South Africans are improving their recycling habits, despite only 13% of households recycling their waste, according to StatisticsSA. Recycled waste accounts for between 3%-10% of a staggering 110-million tons going into landfills each year, or 210 tons per minute. The Paper Recycling Association of SA says that 1.4-million tons of recyclable paper and paper packaging was diverted from landfill sites in 2016, an increase of about 2% a year since 2011 to 68.4%. The European average for paper recycling is 58%. Plastics SA claims a 35% increase in recycling since 2011, with a 42% recycling rate. The world’s most recycled packaging item is aluminium beverage cans, worth between 5c and 10c each. Hulamin has invested R300m in its Pietermaritzburg recycling plant, hoping for a part of the R430m worth of aluminium that South Africans throw away every year, according to EnviroCare. Despite some standout performers and a concerted effort from the government and the private sector, there are s...

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