Press releases

Diepkloof’s newest buy-back centre receives support from Mpact Recycling & TetraPak

Lucas Malope Mafa (46) runs a business which focuses on recovering recyclable products. His day starts at 8h00 and finishes at 17h00, operating every day of the week. On average his staff of four, deals with about 60 suppliers a day and processes over 48 tonnes of material in a month. 

Lucas Malope Mafa (46) runs a business which focuses on recovering recyclable products. His day starts at 8h00 and finishes at 17h00, operating every day of the week. On average his staff of four, deals with about 60 suppliers a day and processes over 48 tonnes of material in a month. 

Mafa is the owner of a buy back centre in Diepkloof, Soweto, the only centre in the area which collects used long-life milk and juice cartons in the area. He converted an old dump site into a recycling buy back centre.

According to Agripa Munyai, Circular Economy Expert for TetraPak SA, it is estimated that over 50 000 tonnes of liquid packaging is consumed per year in South Africa, and Mpact aims to improve collection of this material through mechanisms like its Buy-Back Centres.

“Milk and juice cartons are used by consumers daily and can be found everywhere. Mpact now has the ability to process these cartons at its state-of-the-art facility based in Springs – which has the capacity to recycle 24,000 tonnes of used liquid cartons per year,” says Donna-Mari Noble, Communications Manager at Mpact Recycling.

According to Desmond Moloisi, small business manager, Mpact Recycling “the Diepkloof buy-back centre collects about three tonnes of cartons per month; as well as about 10 tonnes of cardboard and other grades of paper and plastic, which then gets sold onto Mpact Recycling.  Mafa notes that we even handle polyethylene terephthalate (PET) or cold drink bottles, other grades of plastics, as well as tins and cans,” Mafa explains.

Mafa says, he doesn’t simply rely on collectors to bring him recyclables, he goes out to various shops in and around his neighbourhood, taverns, schools and taxi ranks in a bid to source the recyclables.

But he admits, the day-to-day running of the centre is costly and he needs to increase his volumes to sustain his business. 

“When the collectors bring their recyclables, they need to get paid for them, as it is their source of income. The bakkie I hire to pick up material from all over Diepkloof is an expense. The staff that works for me, need to get paid every month. Balancing the financials isn’t always easy, but what keeps my mind at ease is the constant support I receive from Mpact Recycling. I know I always have a buyer for my materials,” Mafa explains.  

Further to this Mpact Recycling and Tetra Pak have partnered with Mafa to equip the Diepkloof Buy Back Centre with 10 new trolleys, sign boards, and personal protective clothing, hats etc.

Mafa projects with the assistance from Mpact and Tetra Pak he should more than double his tonnages.

“We have the capacity to process more numbers, especially the liquid packaging. and this partnership will assist with that. We can process and sort material faster and more efficiently. With the centre working at an optimal level, we can create more jobs, and improve the overall sustainability of the community,” says Mafa. 

Mpact Recycling Communications Manager, Donna-Mari Noble says, they are delighted to be part of the process. “We can always do with more, whether at home or independent buy back centres. We recognise the work being done by Mafa and his team and wish to ensure they continue recycling and educating the community at large on the power of recycling. Especially at this time of the year, with Christmas and the numerous recyclables filling up homes, such an initiative is great as it allows for the community to sell their recyclables to the centre and in turn the environment benefits,” Noble says.

Mafa says recycling isn’t simply a business, but a way of creating sustainability. Ultimately as the business grows, it will also help in reducing the waste going to landfills,” Mafa concludes.