Press releases

Paper recycling at home will directly reduce impact on landfill sites, increase employment

Recommended as potential “pull quotes” for consumer articles:

  • Paper consumed in people’s homes and offices represents the biggest opportunity to grow in terms of recycling paper in South Africa
  • Only 5% of all paper collected for recycling comes from households
  • Just 1% of all paper collected for recycling comes from community depots

SA’s National Recycling Day, on Friday 14 September, is the perfect opportunity for South Africans to take a more active role in recycling especially in the home.

“If you’re new to recycling initiatives, then paper is the best place to start,” says John Hunt, managing director of Mpact Recycling. “Recycling paper, including cardboard, old newspapers, magazines, outdated telephone directories or schoolbooks is a simple process that goes a long way to reducing the impact on landfill sites, creating jobs and reusing items that are simple to sort and recycle from home.”

Mpact Recycling, formerly Mondi Recycling, is South Africa’s biggest paper recycler, recovering over 450 000 tonnes of paper each year. Mpact Recycling is part of the Mpact Group, one of southern Africa’s leading paper and plastics packaging companies.

SA’s National Recycling Day aims to increase awareness by educating the community about the social, environmental and economic benefits of recycling. National Recycling Day forms part of National Clean-Up week which takes place nationwide from 10-15 September 2012. During this week all South Africans are urged to do something towards cleaning local communities.

”A large portion of the paper that ends up in people’s homes and offices is not currently recycled. Ensuring that this paper is collected for recycling represents a great opportunity to increase the total amount of paper in South Africa being recycled,” says Hunt.

Hunt adds that only five percent of all paper collected by Mpact comes from households and even less than that - just one percent - comes from the community depots which can be found at shopping centres, or schools in community neighbourhoods.

Here are some useful facts, pointers, hints and tips to get you and your family seriously thinking about how to make better re-use of household waste paper.

Getting started: What to separate?

Many people say that they don’t even know where to start recycling from home,” says Hunt. “The process is fairly simple when you know how. The very first thing is to understand what papers can be recycled and what can’t.”

Useful “do’s” and “don’ts” to remember when separating your recycling products:


Old memos / letters
Computer paper
Used photocopy paper
Windowless envelopes
Old books
Pale coloured paper (invoices, etc.)
Cardboard (flattened)
Old telephone books and Yellow Pages directories


Polystyrene or paper cups and plates
Yoghurt cartons
Sweet / chip wrappers
Blueprint paper
Organic material (such as old food and vegetables)
Cigarette ends
Tissues and paper towels
Carbon paper
Any bags which include a foiled lining on the inside, e.g. dog food bags
Post-it notes (these are not recyclable because of the glues used to make them)
Wax paper or waxed cartons (such as frozen fish boxes)

“Unfortunately, when people put the incorrect materials into recycling containers, these items need to be manually separated out, which is very expensive and time consuming,” says Hunt. “In addition, these items will probably end up in a landfill, which means your separating efforts have all been in vain.”

Where to go?

“Once the separating rules are clear, the next confusion is that many people just don’t know where to take their paper for recycling,” says Hunt.


There are Mpact paper recycling bins in place at many retailers, local churches, schools, old age homes, community centres and dump sites. Just look out for them – most of our bins are now bright green and say “Mpact Recycling” on them; some may still be orange and have the Mondi logos on them, but are still in use.

Kerbside neighbourhood collections:
“There are also home collection programmes in many neighbourhoods using specific orange bags for collecting your paper for recycling,” Hunt adds. “This is the easiest, most efficient way to recycling your paper.”

Some interesting facts about paper recycling:

  • The rate of recovery of paper has increased dramatically since 2000, from 38 percent to 59 percent in 2011. However, the majority of this comes from newspaper printers, box makers, supermarket chains and industry.
  • Recycled paper is made into many different paper-based products used by consumers every day made into boxes such as cereal, toothpaste and boxes found in supermarkets.
  • The Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa says that with 65% of recovered paper used as a raw material in paper mills, over half of the country’s paper mills depend on recycled fibre and a number of them use it as their only fibre source.
  • Paper can be recycled up to seven times.
  • The pulp and paper industry is one of the leading employers in South Africa, contributing some R35.26 billion to the local economy (Source: PRASA – Paper Recycling Association of South Africa). Jobs are created through establishing buy-back centres, where traders deliver waste for payment. Local entrepreneurs also help collect recycled paper for Mpact Recycling.

Your paper recycling efforts will directly improve our environment:

  • According to the Paper Recycling Association of South Africa (PRASA), for every tonne of paper recycled, 3m³ of landfill space is saved. This reduces costs to municipalities as their transport costs decrease as a result of not having to take the paper to the sites.
  • In a report by Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), a waste action group based in the UK, on average, when comparing the manufacture of recycled paper versus virgin paper (paper made from trees), one tonne of recycled paper can save 1.32 tonnes of CO2 equivalent. This considers the complete lifecycle and takes into account that, if placed in landfill sites, degrading paper could produce methane, a greenhouse gas which is 23 times more powerful than CO2.
  • The Environmental Paper Network confirms that recycled paper, when compared to virgin paper, uses less total energy, saves water and produces fewer emissions (
  • The Recycling Guide ( says that 70% less energy is required to recycle paper compared with making it from raw materials and 73% less air pollution than if it was made from raw materials.

“People don’t realise that when they recycle paper, they are creating a future for others through job creation and direct benefits to the environment - this alone should be a great motivator to get more households to participate,” says Hunt.

“We recover almost half a million tonnes of paper each year,” says Hunt. “But, with your help, we would really like to increase this by many more tonnes over the next few years.”

To find out about collection initiatives in your neighbourhood, from home or at community depots, please call 0800 022 112 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For more information about National Recycling Day (14 September 2012), please visit:

For more information on Mpact Recycling please visit:

Contact details for Mpact:

Johannesburg: 011 538 8600
Cape Town: 021 931 5106
Durban: 031 274 6600
Richards Bay: 035 751 1722

Issued by:

FTI Consulting – Strategic Communications

Lianne Osterberger +27 (0) 11 214 2414 / +27 (0)83 27 27 313

Chloe Webb +27 (0) 11 214 2421 / +27 (0)83 305 0144

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.