When it comes to generating waste, SA is among the worst offenders, ranking 15th by volume globally, according to the World Bank. A key part of the solution to the 50Mt a year problem lies in recycling, a field in which SA excels in some areas but lags behind badly in others. The paper industry has shown what can be achieved, having last year recycled 70% of the 1.8Mt of waste-paper materials spewed out primarily by the consumer sector. It was a target set by the Paper Recycling Association of SA to be reached in 2020, with the 1.3Mt recycled being enough to fill 1,539 Olympic-sized swimming pools. "SA’s 70% recycling rate is similar to levels achieved in Europe," says John Hunt, MD of Mpact’s recycling division, which procures more than 660,000t annually for use in the group’s three carton-board mills. To move much beyond a 70% recycling rate is a big ask, says Hunt. The challenge is to collect more discarded paper material from households. "People know it’s the right thing to do b...

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