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Only a tiny percentage of waste is recycled

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Although most people understand the role of recycling, the vast majority of households do not recycle their household waste

The orange bag recycling programme is meant to encourage the recycling of paper and plastics.

ONLY five percent of waste produced in the Northern Cape is recycled.

According to a report, Environment, in-depth analysis of the General Household Survey 2002-2016, released by Statistics South Africa, 12.9% of households in South Africa reported that they recycled their waste. The majority of these were in urban areas.

While only a small percentage of residents in the Northern Cape actively recycled, 2.7% of households openly admitted that they dumped or left their rubbish anywhere.

A total of 69% of people in the Province have their rubbish removed by the municipality at least once a week. Less than 1% of the Province’s residents reported that their refuse was removed less than once a week.

According to the report, the rapid growth in solid waste and the fact that there is a shortage of suitable land to dispose of waste means that South Africa is running out of space for waste disposal.

A audit on six rubbish dumps in the Province, undertaken in 2016 by AfriForum, showed that the rubbish dumps in Jan Kempdorp, Kathu and Postmasburg did not comply with the minimum requirements as set out in the National Environmental Management: Waste Act (No. 59 of 2008).

According to the report by Stats SA, although most people understand the role of recycling, the vast majority of households do not recycle their household waste.

More than three-quarters (75.8%) of households that did not separate waste for recycling responded that they did not need to recycle as they could merely throw their waste in the dustbin for refuse collection.

“Waste recycling was most common in provinces with the largest urban populations and least common in the most rural provinces.

The Western Cape had the highest percentage (20.3%) of urban households that sorted waste for recycling, followed by Gauteng at 12.7%. With only 1.2% of urban households recycling waste, Limpopo is the lowest in the country.

“Households headed by young adults aged 18-24 years (5.3%) displayed far lower percentages of recycling than those aged 65 years and older. Almost one in five households aged 65 years and older sorted waste for recycling. These figures support international trends which show that millennials (16-34 years of age) are least likely to recycle, while the oldest age groups are most likely to do so.”

The recycling behaviour of households also depends largely on the ability of municipalities to provide adequate refuse removal services.

Although more than 80% of municipalities had already initiated some kind of recycling programme by 2007, municipalities struggled with implementation due to a lack of capacity or infrastructure.

More than 90% of recycling households whose sorted waste was fetched by the municipality indicated that it took place on a weekly basis.

The percentage of households whose sorted waste was removed on a weekly basis declined to 75.4% for waste removed by companies that were contracted by the municipality, 69.6% for private companies, and 51.3% for cases where waste is disposed of at drop-off points.