01 Jul TGRC: South Africans are recycling more than ever
Last week I attended The Glass Recycling Company (TGRC)’s 6th Annual Green Dialogues where they gave us the good news that South Africans are recycling more than ever.
I think we all feel the need to do our bit to preserve the environment for future generations. There’s already been a huge shift in mindsets from when I was a child with regards to recycling, packaging and how we dispose of waste. Not only are we veering towards living more sustainably, we are also more conscience of what we put into our bodies and the effects our actions have on the world around us. TGRC is leading the conversation with regards to recycling and gave us some good news.
42% of people in our country recycle glass, which is an increase from previous years. This means tons of glass are successfully diverted away from our natural spaces, parks, curbs and also importantly, diverted from landfills. More good news is that glass bottles and jars produced locally, contain amongst the highest percentage of recycled content of all the packaging produced in the country. About 1.1 billion glass bottles and jars were removed from the waste stream over the last year. By recycling glass, and through using returnable and refillable bottles including beer quarts and refillable glass cool-drink bottles, more than 80% of the glass packaging placed in the market was diverted from our landfills during the year.
These are statistics that we should all be celebrating. The years of education about recycling is paying off and people are doing their best to be better, do better and help the planet. Recycling results in cleaner environments, less waste, less pollution and emptier landfills. I’m all for that.
We can still do better
Although individuals are doing amazingly well, businesses, schools, entrepreneurs, retailers and restaurants are also big contributors to the cause. TGRC is fighting the good fight and keep educating everyone who are willing to listen. In addition to the placing glass banks for suburban glass recycling, over the last year TGRC trained and mentored 1 122 entrepreneurs and collectors with development courses to assist in the development of their businesses. Across the country, 609 tons of glass bottles and jars were recovered by learners in the TGRC Annual Schools Competition, showing growing care for the environment by the youth.
Personally, it’s wonderful to see how far we’ve come, but we still have a long way to go. Let’s all set easily attainable goals for the rest of this year, which will make a big difference. Recycling one extra glass bottle a week is a good start.