There is currently a huge drive to increase recycling across the world. Investing in a recycling bin at home, work, or in public spaces is an important step towards creating a habit of recycling in South Africa. A Street Scape concrete bin is an affordable and effective solution to creating a recycling bin. Read through our guide on selecting a Street Scape concrete bin for recycling and the benefits of recycling in South Africa.
Selecting a Street Scape Concrete Bin for Recycling:
Street Scape is a Cape Town-based manufacturer of concrete bins. Street Scape concrete bins can be used for recycling at home, work, or in public spaces. Street Scape concrete bins are an ideal choice for recycling bins as they are durable, affordable, and will last in any outdoor setting. You need to take these three factors into consideration when selecting Street Scape concrete bins to use for recycling.
Size: The size of the concrete bin you need is determined by the number of recyclable items you go through in a week. For example, a single-person home can get away with a smaller Street Scape concrete bin, such as the Square 400 Concrete Bin. Street Scape concrete bins come in a variety of sizes and shapes suitable for your recycling requirements.
Quantity: The number of Street Scape concrete bins that you need also depends on the quantity of waste your household or business goes through. For homes and small businesses, we recommend having one Street Scape concrete bin for recycling. For larger businesses and public spaces, one Street Scape concrete bin for recycling will not be enough. We recommend having a few Street Scape concrete bins for recycling in numerous areas around the space.
Canopy: You can select a Street Scape concrete bin with or without a canopy. A canopy-covered concrete bin is useful if your bins are located outside. The canopy will prevent any recyclable items from blowing away. A canopy will also keep the bin contents hidden. Street Scape offers two concrete bins with canopies: the Round Concrete Bin with Dome Canopy and the Round Concrete Bin with Letterbox Canopy.
Aesthetic: Street Scape concrete bins come in a variety of designs and finishes. You can easily find a concrete bin to use for recycling that will suit the aesthetic of a home, business, or urban space.
How to Use Street Scape Concrete Bins for Recycling:
To use a Street Scape concrete bin as a recycling bin, simply place a recycling bag inside the concrete bin. When the concrete bin is full, you can then take the bag to a nearby recycling organisation. If recycling is collected in your area, you can leave the bag on your kerb.
You can also use Street Scape concrete bins to set up recycling stations in public spaces.
Public spaces, such as parks, shopping centres, and schools, have a high volume of people. You need to supply an adequate amount of recycling bins to match the quantity of generated waste in these spaces.
To make a recycling station in a public space, simply place four Street Scape concrete bins side-by-side and label them individually as “plastic”, “paper”, “metal”, and “waste”. We recommend adding a recycling station sign to attract attention and to highlight the items that can be discarded in each concrete bin.
There are numerous benefits to creating recycling stations in public spaces.
Simple Recycling: Having separate bins for each type of recyclable item reduces the effort to sort and separate the items at a later stage. Each recycling bag can simply be sent to the correct recycling organisation.
Less Maintenance: Having one single bin dedicated to recycling in busy public spaces will require consistent emptying of the bins. A recycling station allows for more bin space and therefore requires less maintenance.
Inform: Creating a recycling station with specific labels informs the general public on what can be recycled. This information will hopefully be taken home with them and create a habit of recycling at home.
Benefits of Recycling:
There are numerous benefits for South Africa if everyone increases their recycling habits.
1) Reduces Waste in Landfills:
Recycling is one of the easiest and quickest ways to reduce the amount of waste that is sent to landfills. Landfills are an unsustainable waste disposal solution. In South Africa, our municipal landfills are quickly reaching full capacity. Finding new areas for landfills is difficult as the landfill needs to be located in a non-invasive area whilst still being accessible to keep waste transportation costs low.
Landfills also affect the surrounding environment. Poorly managed landfills can pollute soil, nearby water sources, and the air. For communities that are located near landfills, living is made uncomfortable. On top of the health risks living near a landfill poses, there are also the problems of odour, visual pollution, and low property values. Rather than being thrown away and forgotten about in a landfill, recycled items can be re-used, repaired, refined, reprocessed, or converted into new products.
2) Preserves Natural Resources:
Recycling helps preserve natural resources by reducing the demand for these natural resources that are then converted into products. Recycling paper and metal are two important examples of how recycling can help preserve natural resources.
In South Africa, the trees commonly used for paper are eucalyptus and pine trees. Vast areas of natural vegetation and trees are often cleared by paper companies to plant these trees. Recycling paper reduces the number of trees that need to be planted and ultimately the amount of natural vegetation that is lost.
