Where to take your recyclables?

(This is a work in progress. Please feel free to send me information about recycling in your home town to add to this list)

You have three recycling options: (1) organise yourself a kerbside or office collection service; (2) take your recyclables to a municipal drop-off point or a buy-back centre; (3) let informal recyclers take your recyclables to a buy-back centre.


These are run by private companies and you generally, but not always, have to pay for the service.  Fortunately, they aren’t prohibitively expensive and the convenience factor often makes the price worthwhile. The beauty of kerbside or office collection services is that that they give you a list of the material they collect and all you have to do is rinse off the food residues and pop it into a bag or a wheelie bin (or whatever receptacle your service prefers).
Then once every week or fortnight, you put your wheelie bin or bag on the pavement and a truck comes and takes it away. This makes recycling so easy that you won’t find it a hassle at all.


Remade has offices in Gauteng (in Germiston, Jeppestown, Newtown, Wynberg,  Randfontein, Springs and Pretoria West), in Nelspruit in Mpumalanga and Rustenburg in North West. The company offers a variety of recycling services, including commercial, industrial, office and domestic. It also runs a network of buy-back centres that cater to hawkers.


Ecomonkey. This collection service operates in Johannesburg in the following suburbs: Douglasdale, Lonehill, Jukskei Park, Magaliesig, Dainfern, Olivedale, Sharonlea, Jukskei Park, Johannesburg North, Northwold, Kya Sands, Honeydew. The company is setting up recycling centres in Pretoria, on the East Rand and in Cape Town. It is also planning to open recycling centres for the Vaal and Hartbeespoort. In fact, its aim is to eventually go national. The service provides wheelie bins for your recyclables and has a weekly or fortnightly collection options. The website has more detailed information about what recyclables are collected and prices.

Mama She’s Waste Recyclers. They offer a kerbside collection service. They operate in the following areas:  Lonehill; Magaliessig; Fourways; Douglasdale; Norscot; Fourways Gardens; Cedar Lakes; Chartwell Country Estates; Witkoppen Ext. 3; Elma Park- Edenvale; Sunninghill; Paulshof; Edenburg- Rivonia; and Bedfordview RAG area.

The company has said that it is willing to service other areas, but there needs to be enough households participating in the collection scheme to make it cost effective for them, so Mama She’s usually deals with residents’ associations. You need to buy 20 blue bags for R20. You put your recyclables into one of them and put the bag out on the kerb for collection. (Please note that Mama She’s website is offline at present because it is being upgraded). For more information contact: info [at] wasterecyclers [dot] co [dot] za or for queries about the blue bags contact bluebag [at] wasterecyclers [dot] co [dot] za.

Whole Earth. This company operates a collection service in the northern suburbs for a monthly fee. They provide bags and bins for recyclables and do fortnightly collections.

Cape Town

Clearer Conscience. This company operates a kerbside collection service in Cape Town’s CBD, city bowl, Atlantic seaboard and southern suburbs – and is looking to expand. On their website there’s a useful list of what you can recycle that you can print and stick on your fridge. You can have your recyclables collected once a month or twice a week – it all depends on your particular needs. They also take clothes, plants, e-waste and green waste if you make a prior arrangement.

Recycle 1st is a new business collecting recyclables from homes and businesses in Cape Town’s northern suburbs. Collections are twice a month. The website has a list of prices and the recyclables that are collected. For information you can contact recycle [at] recycle1st.co.za.

If you go this route, you will have to separate your recyclables at home and have somewhere to store them until you take them to a drop-off site or buy-back centre.

Collect-a-can, a joint venture between ArcelorMittal South Africa (Africa’s major steel producer and producer of tinplate for food and beverage cans) and Nampak (Africa’s largest packaging company and beverage can producer), is the main collector of used beverage cans. They have offices in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Vanderbijlpark, Durban and Cape Town. (See website for contact details.)

In Johannesburg you can take cans to the drop-off points at Pikitup’s garden centres. For information on garden centres with drop-off points visit www.pikitup.co.za (look under general information, then select regional information and click on garden sites). If you can’t access the info on Pikitup’s website (I can’t for some reason), the garden sites with recycling facilities are listed here.

Take your glass to drop-off points at Pikitup’s garden centres or visit the Glass Recycling Company’s website www.glassrecyclingcompany.co.za for a list of glass bank locations around the country. If your town is not on the list, it may be worth phoning The Glass Recycling Company (the number is on the website) because there may still be glass banks.

You can also take glass to the drop-off points at Pikitup’s garden sites in Johannesburg or to one of the many buy-back centres that operate around the country.

White office paper is the most valuable, coloured paper and cardboard are next, then magazines and, finally, newspapers.
Mondi has a national Ronnie Recycling kerbside collection service. For information visit www.paperpickup.co.za or phone 0800-022-112.
You can also take paper to drop-off points at Pikitup’s garden sites.


  • In Johannesburg there are drop-off points at some of Pikitup’s garden sites.
  • The Plastics Federation of SA, which has recently changed its name to Plastics SA, has posted a lists of sites where discarded PET (number 1), HD-PE (number 2) and LD-PE (number 4) can be taken for recycling on its website.
  • Informal recyclers can earn between R20 and R150 a day from salvaging. It doesn’t sound like much, but for some it’s the only source of income. With South Africa’s high unemployment rate, recycling holds great job creation potential for unskilled workers. The department of trade and industry said that recycling could provide about 350,000 jobs.If you don’t want to pay for a kerbside collection service or take your own recyclables to a drop-off point or buy-back centre, you could start off by separating out recyclables in your rubbish into metal, paper, glass and plastics and putting them into separate bags which you can place in the top of your wheelie bins when you put your rubbish out on collection day. This way, the bin pickers won’t have to rummage through your garbage, this reduces the health risk and they’re less likely to leave a mess on the street. If you start to separate your rubbish this way, you will get to see just how much of what you usually throw away is recyclable – which will probably surprise you.