April 12, 2017 Craig Lees

Recycling Made Easy

Recycling is a reality and is no longer something to do when you have free time or when you ‘feel like it’. We all need to get on the recycling train, right now. If only there was some sort of “recycling made easy” blog post. A guide if you will, some sort of information sharing device…Oh wait, you are already reading one.

So here is an interesting factoid…Sweden’s recycling system has become so efficient that waste is literally being imported from other countries for them to recycle, due to the country running out of their own rubbish. Say whaaaat!

Amazingly less than 1% of Swedish household waste was dumped on landfill sites last year. Equally impressive is that this has been the norm for the last six years.

One of the reasons for this is the love Swedish people have for the outdoors and dislike of a polluted environment, another is a proper education of why recycling is so important and the government making it relatively easy to do.

Back in SA we are less efficient at recycling, which may be the understatement of the year. Most households recycle little or nothing at all and dump most of their household waste. Poor form shown, people. Poor. Form. Shown.

While it is true that recycling in this country is not as easy as in other countries like Sweden and requires a bit more effort than simply taking our recycle bins out on garbage day it is not that hard either.

There are plenty of recycling drop off points around and more and more private companies who offer a pick-up service. Have a look at the following links for more info on where to recycle:

Download PDF

Treevolution Website

I am sure no one reading this needs me to give them reasons to recycle but remember there are those who have not been educated on recycling, so spread the word far and wide.

Importantly, let’s make sure our children grow up with recycling as part of their daily lives it so that it becomes second nature. After all they are the ones who will feel the full brunt of a population who just can’t be bothered.

Recycling is something we should all do every day, from now until we have to import our own waste. Take that Sweden!

So now that you have a better idea of where to recycle and why the big question is what to recycle.

To make things easier, I have compiled the below list showing what you can and cannot recycle.

If you are still unsure, please check the label on the bottle as below or with your local recycling centre.

Betterearth Recycling pic


But first, please remember to wash out anything you want to recycle! Food residue, especially grease, is a big “No No” in the recycling world.

Paper and cardboard

The following paper can be recycled:

  • all office paper
  • white paper
  • coloured paper
  • newspaper (bags and strings removed)
  • magazines (all types but please remove staples)
  • catalogues (all types but please remove staples)
  • phonebooks (all types)
  • junk mail
  • paperboard
  • tissue boxes
  • heavy weight folders
  • food packaging (unwaxed only please)
  • paper milk, juice and soy milk cartons (should be empty)
  • books: all soft cover, hard covers should be ripped off

The following cannot be recycled:

  • napkins
  • tissue paper
  • paper towels
  • wax paper
  • stickers
  • carbon paper
  • cardboard lined with plastic
  • waxed or waterproof cardboard

Cans and metal

The following metal can be recycled:

  • metal and tin beverage containers
  • metal and tin food containers
  • aluminium foil
  • aluminium cans
  • aluminium pie plates and trays
  • kitchen cookware: metal pots, pans, tins and utensils
  • paint and aerosol cans

The following cannot be recycled:

  • motor oil cans
  • metal and cardboard containers


The following glass can be recycled:

  • All colours of glass bottles and jars
  • clear glass
  • green glass
  • brown glass
  • blue glass
  • glass food containers
  • beer and wine bottles

The following cannot be recycled:

  • light bulbs
  • mirror glass
  • window glass
  • ceramic
  • crystal


The following plastic can be recycled:

  • All plastics numbers 1-6 (NO Styrofoam, which is sometimes labelled #5)
  • food and beverage containers
  • screw top jars
  • deli-style containers
  • clam-shell take-out containers
  • plastic cups (lids and straws removed)
  • milk jugs
  • soap bottles
  • clean grocery and retail plastic bags (no other type accepted)
  • plastic jugs/bottles

The following cannot be recycled:

  • plastic marked with a 7 in the recycling symbol
  • plastic tableware
  • Styrofoam containers

Recycling made easy by Betterearth

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