The average South African uses 40kg of paper a year.
In 2011, the average was 10kg more.
On World Recycling Day on Monday, the Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa (Pamsa) said the decline was in line with international trends.
“Some of this reduction is attributable to cost saving, electronic media substitution and the country’s weak economic growth,” executive director Jane Molony said.
National paper recycling association, RecyclePaperZA, said the 1.3 million tons of paper, boxes and liquid packaging that were kept out of landfills in 2017 would fill 1,539 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
In the past six years, more than 7 million tons of paper and paper packaging have been recovered for recycling.
“If baled, this amount would cover the surface of 1,273 soccer fields, one metre deep,” RecyclePaperZA spokesperson Samantha Choles said.
Paper can be recycled six or seven times before its fibres become too short.
In SA, around 100,000 people rely on recycling for their livelihoods.
“The unsung heroes are our country’s recycling collectors along with industry players who operate collection and drop-off schemes as well as buy-back centres,” Molony said.
BY: NIVASHNI NAIR
SOURCE: TMG DIGITAL