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Aerosol cans: They contain harmful chemicals


Dyed paper

Ceramics and pottery

Diapers/Nappies: If you want to be a green parent, make sure to buy the biodegradable kind

Household glass: This includes mirrors, light bulbs, windows and dinnerware, Pyrex and ceramics

Medical waste: This is a no-brainer!

Juice boxes:  Some brands have introduced recyclable boxes, so check the packaging first

Napkins and paper towels: Because of the grime and substances they may have absorbed, it’s best to leave these out

Pizza boxes: Notoriously greasy, pizza boxes don’t recycle well

Plastic bags (most) and plastic wrap: Unfortunately, these items can’t be recycled

Polystyrene food trays

Wax or plastic coated packaging for food or liquid: like dog or cat food sachets, soup pouches, take-away boxes – all no-no’s

Wet paper: The fibers in wet paper are often damaged and no good for recycling purposes

*Most plastics are not recyclable in South Africa, so always check for a recycling logo for guidance. Here are the recycling logos and some examples of what falls under them:


e.g. Bottles used for water, soft drinks, cooking oils, dishwashing liquid and juice, as well as plastic fruit trays


You’ll find this logo on milk bottles, cleaning products, cosmetics, shampoos and toiletries, crates and motor oils, and thin plastic bags among others

POLYVINYL CHLORIDE – mostly recyclable 

PVC has been described as a “difficult” plastic. Its use is being phased out – in many cases it is being replaced by PET. Try to avoid buying products with PVC packaging, but if you can’t avoid it, it is unlikely to be recycled so the Plastics Federation of SA’s advice is to just throw it away with ordinary rubbish


Number 4 plastic is used to make rubbish bags, frozen veggie bags, building film, some squeezable bottles and cosmetic tubs.

e.g. Thin plastic bags used for sliced bread, milk bags, six pack shrink wraps for beer, magazine wrappers, bulk toilet roll wrappers, fruit and vegetable bags, bubble wrap, thick shopping bags

POLYPROPYLENE – not recyclable x

This type of plastic is used in bottles, ice cream, yoghurt, margarine and butter tubs, ready-made meal trays, fruit trays, plastic straws, microwave dishes, kettles, garden furniture, lunch boxes, packaging tape and bottle caps


POLYSTYRENE – not recyclable x

There are two kinds of polystyrene: high-impact, from which products like coat hangers and yoghurt cups are made, and expanded polystyrene, from which meat and vegetable trays are made.


#7 is not the type of plastic you’re likely to recycle at home. And, according to the Plastic Federation of SA, it is not recycled in South Africa at the moment, so put it in the dustbin


Advice from the Plastics Federation of SA is that if you have plastics not marked with a logo, but you think they may be recyclable, put them in a separate plastic bag, and drop them into the cage with the number 4 plastics. The recycling companies that collect the material from the drop-off sites will sort it out


We’ve all heard about how waste is impacting our oceans and the associated marine life, but spare a thought for domestic and wild animals as well.

Cats, dogs, birds etc. who are hungry and in search of food, often get their heads or feet stuck inside bottles and cans, which can lead to a terrible lingering death. This can be very easily minimised if we follow the following recommendations –

  • Always rinse out containers to remove any residue or odours – whether recycling or throwing away – make sure there is nothing left to attract an animal
  • Put lids firmly back on jars (so little heads don’t get stuck inside the neck)
  • Cut the lids completely off tin cans, place inside (the washed tin) and crush
  • Crush drink cans (so little paws don’t get caught inside)
  • Cut each loop in plastic six-pack rings/beer can holders
  • Always dispose of left over food inside sealed, leak proof bags
  • Cut elastic bands, string etc.
  • Tie knots in plastic bags before discarding


Always check your rubbish and recycling with animals in mind – does it pose a potential threat to their welfare? If in doubt, cut it up.

Let’s teach each other and our children about the need for responsible waste removal and how to protect animals from injury at dumpsites/landfills.

Remember we have a wonderful recycling plant just across the Wetton Road intersection, on Rosmead Avenue. 

They happily recycle almost anything and are very friendly and helpful. And it’s FREE.

Article by Madge Gibson, Harfield Village Resident


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