Mpact's recycling division urges consumers to put aside recyclable paper and packaging for recycling rather than throw it away this holiday season; South African company says its 'paper banks' collect up to 457,000 tonnes/year of recovered paper

JOHANNESBURG , December 3, 2013 (press release) – With the festive season countdown already begun, shopping malls are decorated and geared up for Christmas shoppers anxiously hunting for gifts and grabbing armfuls of wrapping paper, gift boxes, greeting cards, advent calendars and other bits and pieces typical of this time of year.

But once the gifts have been unwrapped, packaging ripped open, the crackers pulled, Christmas cards discarded and feasts devoured, what happens to all the waste?

Mpact Recycling is asking consumers to put aside recyclable paper and packaging rather than dispose of it with the rest of their household waste.

"Although it seems the easiest way to dispose of recyclable materials might be to throw them away with the rest of the garbage, Mpact Recycling's neighbourhood "paper banks" make it simple for communities to continue recycling throughout the festive season," says John Hunt, managing director of Mpact Recycling.

Mpact Recycling, a division of Mpact Limited, has a number of paper bank drop-off points conveniently located at schools, churches, community centres and forecourts in neighbourhoods across Gauteng, the Western Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal. It also operates a paper recycling collection service in some of these areas that will, apart from national public holidays, remain open throughout the festive season.

"Recycling paper is especially easy around this time of year as there is an abundance of it to be found, meaning that sorting and separating it is less of an issue for consumers," says Hunt.

Mpact collects upwards of 457 000 tons of recovered paper per year and about 70% of this is used by the Group's paper mills in the manufacture of recycle-based paper and packaging.

Hunt says that using only virgin fibre in the manufacture of paper-based packaging is not sustainable for the environment or for the packaging sector. It's therefore critical that enough recycled paper is collected for conversion into fibre, he says.

The input of recovered paper also has a positive impact in terms of climate change because it replaces virgin material and reduces greenhouse gas emissions linked to the production of virgin fibre, and prevents the land-filling or incineration of recovered paper.

"There is a growing awareness and sense of responsibility among consumers to buy packaged foods and goods that are environmentally sustainable," says Hunt, "So by recycling at home, consumers are at the source of this positive change."

Recycling work also provides jobs for around 100 000 people in South Africa, many of whom are entrepreneurs and small business owners that rely on sustained volumes of recycled material to earn a living.

Says Hunt: "Beyond the gifts, the feasts and the festivities that characterise this time of year is the spirit of giving, and in this case, giving back to our communities and to the environment. The effort that it takes for one person or household to recycle is small, but the difference that it makes will be felt far and wide."

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