Types of Packaging Materials to Recycle in South Africa
Updated: Jun 23
There are four main categories of recyclable packaging materials or waste in South Africa, namely, plastics, fibres (papers), metals and glass. In addition to this, PETCO has started supporting the recycling of Liquid Board Packaging to form part of the mainstream recyclable packaging.
Keep in mind that, when we refer to recyclable packaging waste, we are referring to any packaging material that can be recycled that used to contain a product for household use.
Plastics - in South Africa plastics such as PET (1), HDPE (2), LDPE (4) and PP (5) are the main plastics that are recycled. Even though there is a growing interest in PVC (3) and PS (6), there aren't that money buy back centres that readily take up this materials due to limited buyers and converters of these stocks.
Fibres (Papers) - papers are recyclable materials made from wood and they form part of mainstream recyclable waste stream as they contribute heavily to circular economy by reducing deforestation. Materials recycled under fibres are white office paper usually called (HL1), coloured paper called common mixed paper by most buy back centres in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town, flat news which are newspaper-like stock and magazine papers which fall under the HL2 subcategory. The official classification of materials within paper category is PAP. Corrugated cardboard which is the most widely recycled in tonnage falls under this category mostly denoted K4.
Metals - metals under packaging recyclable scrap include only Aluminium Cans, Food/Steel Cans and Aluminium Old Roller perfume containers. The ALU containers are the most highly valuable of the packaging waste since they can be sold at very prices greater than R10.00 per kg to about R22.00 at some foundries.
Glass - glass is made mainly from sand, limestone (Calcium Carbonate) and soda ash which are relatively cheap and abundant materials. Due to this, glass is the least valuable of packaging recyclables. An addition, glass is heavy and dangerous to work with so it's not a good starting material. Nonetheless, it can be collected in high volumes due to availability. Prices for glass are usually under R1.00 per kg.
Other (LBP) - Liquid Board Packaging or Tetrapak cartons have been reintroduced as attractive waste stream into the packaging recycling space due to the mandatory EPR law. Past buyers of LBP was Mpact and Gayatri. However, now Gayatri paper mills is responsible to large scale conversion of LBP. LBPs are mainly made from a combination of either LDPE and K4 or LDPE, K4, ALU. They are 100% recyclable
At Circular Green, we recycle all of the above materials are we also broker for large collectors to enable them to deliver their stock to buyers that would pay top rands for their stock. Let's clean the environment and change lives!