City institutes mandatory recycling

Of the around 800 000 households in Joburg, 300 000 will get plastic bags to start mandatory recycling on 1 July, and Pikitup, the City of Johannesburg’s waste management entity, says attitudes of residents need to change to make it work.

This recycling programme, Separation at Source, is mandating households to set aside glass, paper, metal, and plastic.

Garden waste can still be separated and taken to the nearest Pikitup garden centre.

This will, in turn, reduce the 90 per cent of waste that is sent to landfills, which only has space left for the next six years.

MMC for Environment and Infrastructure Services, Nico de Jager, said affected households will get either a clear or blue plastic bag where they are expected to put all their dry-recyclables.

Other areas’ households can still separate their recyclables, but can then take them to the nearest Pikitup garden centre instead.

“At the moment, only about 10 per cent of waste is being recycled. We want to reduce the waste going to landfill sites from 90 per cent to 70 per rent by 2020,” De Jager said.

The entity plans to save 13kg of household waste per month by implementing this programme.

But Separation at Source is not new. It was piloted in 2009.

De Jager said it is unfortunate that the City is still talking about it being piloted.

Pikitup’s managing director, Lungile Dhlamini, said the biggest change will be behavioural.

“We need to win people over,” he said.

Dhlamini also pointed out that at the moment, there will not be any repercussions for households that are not recycling, but that this will not be the case in the future.

“We are looking at eventually going into a pay-as-you-throw system,” he said.

The see-through bags will be delivered by cooperatives working with the City.

The list of wards affected and of garden sites across the City is available on Pikitup’s website,

For the list of garden waste sites, you can visit and for the list of suburbs affected by mandatory separation at source, you can visit

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