From 11 to 17 September is National Clean-up and Recycling Week, with Saturday 16 September focusing specifically on recycling, as National Recycling Day. Let It Grow Foundation is all about our beautiful Earth. We must do everything in our power to protect her.

This guide aims to help you get started, and shows you where to recycle.

What can you recycle?

  1. Metal
  • Cold drink and beer cans
  • Food tins
  • Metal lids of glass jars
  • Aluminium cans (e.g. Red Bull),  foil and foil packaging
  • Paint, oil and aerosol cans (leave labels on them so recyclers can see whether they contain hazardous material).
  • Rusty cans can be recycled too!


  1. Glass
  • Beverage bottles
  • Food jars such as tomato sauce, jam and mayonnaise bottles

The following CANNOT be recycled

  • Drinking glasses
  • Light bulbs  – ordinary and energy-saving compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) – and fluorescent tubes. NB CFLs and fluorescent tubes should not be thrown away with ordinary rubbish. They contain mercury, a toxin that can leach into the soil and groundwater if not disposed of properly. Take your old CFLs to the drop-off points at Pick n Pay and Woolworths stores where they will be disposed of safely. If you don’t have this option, place your old CFLs in a sealed plastic bag before you throw them in the bin.
  • To dispose of standard fluorescent tubes you can either contact Don’t Waste Services if you have a lot of them. Also in JHB and surrounds in JHB/surrounds are :
    • Brakpan: Computer scrap recycling – 011-7404330
    • Kempton Park: Desco electric recyclers – 011-979-3017
    • Alternatively you can contact Ewasa (the E-Waste Association of SA) for other contacts.


  1. Paper
  • White office paper
  • Magazines and books (as long as nothing is laminated)
  • Newspaper
  • Cardboard (boxes and cereal boxes).

The following CANNOT be recycled:

  • Laminated or waxy paper
  • Punch confetti
  • Carbon paper
  • Stickers


  1. Plastics
  • Plastics are made from oil, a non-renewable resource, and much of the plastic packaging we use every day is recyclable.
  • Ice cream and milk containers
  • Fabric softener bottles, plastic bags and even cling-wrap

The easiest way to determine whether a plastic product is recyclable is by looking for its recycling logo. There are seven plastic recycling logos and most plastic packaging is imprinted with one of them. The logos tell you what type of plastic a container is made of. Each type has to be recycled separately. (Plastic recycling logos)


  1. Tetrapak
  • Fruit juice and milk containers look like they’re made out of paper, but they are lined with aluminium foil and plastic so they must be recycled separately. Tetra Pak has opened its first small-scale recycling facility in Germiston, Gauteng, where its packaging is recycled into roof tiles, furniture and stationery. The company has plans to open more recycling plants around South Africa. For more information about Tetrapak see


  1. Batteries
  • Disposable batteries are not recycled – this is apparently because the material recovery rate is too small to make recycling economically viable. But they should not be thrown away with ordinary household waste either, because they contain toxic chemicals that can leach into the soil and groundwater.
  • Rechargeable batteries, on the other hand, are recyclable. Add to this the fact that they last a lot longer than ordinary batteries and you have a compelling argument to buy rechargeables from now on.