Johannesburg has officially started mandatory recycling – here’s what you need to know

As of 1 July 2018, the City of Johannesburg has implemented its ‘separation at source’ programme in a bid to cut down on pollution and help save the environment.

Separation at source refers to households setting aside dry recyclable waste (plastic, paper, glass and cans) and household generated garden waste for the purpose of re-use, recycling, composting or further processing of these materials.

In preparation for this move, Pikitup released a guideline of how exactly the programme will work.

According to Pikitup, residents in areas where the separation at source is mandatory will be issued with a clear plastic bag or a blue bag on a weekly basis to place recyclable materials such as: paper, plastic, metal and glass inside the bag for collection on a weekly basis.

In terms of the mandatory separation at source programme, residents are also required to recycle their garden waste.

In this regard, residents are required to drop-off their households generated garden waste at Pikitup’s drop off sites for the purpose of compositing and or further processing, it said.

It added that the mandatory separation at source only applies in areas where the programme has been implemented on a voluntary basis since 2009. A full list of these areas can be found on its website.

In line with a previous interview with BusinessTech, the city has said that there are currently no penalties for those who don’t recycle.

“This in order for residents to be given the opportunity to improve the recycling rates in the affected areas, without the threat of a fine being imposed,” it said.

“The city will also be intensifying education and awareness programmes to positively influence the recycling rates in areas where separation at source is mandatory.”

It added that it plans to roll the project out to the entire of City of Joburg over the next three years.

Below Pikitup outlined some of the other important questions and answers related to the programme:


1. How do Townhouses, complexes and flats participate in the project?

For multi-unit dwellings that are currently receiving the separation at source service, they will continue receiving recycling bags from Pikitup or Pikitup’s service providers through their body corporates or any nominated body.

2. Should the items be rinsed or washed before they are placed in the bag?

Yes, this allows material not to be contaminated.

3. What happens if residents do not recycle? Does this mean that their waste is not going to be collected?

Their waste is going to be collected. However, residents are urged to participate in the programme to save the environment and to prolong the City’s landfill airspace.

4. Will my recyclables be collected on the same day as my refuse?

Yes. If your refuse is collected on a Tuesday; your recyclables will also be collected on the same day.

5. Who can residents contact if they did not receive their clear plastic bags?

Residents are advised to call the City’s Call Centre 0860562874 or a Pikitup depot in their area.

6. Will the waste pickers / reclaimers be affected by this?

Waste pickers are not going to be worse off from making separation at source mandatory. Instead, it is expected that there will be more recyclables available at the point of collection where waste pickers typically collect what’s valuable to them.


Read: Pick n Pay to trial new eco-friendly bags and boxes

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