Where to recycle in Cape Town?

Your guide to recycling companies and depots in the Mother City, from curb side collection services to civic drop-off sites

Last Update: 3 February 2017

The concept of ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ has never been more important. Landfills in Cape Town are running dangerously short of space, and better waste management is crucial for decreasing energy usage, air and water pollution and saving some of the earth’s renewable and non-renewable resources. While recycling in South Africa still seems more like a nag than a necessity, the City of Cape Town and a handful of private initiatives are steadily making it easier and more accessible for both residents and businesses to get rid of their rubbish responsibly.  So, if you’re keen to go green, but aren’t sure where to start, check out our overview below for info on what, where and how to recycle in the Mother City.

What to Recycle
A large portion of household waste can be recycled – just look for the recycle logo on packaging to find out if the material can be reused, and remember to remove food and liquid waste before you bin items. 

Plastic

Paper & Cardboard

Glass & Metal

Cooldrink bottles/peanut butter jars

Toilet roll inners and cigarette boxes

Glass jars

Milk /juice/detergent/shampoo bottles (NO toothpaste tubes or washing powder packets)

Newspapers

Beverage bottles

Tastic rice packets & most plastic  bags (NO cling wrap or florist wrap)

Magazines and flyers

Aluminium cans/foil and foil packaging

Ice cream tubs/margarine tubs

Cardboard cereal and food boxes

Beer/cooldrink cans

Foam polystyrene cups

School books

Empty food tins (NO chip packets)

Milk and juice cartons (Tetra Pak)

Office paper, envelopes, junk mail

Bottle lids

There are also special facilities that accept batteries, compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), oil, TVs, computers, cell phones and household appliances. Call the City of Cape Town’s Waste Wise call centre at +27 (0)860 103 089 with further questions about what can and can’t be recycled.

HOW TO RECYCLE PAPER, PLASTIC, GLASS AND METAL IN CAPE TOWN
Now that you know what to recycle, it’s just a matter of knowing where to take your reusable rubbish. For starters, recycling depots are stationed from Atlantis to Sea Point and Mitchell’s Plain to Ladies Mile – just click through to the city’s government site to find the recycling drop-off point closest to you.  Alternatively, and lucky for those living in and around the Mother City, there is an ever increasing number of recycling companies in Cape Town that will come to homes and businesses to collect recyclables; so, excuses of “I don’t have the time” and “locations of drop-off points are inconvenient” no longer apply.

Think Twice Recycling
Residents living in select areas of the city can sign up for Think Twice– a City of Cape Town initiative that offers a free household recycling service to those in the Northern Suburbs, the Atlantic area (all the way from Blouberg down to Hout Bay), the South Peninsula, the Helderberg area and Kraaifontein. The curb side collection programme picks up paper, plastic, glass and tin, and has recently expanded to include the Southern Suburbs area. While select neighbourhoods have been appointed a green-lid recycling bin, most participants are merely asked to place their reusable goods in clear plastic bags, which can be loaded on top of other rubbish in standard black bins. The reusable goods don’t need to be separated, and there is no limit to the number of bags that can be picked up. Collection happens on the same day as regular refuse pick-up, except in areas provided with bins; here, pick-ups are done the day after standard refuse collection (areas where rubbish is collected on Fridays will have their recyclables collected on Mondays).

Call +27 (0)21 970 3053 to see if your neighbourhood falls within Think Twice’s circuit.

Regenize Recycling Collection
Relative newcomer to the Cape Town scene, Regenize are ready to take your recycling to a whole new level. Not all areas in Cape Town have government provided recycling collection, so finding more creative solutions to minimise waste is essential. Regenize have found a way to motivate people to recycle, and you too can join the revolution. For a monthly fee, Regenize will collect (and sort) your recycling for responsible disposal. The City of Cape Town has strict guidelines on recycling and Regenize knows this and completely adheres  to those standards. They even pledge to offer vouchers in exchange for higher recycling rates. That’s right! If you are responsible with your waste (and you sign up with Regenize) you’ll be rewarded with product vouchers!


CONTACT: You can visit their website - Regenize.co.za - and find out more about their offerings for both corporate and private. Alternatively, you can drop them an email at info@regenize.co.za

GezaKapa Recycling Revolution
GezaKapa is a recycling project that offers recycling collection services, waste processor and compost manufacture. This initiative is based in Vredehoek and residents can drop off their waste at the GezaKapa recycling centre on Upper Orange Street at the Gardens bowling club between 9am and 4pm. The aim of this project is create an awareness around recycling and the importance of keeping our planet clean. All recyclable materials is accepted including food waste, recycling food waste reduces the production of Greenhouse gases such as methane. Recycled food waste is converted to animal feed and fertilizers that have a higher nutritional value – organic fertilizers are affordable and they grow plants while nourishing the soil.

To contact them, please go to @gezakaparecycling for more information. You can also email them at gezakapa@gmail.com or +27 (0)82 633 4402.

Clearer Conscience Recycling Company
Residents in areas reaching from Cape Town’s CBD to Fish Hoek can sign up to have their recyclable goods plucked right from their doorstep, thanks to Andy Conder, who founded Clearer Conscience in 2008 after recognising the need for a service that made recycling easy and convenient. His company’s biodiesel fuelled trucks (which not only reduce emissions, but also get 20% extra km per tank) collect pre-separated paper, plastic, tin, glass and more from residents and businesses for as little as R60 per month per single residential collection – collections can be made anywhere from twice weekly to once a month depending on recycling needs. Clearer Conscience also collects other matter, like e-waste and green waste as well as clothes and bric-a-brac, which is donated to charity shops. Find out more about the work done at Clearer Conscience and the specials they have for CapeTownMagazine.com readers.

