File image
At home, Nico de Jager is recycling more than ever before. “And if I’m at the shop, if I can carry my items in my hand, I will, or I take my own bags to the shops.”

De Jager, Joburg’s MMC for Environment and Infrastructure Services, hopes that more of the city’s residents will follow suit.

From tomorrow, in a phased approach, the council will make separation at source mandatory for households in more than 300 areas.

“We’re working towards 30% of all waste to be recycled by 2020 in Joburg. Right now we only recycle 10%.

“It’s not a stick approach. We’re calling on the goodwill of residents and that’s why we have had such a positive response.”

Penalties, though, are likely in the future.

He believes there’s an appetite for recycling in Joburg. “Our landfills only have six more years. We have to do what we can to avoid having to send our waste to the next available landfill site in Delmas.”

Through the project, the City hopes 13kg of materials would be recycled per household each month. Households will be provided with colour-coded bags to help separate their recyclable materials from food waste, which Pikitup would collect.

Concerns about the project’s potential ramifications on waste pickers were unfounded, he said.

“If anything their lives will be easier. They won’t have to sift through the nappies, sanitary pads and food. They can get what they need directly from the bag”

* For a full list of suburbs affected by the measure, see http://www.pikitup.co.za/list-of-suburbs-for-mandatory-separation-at-source-for-dry-waste/

The Saturday Star