support of various stakeholders to succeed and recycle in greater quantities.”

History

Mpact Recycling is a part of the Mpact group, which demerged from the Mondi Group and listed separately on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in July 2012. Mpact Recycling has since continued Mondi Recycling's former paper pickup initiative, inheriting and bettering on its reputation as the country's leading paper recycler.

Mpact Recycling has continued with the paper pick-up programmes Mondi Recycling put in place for schools, communities, offices and households. These programmes continue to heighten awareness and push recycling levels to new highs. We have expanded on Mondi's kerbside paper collection, which has helped change recycling habits. By encouraging paper recycling through the promotion of highly recognisable Ronnie Bags and through consistent, more regular kerbside collections, we have enabled recycling in the household.

Recycling is integral to Mpact's business model because the raw materials for the packaging paper business originate from the nation's recycled paper. But it's not just good business for us; it's also creating thousands of jobs in the informal sector. Small business entrepreneurs are encouraged to start paper and board collection businesses, while receiving advice, training, and to make available recycling equipment as and when needed. This is aimed at creating more employment for people in local communities.

Job creation

Mpact recycling embraces the social entrepreneurship empowerment model by partnering with local entrepreneurs to help collect recycled paper for us.

Recycling work also provides income opportunites for around 100,000* people in South Africa, many of whom are entrepreneurs and small business owners that rely on sustained volumes of recycled material to earn a living. (*PRASA)

Aside from 16 of its own operations in major centres around South Africa, Mpact Recycling has over 45 buy-back centres where traders deliver waste paper and plastic for payment. We also buy from a number of independent dealers throughout the country.

In addition, entrepreneurial companies have been empowered to facilitate our collection strategies. This is primarily related to owner drivers involved in collecting recovered paper.

Our milestones

1967
Merebank mill built by Anglo-American
1970’s
First buy-back centres established in South Africa
1975
Recycling division founded apart from paper mills under “Mondi Waste Paper”
1982
Felixton mill acquired
1991
Kerbside paper-pick -up programme
1995
Ronnie Recycler created to kick-off school paper bank programme
1995
Midrand branch acquired
1999
First co-operative venture in SA between councils and private sector (buy-back centre)
2001
Outsource services and create the Owner-driver arrangement
2004
Donations to SPCA and Hospice started from kerbside and office programs, donating a-rand-a-ton
2005
Midrand and Pretoria branches outsourced
2007
Anglo demerger, became MPSA
2011
Demerge from Mondi Group
2013
Pilot on the premise confidential shredding
2014
Re-launched Ronnie Recycler into the market
2016
Purchased Remade Recycling

Sources