Global Recycling Day highlights the importance of recycling

Global Recycling Day was celebrated on Thursday 18 March and this year’s theme was about recognizing recycling as an essential industry.

According to information on the website of the Global Recycling Foundation, recycling is now regarded as the seventh resource in addition to the sixth natural resources and the foundation believes the buying and selling of raw materials from recyclables in a world where the natural resources are rapidly declining, will contribute to the conservation of the earth’s precious natural resources.

Although many of us might be familiar with the 3 R’s, reduce, re-use and recycle, doing the actual recycling at home, can for some newbies, striving to go green, still prove to be a somewhat daunting task.

Bolander found some simple tips on recycling perfect for beginners on the City of Cape Town’s website. Firstly, keep in mind that before recycling, reducing the waste can be done by looking at which items can be repaired and re-used before being disposed of this, in doing so this will reduce the amount of waste you need to recycle, once this is done, recycling can begin.

The City provides these tips on how to recycle:

• The first step in recycling is to separate your waste. To make separating the waste easier, it is best to obtain a separate set of bins in which to place your recyclable waste, organic waste and the rest of your rubbish.

• Next comes the separation of the recyclable waste. Ensure that you have three separate bins for your recycling, one for paper and cardboard, one for plastic and tins and then a separate one for glass.

• Once this is sorted, the City advises to store these materials indoors, if you can until its disposed of at the drop-off sites or collected by a recycling service.

• Kitchen and garden waste can be used to make your own compost. This can be done by creating a compost heap, getting a compost container or getting a compost worm or bin. According to information on the website, most organic matter that will rot or decay can be used to make compost with, but there are guidelines as to what might work well and what not. Materials that are very compostable include things such as grass cuttings, leaves, soil, branches, vegetable and fruit peels, eggshells, tea bags, wood fire ash, wood or sawdust shavings, whereas things that might not be as compostable include meat (which attracts rodents), anything that will not rot, garden waste sprayed with pesticides or any toilet or septic tank waste.

Things to remember about recycling paper is to always separate white office paper from magazines and newspapers, flatten carboard boxes to save space, rinse out milk and juice cartons well and try to store all paper for recycling indoors to prevent it from getting wet. When it comes to cans and tins, rinse and squash cans for recycling, cans can also be separated into aluminum and steel.

To recycle glass always check whether the glass can be recycled, glass bottles can be recycled, but some kinds of glass cannot be recycled. In recycling plastics, always rinse and flatten plastic bottles before recycling and check the label, you can identify the kind of plastic by reading the recycling logo or recycling triangle imprinted with a number on the plastic to help you with knowing whether the item can be recycled. The City warns that plastic with numbers 3 or 7 cannot be recycled in Cape Town.

The City has a list of recycling drop-off sites, search on the City’s websites for more detailed information.

For a look at the City’s complete guide on recyclable materials go to:


The key to recycling is knowing which materials to seperate and how these items should be prepared for recyling.