Investing in our planet this Earth Day and every day

Earth Day is an annual event on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. This year’s theme is Invest in our Planet, calling on both businesses and individuals to contribute to a more prosperous and equitable future through collective action for change.

First held in 1970, Earth Day now includes a wide range of events coordinated globally by, involving over a billion people from more than 193 countries – making it the largest civic observance in the world.

The greatest concern to our health and well-being, as well as our planet, is that we’re simply not conscious of what we buy, how it’s made, where it comes from, or what happens to our purchases after use. Ensuring your waste gets into the recycling stream is the greatest act you can do for our planet.

Here are some ways that individuals and businesses can invest in the green economy:

  1. Think before you purchase

    Being a conscious consumer is about selecting items that are eco-friendly, ethical and sustainable.

    The first part of living a more sustainable life is refusing to buy fast fashion, unethical products or chemical laden products.

    The second part is about reducing your ecological footprint by being more conscious of the amount of kilometers your purchases takes to get to you, disposing of materials in the correct manner and reconsidering the type of packaging items come in.

    Some of South Africa’s largest retailers and brands are now putting a greater emphasis on the recyclability of their packaging. An example of this is Freshpact’s trays that provide a sustainable way to package fruit and vegetables for retailers.

  2. A small act can go a long way

    You can help reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfills and increase the sustainability of the environment by recycling at home.

    Recycling paper which includes cardboard, old newspapers, magazines, outdated directories or schoolbooks is a simple process that goes a long way to reducing the impact on landfill sites, creating employment and reusing items that are simple to sort and recycle from home.

    You have three recycling options: take them to your nearest school or community to support their Ronnie Recycler programme; take your recyclables to a municipal drop-off point or a buy-back centre; or let collectors take your recyclables which will end up at Recycling branch for processing.

    Mpact Recycling has partnered with over 40 buy-back centres across South Africa who supply their waste paper and plastic for remuneration.

  3. Recycling plastic presents income opportunities for South Africans

    According to the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE), increased recycling and beneficiation of waste can act as a catalyst and contributor to the circular economy with the potential to create up to 150 000 new jobs by 2024.

    One of the best motivating forces for recycling plastic waste comes from the income opportunities that it creates. This is why South Africa has such a large sector of informal waste collectors, citizens who collect plastic recyclables from landfills and other waste streams and sell them to recycling companies for a profit.

    The large volume of pre-and post-consumer waste generated by factories, businesses and households each year provides opportunities for these entrepreneurs to start SMMEs to increase the recycling rate in South Africa.

    This, in turn, creates more opportunities for collectors who form part of the recycling hierarchy. This is followed by drivers, entrepreneurs and more formalised collectors , small and medium enterprises at the entrepreneurial level, and medium to large recycling companies and manufacturers, at the top level.

    Mpact Recycling’s recycling journey starts with the collection and delivery of recyclables through its dealer network and from buy-back centres and branches located countrywide. Its broad national footprint also includes community recycling and collection projects throughout South Africa – an essential element of enterprise development.

  4. Ronnie Recycling Schools Programme

    Recycling starts from a young age and many youth know already what is good and bad for their environment.

    The Ronnie Recycling Schools Programme is looking for schools and communities to join its Ronnie Recycler programme in 2022. 

    The programme invites nursery schools, primary schools and high schools in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape to collect as much recyclable paper, cardboard, cartons and packaging as possible. With the introduction of other grades as we go along this year.

    Building on the success of its Schools Recycling Competition around the country for the last six years, Mpact Recycling honours schools that have exhibited the greatest commitment to the initiative and increased their paper recycling figures significantly every year.

  5. Onsite waste management

    Companies cannot ignore the growing problem of dealing with waste if we want a sustainable future for our planet.

    An integrated waste management plan, where waste streams are identified, classified and managed according to best practical environmental options will result in minimising waste sent to landfill. Businesses are then able to make recyclable materials into something useful and tangible.

    As part of the Mpact Group, Remade Recycling offers you a free onsite waste management audit where your waste generation and waste management processes are accurately assessed, and a tailored solution is recommended that best suits the requirements of your business.

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