The recycling initiative, which became mandatory on 1 July, requires residents to put recyclable materials in provided plastic bags, which separate plastic, glass, paper, cardboard and metal items.

“Pikitup has been in communication with waste-pickers’ representatives and a task team has been formed, but parties realise that there is so much recyclable material to be derived. Therefore, there is more than enough for all stakeholders,” Pikitup’s Muzi Mkhwanazi told News24.

Mkhwanazi added that the initiative made it easy for recyclers because they would receive waste which had already been separated and put in plastic bags outside residents’ houses.

“Waste-pickers will be able to take what they want and Pikitup will take the rest. Therefore, waste-pickers will be able to also sustain their livelihoods,” he said.

READ MORE: Joburg waste-pickers to get included in the Cities recycling initiatives

Mkhwanazi said a challenge in the past was that the recyclable yield recovered was low. He added that only 4,5kg of recyclable materials was received per lot, as opposed to the expected 13kg.

“The low yield was the driving force behind making separation at source mandatory in the affected area,” he said.

Mkhwanazi said the programme has been in operation since 2009, but that making it mandatory was a continuation of the process.

He said residents in more than 300 selected areas would continue to receive plastic bags for recycling purposes.

– News24