Press releases

Still many opportunities to extract business and sustainability dividends from recycling

Every business, no matter what size, should be able to develop and implement a recycling strategy that both contributes to improving sustainability and makes good business sense.

This is the view of John Hunt, managing director of Mpact Recycling, who says there is still much scope for business to adopt and benefit from recycling.

“Companies are under increasing scrutiny of their contributions to sustainability and are devoting greater resources to demonstrate their approach. In spite of this scrutiny, paper recycling has yet to become a widespread and ingrained habit,” says Hunt.

“Material for recycling, especially paper, has intrinsic value because it is a key raw material for many paper mills, including Mpact’s own mills. In fact, waste paper is valuable enough for plants in China to spend considerable amounts to import large quantities from other parts of the world, including South Africa.”

The Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa (PAMSA) says that with 65% of recovered paper used as a raw material in paper mills, over half of the country’s mills depend on recycled fibre and a number of them use it as their only fibre source. Mpact’s own mills use around 70% of the recovered paper collected by Mpact Recycling to produce paper for recycled-based paper and corrugated packaging.

The pulp and paper industry is one of the leading employers in South Africa, contributing some R35.26 billion to the local economy, according to the Paper Recycling Association of South Africa (PRASA). Jobs are created through establishing buy-back centres, where traders deliver waste for payment. Local entrepreneurs also help collect recycled paper for Mpact Recycling, which has also empowered around 90 independent dealers throughout the country to collect paper.

Hunt hopes awareness of the value that can be derived will prompt more businesses to adopt a structured and committed approach to recycling.

“The rate of recovery of paper has increased dramatically since 2000, from 38 percent to about 60 percent. However, the majority of this comes from newspaper printers, box makers, supermarket chains and industry,” says Hunt.

Mpact Recycling, which accounts for 45% of paper and cardboard recycling, is ramping up efforts to raise recycling rates among businesses and households while optimising the recycling process from collection through to delivery at the gates of the pulp mills.

Mpact Recycling is South Africa’s biggest paper recycler and recovers more than 450 000 tonnes of paper each year. The company is part of the Mpact Group, one of southern Africa’s leading paper and plastic packaging companies.

Hunt says that of all the forms of recycling undertaken in South Africa, paper is probably the easiest place to start and is something that can be done in both the work place and at home relatively easily.

“Recycling paper, including cardboard, old newspapers, magazines, outdated telephone directories or schoolbooks is a simple process that goes a long way to reducing the impact on landfill sites, creating jobs and reusing items that are simple to sort and recycle.”

Recycled paper is made into many different paper-based products used by consumers every day such as boxes for cereal, toothpaste and other boxes found in supermarkets.

PRASA says that for every tonne of paper recycled, 3m³ of landfill space is saved. This reduces costs to municipalities as their transport costs decrease as a result of not having to take the paper to the sites.

Hunt emphasises that awareness initiatives such as South Africa’s Green Office Week help to encourage businesses to commit to sustainable recycling programmes offer by companies such as Mpact Recycling.

“To organise office collection for used paper, businesses can contact Mpact Recycling. Depending on size of the company and other requirements Mpact Recycling will either collect used paper or direct the enquirer to the closest drop-off point. For large companies that are paper intensive, bins and bags will be provided and collected by Mpact. Mpact Recycling also offers a confidential shredding service.”

If you would like your workplace to become involved in recycling paper you can call the following toll-free number: 0800 022 112

Note to editors:

Mpact is a leading southern African paper and plastics packaging group with revenues of R6.8bn in 2012. Mpact employs 3,790 people at 31 sites, of which 24 are manufacturing sites. Mpact earns approximately 10% of its sales outside of South Africa. It also has plants in Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Mpact has the number one market position in corrugated packaging, recycled-based cartonboard and containerboard, recovered paper collection, PET preforms, styrene and PET trays and plastic jumbo bins. These accounted for approximately 90% of its revenue in 2011.