Call Clearer Conscience at +27 (0)82 339 9838 or email Info@clearer.co.za for information about collection packages. Larger businesses are entitled to four-week trial periods to gauge the volume and frequency of recycling needs. Visit Clearer.co.za to sign up for services or get more information.

Mr Recycle Recycling Company
Founded in 2001, Mr Recycle has pioneered a way to make being green even greener by starting their collections at 7pm. The curb side recycling company – it picks up from neighbourhoods in the CBD and the Southern Suburbs - operates at night to lessen environmental impact: less fuel is used (a result of less traffic), and there is little chance of trash-diggers sorting through your bags before they get there. The initiative also provides shift work for commercially unemployable members of the community whose primary income comes from the sorting and collecting of your reusable, unwanted goods. Collections are on Tuesdays in areas from Muizenburg to Rondebosch, and on Wednesdays in areas from the City Bowl through to Sea Point -- all that’s needed is for residents to put their paper, plastic, glass and metal waste together in a clear refuse bag (no separation needed). Cardboard must be flattened for it to be picked up. Mr Recycle also collects electronic waste and goods that can be donated to charity, like clothes, books and toys. It only costs between R100 for one bag and R350 for up to four bags to be collected once a week; you can sign up online.  In the future, Mr Recycle hopes to set up job centres to permanently employ workers and make a difference, not just by looking after the earth, but by looking after the people on it too. 

To sign up for collection or get more information about Mr Recycle, visit Mrrecycle.co.za or email mrrecycle@gmail.com. You can also call them at +27 (0)79 138 9262 or +27 (0)83 708 3468. 

Waste Plan Recycling Company
Bigger businesses and institutions looking to lessen their environmental impact can contact Waste Plan, a waste management company that takes care of large amounts of rubbish in a cost effective, recycling focussed manner. They collect and sort rubbish from factories, hotels, malls, wine farms and events (as well as individual residences); dispose of refuse in a manner that ensures that companies comply with environmental laws; and then measure and update each individual’s waste stream online so they can monitor their output. Though they deal mainly with commercial waste management, the City of Cape Town’s Solid Waste Department has also recruited the company as official contractors to certain areas that are part of the Think Twice initiative.

Call Waste Plan’s national call centre at +27 (0)861 111 6699 for more information or to sign-up for collection. Alternatively, you can get information at Wasteplan.co.za. Residents of Cape Town can check at Capetown.gov.za to see if Think Twice and Waste Plan offer free collection services in their area.

HOW TO RECYCLE ELECTRONIC WASTE (E-WASTE) IN CAPE TOWN
So what exactly is e-waste? It’s any old, discarded and/or inoperable electronic equipment, like computers, hard drives, phones, television sets or office-ware, which takes up space in landfills and pollutes soil and water systems with toxins, like lead, mercury and arsenic.

Virgin Earth E-Waste Recycling Company
Virgin Earth is a recycling company that focuses exclusively on collecting material that once needed electricity and batteries to function. Additionally, they’ll retrieve computer networking and infrastructure and metals that are not easily disposable or fall privy to the unofficial collectors who make a living looking through your rubbish. Business and households can arrange to have these materials picked up and taken to lots to be separated, shredded or compacted for shipping overseas, where they will be re-used as part of new products that are sold back to South Africa. Virgin Earth operates all over Cape Town, from Gordon’s Bay to Paarl; although, they will also put residents in specific areas in touch with e-waste recycling companies closer to home. There is a small charge – ranging from R50 to R150 – for residents using Virgin Earth’s services, while bigger businesses can get their e-waste picked up for free. Pick-ups are done on an as-needed basis. 

Contact: Go to Virginearth.co.za to request a collection. You can also email them at info@virginearth.co.za or call +27 (0)72 347 7426 for more information. 

HOW TO RECYCLE GREY WATER IN CAPE TOWN
Grey water is leftover water from baths, showers, sinks, washing machines (using biodegradable washing powders) and swimming pools which can be used to nourish gardens or wash cars, but is no longer safe for drinking. Water from kitchens does not constitute as grey water, as insoluble fats are harmful to plants and soil. Grey water not only has effective nutrients for plant life, it lowers usage of desperately needed fresh water and is cost effective for home owners.

Garden ResQ Grey Water Systems
Collecting re-usable water has evolved from the old bucket method thanks to the GardenResQ Grey Water Systems. The company’s easy to install units irrigate your garden with water from bathroom sinks, showers, and tubs. Minor plumbing is required to connect the system with existing down pipes, but the rest can be done by the average DIY homeowner on a Saturday afternoon. Grey water should be used within 24 hours to prevent odours and the growth of bacteria. The GardenResQ systems provide enough water pressure for a hose and one diamond-head sprinkler. The Maxi Grey Water system for small- and medium-sized gardens costs R3 395 for the unit, and the Maxi Pro system for medium to large gardens costs R3 695; a R90 package and posting fee also applies. The running cost (amount added to your electricity bill) of the system for a family of four bathing once daily will be roughly R1.80 per month. 

Contact the national head office at +27 (0)82 782 3927, or get in touch with resellers of the GardenResQ Systems at the following stores: GW Store -- +27 (0)21 531 6000; Sustainable.co.za -- +27 (0)21 701 2028; Green Crush -- +27 (0)76 322 8991.   

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