ConsumerTalk with Wendy Knowler

Is your 'recyclable' packaging really being recycled?

Did you know that much of the food packaging purported by manufacturers to be recyclable will actually end up in a landfill?

That’s because there’s a huge difference between packaging being technically recyclable and actually being recycled. If the material is too expensive to recycle or there’s virtually no market for the recycled product, off to the landfill it will go.

Wendy Knowler, Consumer journalist

Consumer journalist Wendy Knowler says the packaging of many of your favourite products can be misleading.

Many South Africans assume that packaging marked with a number in a triangle can be recycled and that the number indicates how many times it can be recycled. In fact, that number is the resin type, and it’s put there to help not the consumer but the waste collector.

Wendy Knowler, Consumer journalist

Woolworths and Shoprite Checkers have started to guide consumers on their packaging with more helpful, honest recycling information - such as “not recycled currently” but with not all retailers and manufacturers playing by the same declaration rules, many consumers remain confused.

Wendy Knowler, Consumer journalist

Read: Polystyrene can be recycled: Cape Town company reuses 40 tonnes a month

According to the Department of Environmental Affairs state of the waste report, South Africa generated 54.2-million tons of general waste in 2017.

An estimated 38.6% of that waste was recycled.

That’s really impressive, especially when you consider that that figure was just 10% in 2012.

Wendy Knowler, Consumer journalist

Listen to the full interview below:


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