Johannesburg is quickly running out of landfill space.

In fact, it is expected to run out of landfill space in the next six years and that’s why the City of Joburg had to implement recycling programme Separation at Source.

MMC for Environmental Affairs Nico de Jager said the city was hoping to collect 13kg of recyclable materials per household per month through the programme, which started as a pilot in Lenasia and Norwood in 2009.

The recycled rubbish will be collected at the same time as normal household rubbish collection.

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The new recycling rules also make it mandatory for homeowners to recyle their garden waste, but the onus rests on you to drop the waste off at garden sites for further processing.

Where do I get the bags from?

Pikitup will provide residents with the bags required for recycling.

The bags will be either clear or blue and the colour simply differentiates whether bags go to Pikitup facilities for recycling or to contracted facilities.

What do I have to recycle?

The city wants all your dry recyclables, so that means:

  • Paper, newspapers, magazines
  • Glass
  • Tin and coldrink cans
  • Metal
  • Plastics: containers, milk containers, detergent bottles

[NOTE: Please make sure you rinse the items for recycling before placing them in the bags]

What shouldn’t be in the recycling bags

  • Polystyrene
  • Rubber
  • Batteries
  • Milk cartons
  • Pizza boxes
  • Light bulbs

Will I be punished for non-compliance?

The long and the short of it is yes, but not yet.

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It will take same time for the programme to find its feet, but be warned that you could eventually be fined for not complying, so the quicker you get to grips with the changes, the better.

What about the waste-pickers? How will this affect them? 

De Jager said the city was looking into rolling out mobile buy-back centres around the city to essentially bring buy-back centres closer to waste-pickers.

“Waste-pickers are not going to be worse off from making separation at source mandatory. Instead, it is expected that there will be more recyclables available at the point of collection, where waste-pickers typically collect what’s valuable to them,” Pikitup said.

The City is also looking at providing waste collectors with reflective clothing, gloves and regular inoculations to minimise their risk of exposure to diseases.