Recycling For Dummies: By Suzelle DIY

We all know we need to be doing it. But are we? With the launch of the Stickeez campaign we have to wonder how environmentally friendly this campaign really is.

Over 42 million cubic metres of general waste is generated every year across the country, with the largest proportion coming from Gauteng province (42%).

Coastal Care put together a list of a few alarming decomposition rates of common debris found in general waste:

Foamed plastic cups: 50 years
Plastic beverage holder: 400 years
Disposable diapers: 450 year
Plastic bottle: 450 years
Fishing line: 600 years.
Glass bottle: 1 million years
Aluminum Can: 80-200 years
Plastic beverage bottles: 450 years
Boot sole: 50-80 years
Tin can: 50 years
Leather: 50 years
Nylon fabric: 30-40 years
Plastic film canister: 20-30 years
Plastic bag: 10-20 years
Cigarette filter: 1-5 years
Wool sock: 1-5 years
Plywood: 1-3 years
Waxed milk carton: 3 months
Apple core: 2 months
Newspaper: 6 weeks
Paper : 2 to 5 months
Banana peel : 2-5 weeks
Orange peel : 6 months
Paper towel: 2-4 weeks
Batteries : 100 years

So before you throw away one of the above into general waste, perhaps take a minute to think about the length of time it will take to decompose.

Thanks to our trusty Suzelle DIY, she has put together a helpful video with the basics of recycling. She has a few great tips like polymer codes and packaging that can and cannot be recycled.

However before thinking it’s all doom and gloom. Recent research from recycling company Petco have revealed that more polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles are being recycled than are sent to landfill, with about 4.7-million bottles recycled every day. This has resulted in 112 000 t of carbon emissions, as well as 461 000 m3 of landfill space, being saved.

Well done South Africa, let’s keep up the good work!

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