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Paper recycling in South Africa: We can all do better, together

Paper is one of the few truly sustainable products. Paper produced from sustainable forestry, followed by recycling after use, is the more environmentally conscious choice for packaging, packets and other applications.

However, while it is true that we’ve all become more environmentally aware in recent years, there’s always room for improvement. 

But that’s not a reason to feel guilty. It’s not about any one of us doing more so much as all of us, working together, to produce more environmentally conscious spaces.

Creating a recycling culture

Here’s an interesting finding. A study shows that recycling rates in offices go up significantly if a recycling bin is placed near people’s desks. That seems to indicate that most people appreciate the value of recycling – they want to recycle – but making the process just that little bit easier makes it all the more likely that they’ll actually do it.

In our daily lives, our actions are determined not just by our beliefs (‘recycling is good and necessary’) but also the culture of places of work and life.

That’s one reason making an effort to recycle office paper can have such an impact. Your individual recycling footprint is only part of the story. Your effort also contributes to a culture of recycling. By setting a good example, you can create a network effect that has outsize consequences.

For too long, we have perhaps made the mistake of thinking good recycling practice is mainly about being conscientious about our own waste. But really, we ought to be at least as focused on encouraging awareness at our places of work, educating our children and discussing sustainability with our friends.

Go green by starting green

Of course, you can support sustainable paper production by using recycled, sustainably grown paper in the first place.

That doesn’t have to involve compromises in quality. Amazing advances in recycled paper production means that you can buy high quality recycled paper with a premium look and feel. 

You’ll also want to consider the paper source. Was it grown sustainably? Fortunately, there are internationally recognised certification programmes that will help you identify paper sourced from sustainable forests.


As South Africa’s largest paper distributor, Peters Papers proudly supplies businesses and retailers throughout the country with a comprehensive range of sustainably-produced papers. Contact Peters Papers to chat to our expert sales team about finding the perfect paper for your next project.

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