M.A.D (Make A Difference) About Recycling

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By Anna Cocks and Refentse Malatji

This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 6 of VARSITY News.


We have just come out of Plastic-Free July, but why stop implementing the eco-friendly habits and skills you’ve acquired just because we’ve moved into the month of August?


We went around campus and interviewed a few people to gauge UCT students’ attitude towards recycling. We asked the following question; “Do you think that recycling is an effective solution in reducing climate change?”


But why is it important to have these conversations around climate change and recycling? Stats SA released a report in 2018 documenting South Africa’s rate of sustainable waste management and recycling. In 2011, about 90% of an ‘estimated 59 million tonnes of waste’ were sent to landfills while only 10% was recycled.  In 2015, they reported that only 5.2% of households recycled. However, things are beginning to look better. In 2018, ESI Africa reported that the percentage of recycled waste is growing with 48% of 1.144 million tonnes of waste being recycled in 2017.

 Nevertheless, the topic is still prevalent as the Western Cape Integrated Waste Management Plan suggests ‘there is limited landfill airspace available.’ There is also the issue of illegal waste dumping. Managing and disposing of waste is an important service that needs to be handled with care as to reduce the impacts on climate change. Which is why the Western Cape government has created drop-off zones or drop-off points around the city where people can drop off their recyclable waste.

These drop-off zones offer free access for residents of Cape Town to drop off their recyclable waste (i.e. glass, plastic, paper, etc.). At the drop-off zone, the recyclable waste is then sorted according to their respective categories by workers employed by the City of Cape. The drop-off zones are one of the ways in which the City of Cape Town is attempting to reduce waste. There are various location and they can be found on an app that locates the nearest drop-off zone from where you are situated.


We need to become M.A.D about recycling. Though it’s not the only solution, it is a start and we can all play a part. Reduce, reuse, recycle – the future of our planet depends on it.


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