Although you may be convinced that recycling is a good idea, some of your friends, family and colleagues may not be.
Using polyethylene terephthalate (PET) as an example, there are numerous excellent reasons why recycling makes sense.
PET is used among others in beverage bottles, containers for food items, and bottles for household, personal care and pharmaceutical products.
It is 100% recyclable and can be recycled over and over again and turned into polyester staple fibre for clothes, pillows, duvet inners, carpets for cars and a host of other useful products. It can also be recycled into resin used in the manufacture of new packaging and even bottles.
So, here are some of the best arguments for making recycling one of our strongest habits:
1. Recycling helps to keep our towns and cities cleaner, more attractive and healthier
The less trash there is lying about on our streets and elsewhere, the better for us all. People don’t want to live in rubbish-strewn environments; tourists don’t want to visit dirty cities.
2. Recycling is good for the environment
Recycling PET goods saved 96 771 tonnes of carbon in South Africa in 2014, and even more will be saved as more PET is recycled locally
3. Recycling makes sense for local government
In 2014, 400 000 m3 of landfill space was saved by recycling PET locally. This benefits local government budgets and means fewer resources go into acquiring land for landfill sites.
4. Recycling saves money
Reusing and recycling means less costs for municipalities and therefore also for consumers in terms of rubbish collection bills.
5. Recycling makes it possible to turn valuable materials back into useful products
A material such as PET is 100% recyclable.
PET bottles are made of one of the few polymers that can be recycled into the same form – a new beverage bottle – again. Other products made of recycled PET include staple fibre or resin for clothes, pillows and duvet inners, as well as carpets for cars and many other consumer and industrial uses.
6. Recycling helps create permanent jobs
The PET industry alone, through PETCO, collaborates with 31 collection project partners across nine provinces, and currently sustains almost 1 200 permanent jobs. Other material streams also create jobs through recycling.
7. Recycling creates income opportunities and encourages entrepreneurs
Around 44 000 income opportunities are being sustained through PET bottle collection. And in 2014 alone, PETCO introduced 2 650 entrepreneurs to PET collection, and supported 11 co-operatives and 22 municipalities with training. Other materials streams also create similar opportunities for waste pickers and collectors.