• Separate your recyclables from your rubbish. That’s the message from Fibre Circle, the producer responsibility organisation (PRO) for the South Africa’s paper and paper packaging sector.

    On average, 1.1 million tonnes of waste paper are recovered in South Africa annually. Old cardboard boxes and paper bags such as the ones used for online shopping and grocery deliveries are widely used by the paper recycling industry to make new boxes and bags. Used office paper is used to make toilet tissue and newspapers go into the manufacture of egg cartons.

    While importers and producers of paper and goods in paper packaging have now have a legal responsibility to promote paper collection and recycling, much of the practical part rests on consumers.  

    We all use recyclable paper products every day – in the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and at school or in the office. By recycling, we keep the paper clean enough for paper companies to re-use. Recycling also supports livelihoods, especially for informal collectors. 



    • Magazines and brochures, including glossy varieties
    • Newspapers 
    • Office and shredded paper, envelopes
    • Cardboard boxes of any kind – dry food, cosmetic and medicine boxes; roll cores, packing cartons 
    • Old telephone directories and books
    • Envelopes
    • Paper giftwrap (minus embellishments)
    • Milk, beverage and food cartons 
    • Paper cups




    • Wet or dirty paper and cardboard
    • Used paper plates, disposable nappies, tissues, and toilet paper
    • Wax-coated, foil-lined, or laminated boxes 
    • Cement and dog food bags
    • Foil gift wrapping, carbon, and laminated paper


    • Have a separate bin, bucket, or box for your paper recycling in the kitchen, bathroom and your home office.
    • Look out for recycling drop-off centres or leave recyclable items next to the municipal bin for informal recycling collectors. Used office paper, cereal boxes, brown cardboard boxes, and even egg boxes are just some of the paper items that collectors will take. 
    • Look for recycling collection companies in your area.

    If everyone in the chain takes responsibility for reducing their waste and improving their recycling habits, paper and paper packaging can stay in its useful loop for longer.