The journey of residential recyclables – Transforming the future of waste

By November 3, 2021 No Comments

Do you know what happens to your recyclables when they leave your home?

At its core, recycling means the mechanical or chemical process of converting recyclable waste into reusable material. In practical terms, it means finding ways in which to use resources such as paper, plastic and glass multiple times over, instead of letting them end up in a landfill.

Your recyclables take a unique journey in becoming new products and we want to take you on that journey today:

On collection day, Remade vehicles drive through your Estate and collect bags of recyclables from your homes on a weekly basis.

Where do the vehicles go when they are full?  They go to the material sorting facility in Pretoria West where the vehicle plus recyclables are weighed in.

Weighing in on the weighbridge Unloading the bags from the bakkies

The sorting is done in stages:

Step one – takes place on the ground:

  • Unloading the bags from the vehicles into the offloading area
  • Cardboard boxes are separated
  • Glass is separated and place in large skips for Consol Glass

Step two – everything else goes on the journey up the conveyer belt for hand sorting into bags where plastic bottles, cans etc. are separated.  We have a team of 12 people on the sorting belt meticulously sorting through every item.  It is a long laborious task but is well worth the effort in the end. The benefits are not just that recycling ensures waste doesn’t go to landfill, benefitting the environment, but also that it can create jobs – essential in an economy such as South Africa’s where unemployment rates continue to rise at an alarming rate. It is not just about recycling, but rebuilding too.

Step three – once everything is sorted, it gets baled into the following grades:

The main grades of paper

CMW – Mixed paper e.g. Newsprint, Magazines, Junk Mail, Brown paper bags, Cereal boxes, shoe boxes, egg cartons, phone books etc.

HL1 – White office paper

K4 – Corrugated Cardboard Boxes

Other Recyclables

HDPE – High Density Polyethylene e.g. milk bottles, plastic detergent bottles

LDPE – Low Density Polyethylene e.g. Plastic shopping bags

PET – Plastic Cold drink bottles Liquid beverage cartons Polycup Polypropylene – e.g. margarine tubs

Mixed paper Cardboard boxes Plastic cold drink bottles
Milk bottles and detergent bottles Margarine tubs Plastic shopping bags

It is really important that residents keep their recyclables clean, which means keeping them out of the normal bin and away from wet waste. When they are dirty, or contaminated with food or other waste, often they cannot be recycled. The sooner the waste gets into the recycling stream, the better.

The baled paper and cardboard boxes go to the Mpact Paper Mill in Springs for recycling where it gets made into new paper reels for sale into the packaging industry which become for example, new corrugated boxes.

The other recyclables like the plastics and glass go to other recyclers/converting factories to be manufactured into new products.  Most importantly, the recyclables are converted into new products and take on a new life as consumer goods.

This is what we refer to as the circular economy. A circular economy is an industrial system that is restorative by intention and design. This means that what cannot be reused should be collected, recycled and made into new products. It is good business that benefits the environment, the economy and the world. There are a number of ways for people to get involved and become part of this circular economy. Households separating their own recyclables from everyday refuse is the most efficient.

By recycling you effectively reduce the waste volume from going to landfill, thereby shrinking the overall volume of the waste stream.

When recycled properly as part of the circular economy, it not only benefits the environment, but people’s livelihoods too. More information on Remade Recycling can be found at, or on Facebook and LinkedIn: @RemadeRecycling