Only 11% of South Africans recycle 100% of the time

67% of South Africans claim to recycle ‘some’ of the time, while only 11% claim to recycle ‘all’ of the time, according to new research released by PETCO*.  665 South Africans were interviewed, LSM 7-10, aged 18-49, nationwide.

Key reasons why more South Africans don’t engage with recycling are because of lack of storage space at home and the absence of ‘easily accessible’ recycling depots. 

But, encouragingly, the findings show that many South Africans would be happy to take their recycling to central depots if they were close enough to their homes. 

“While many consumers may be aware that embracing a recycling lifestyle is essential for a sustainable future, most are not acting on this awareness,” says Cheri Scholtz, PETCO’s CEO . 

“PETCO can now use these research findings as a clear baseline from which we can plot our consumer awareness and engagement strategy. We know that consumers are generally willing to recycle, but only when it is made easy for them to do so. Our engagement strategy is focussed on increasing the level of consumer awareness and understanding, so that we can ensure households will take advantage of recycling processes and procedures as they become available.”

These findings profile current attitudes towards recycling in South Africa and takes a look at where SA sits on the PETCO Consumer Engagement Journey. The research indicates that the main benefit of recycling is seen to be an environmental one within this target audience – 47% spontaneously mentioned the benefits of recycling on the environment – whilst economic motivators were cited as the most important factor amongst others. 

Scholtz is frank about the challenges; “We know that growing our recycling rates will mean facing some hurdles, which includes creating higher demand for products made from recycled plastics. The greater the demand, the more this will ‘pull through’ the supply chain and stimulate activity. This will take considerable investment in infrastructure, innovation and encouragement from both private and public sectors. We believe consumers have a large role to play in this regard.” 

*PETCO is the organization responsible for fulfilling the South African PET plastic industry’s role of Extended Producer Responsibility.

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