Durban - South Africa reached it’s 2020 paper recycling target of 70 percent, three years before the deadline.
The Paper Recycling Association of South Africa (Prasa) recently announced the 2017 paper recycling rates.
Ursula Henneberry, Prasa operations director, said the paper recycling industry, consumers and collectors kept 1.3 million tonnes of paper, boxes and liquid packaging out of landfill, which would fill 1 539 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Henneberry said the 70 percent represents the 1.3 million tonnes of paper available for recovery, excluding books and archived records and non-recyclable paper like toilet paper.
“We are delighted with our latest statistics as it shows us that people are recycling more,” she said.
She said the association had set the 70 percent target in 2015, which was reached three years early.
She also said in the last six years, more than seven million tonnes of paper and paper packaging was recovered for recycling.
Jane Molony, Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa (Pamsa), said: “While our recovery rate has increased, there has been a drop in local consumption particularly in printing and writing grades, so much so that a newsprint paper machine was closed down last year.”
She said this resulted in the decline of tonnes from 1.4 million to 1.3 million.
“This decline is however in line with international trends. The average annual per person consumption in South Africa has dropped from around 50kg in 2011 to close to 40kg in 2017. Some of this reduction is attributable to cost saving, electronic media substitution and the country’s weak economic growth,” he said.