Media coverage

Wrap yourself and your gifts in green

The festive season is a time when households tend to have a bit more of a variety of good things as families and friends reconnect and reflect.

Gifts are given and many people will find and accumulate considerable amounts of wrapping paper and packaging materials.

“And while no one wants to be the person who puts a dampener on celebrations, part of the preparation for a great festive season should include thinking about what to do with the inevitable extra waste,” says John Hunt, managing director of Mpact Recycling.

Hunt says Mpact Recycling is asking consumers to put aside wrapping paper, all other recyclable paper and packaging rather than dispose of it with the rest of the household waste.

“Although it seems the easiest way to dispose of recyclable material is to throw it away with the rest of the garbage, Mpact Recycling has made it easy for communities to continue recycling throughout the festive season in spite of the lethargy that is often brought on by festive eating and drinking.”

The company has a number of Ronnie Bank drop-off points conveniently located at schools, churches and community centres countrywide. Consumers can locate their nearest Ronnie Bank at

Ronnie Banks are much more than useful drop-off points for your paper. The schools and other organisations that host Ronnie Banks are paid by the ton for what they collect.

Hunt says this makes recycling a useful additional source of funds.

“Recycling paper is especially easy around this time of year as there is an abundance of it to be found, meaning that sorting and separating it is less of an issue for consumers,” he says.

Mpact collects upwards of 450 000 tons of recovered paper per year and most of this is used by the group’s paper mills in the manufacture of recycle-based paper and packaging.

Hunt says that using only virgin fibre in the manufacture of paper-based packaging is not sustainable for the environment or for the packaging sector. It’s therefore critical that enough recycled paper is collected for conversion into fibre.

The input of recovered paper has a positive impact in terms of climate change because it replaces virgin material; reduces greenhouse gas emissions linked to the production of virgin fibre, and prevents the land-filling or incineration of recovered paper.

Last year alone, all the paper collected for recycling saved landfill space equivalent 1 403 Olympic-size pools, according to figures provided by the Paper Recycling Association of SA (PRASA).

“There is also a growing awareness and sense of responsibility among consumers to buy packaged foods and goods that are environmentally sustainable.

“So by recycling at home, consumers are at the source of this positive change.”

Recycling work also provides jobs 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.

“Beyond the gifts, the feasts and the festivities that characterise this time of year is the spirit of giving, and in this case, giving back to our communities and to the environment. The effort that it takes for one person or household to recycle is small, but the difference that it makes will be felt far and wide.”