The majority of the metals we use are mined. Mining has numerous effects on surrounding natural resources. For example, mines often result in deforestation, water pollution, and destroyed wildlife habitats. By recycling, we reduce the demand for these natural metal ores and decrease the destruction of the surrounding environment.
3) Protects Ecosystems:
Waste that is not properly managed can have numerous environmental impacts which can then start affecting ecosystems. One glaring example of how waste is threatening ecosystems is the amount of waste pollution in the oceans.
Waste that is not thrown away correctly or recycled can end up in rivers and then flows into oceans. Contaminated waste can have devastating effects on the habitat and reproduction patterns of fish and other sea creatures.
The devastating impact of plastic waste in oceans is that sea birds, turtles, and seals often mistake these waste items as food. Once ingested, these plastic waste items can be deadly. Ecosystems are delicately orchestrated, and thus the death of a certain species in an area can have numerous knock-on effects. By recycling, you reduce the amount of waste that ends up in important natural ecosystems.
4) Employment Opportunities:
The recycling industry is opening up numerous employment opportunities.
Waste management at landfills is highly mechanised, leaving little room for employment options. Recycling is more labour-intensive as it requires specific collecting, sorting, and processing. This creates numerous unskilled labour employment opportunities in South Africa.
Recycling also creates an entrepreneurial market. If you can create a product using recycled materials, you can then start a business and therefore create your own employment opportunity.
5) Income Options:
Numerous recycling organisations have cash-for-recycling initiatives. These initiatives provide a small, supplementary income to individuals who participate in their recycling schemes. For example, Collect-a-Can has a “cash for cans” initiative. You can take cans to Collect-a-Can and be renumerated. This has provided an additional source of income for numerous South Africans as well as schools and community groups.
6) Green Businesses Attract Customers:
As a business, recycling can be beneficial to your revenue. As the world becomes more environmentally conscious, customers are turning their attention towards companies that demonstrate these greener views. Whilst a recycling bin located in your business lobby is by no means enough, it is a great first step. Demonstrating that your business is inclined towards recycling will gain the trust and loyalty of your environmentally inclined customers.
What You Can Recycle:
We have covered the items that can be recycled in South Africa and have highlighted a few specific recycling organisations.
Metal items that can be recycled include food tins, metal lids of glass jars, aluminium cans, foil, foil packaging, paint cans, oil cans, and aerosol cans. Even if your metal cans are rusted, they can still be recycled. Collect-a-Can is a South African organisation is a can recycling company. Since its inception, Collect-a-Can has improved the used beverage can recovery rate from 18% to 72% in South Africa. Collect-a-Can is located in Durban, Cape Town, and Johannesburg.
Beverage bottles and food jars are glass items that can be recycled. The Glass Recycling Company is the official glass recycling company in South Africa. The Glass Recycling Company has improved the glass recycling rate in South Africa from 18% to 42%. The Glass Recycling Company currently has 4017 glass banks dotted around South Africa.
The majority of paper items can be recycled, such as newspapers, white office paper, books, cardboard boxes, brochures, egg cartons, and envelopes.RecyclePaperZA is the main paper recycling organisation in South Africa. Within the last six years, RecyclePaperZA has recycled 7 million tons of paper.
To determine if a plastic item can be recycled, you need to check the plastic logo. These plastic logos are numbered 1-7 and each number will tell you what type of plastic has been used to make the item. Numbers that can generally be recycled are 1, 2, and 5. Specific companies can recycle other types of plastics. Green Cycle is a recycling collection service that can recycle 1, 2, and 5 plastics.
What You Cannot Recycle:
What often comes as a shock to first-time recyclers is that not every piece of plastic or paper can be recycled. Knowing what cannot be recycled is important as this will save you from placing possibly dangerous or time-wasting items into your recycling concrete bins.
Plastic: Plastic items that generally cannot be recycled are black polystyrene trays, any white polystyrene items, soft black plastic, black rigid trays, and plastic items containing metal parts.
Paper: Paper that is laminated, wax-coated, foil-lined, has glue on it, or has gotten wet or soiled cannot be recycled.
Glass: Drinking glasses, mirrors, windscreen glass, window glass, crystals, computer screens, and TV screens cannot be recycled.
Light Bulbs: Compact fluorescent lights (CFL), light-emitting diodes (LED), and fluorescent tubes cannot be placed in regular recycling bins or thrown away as trash. They are deemed hazardous due to their mercury content. CFL, LED and fluorescent tubes need to be disposed of correctly by specific organisations to avoid the toxic mercury coming into contact with soil or groundwater.
Dirty Recyclable Items: An item cannot be recycled if it is dirty.
Use Street Scape concrete bins for recycling at home, work, or to set up recycling stations in public spaces.