Companies were driven into recycling due to three main reasons

Companies were driven into recycling due to three main reasons: environmental, economic and social. All companies responded that the motivation for their involvement in solid waste recycling activities was based on environmental reasons, which came out to be 100%, economic reasons came out to be 86.6%; and only 20% of the companies reported social reasons. Therefore environmental and economic stood out as the main motives for recycling by companies.
Discussions with most participants, 100% of companies considered recycling to be environmentally driven. However, 100% of the companies who were physically recycling indicated that they were doing this for economic reasons.
4.2.4 Extent of Involvement in Recycling Industry
The extent of involvement of companies varied depending on their core activities in the recycling loop. According to EPA (2016), the recycling loop involves the following three major activities:
• step 1-collection and processing,
• step 2 manufacturing;
• step 3 purchasing/selling of new products made from the recycled materials
The loop is not considered complete without purchasing. These steps are repeated over and over again as the products are repeatedly recycled, thus companies aligned themselves with all or some of these activities. Extent of Involvement with regards to processes
The study was based on the assumption that companies are involved in the three steps mentioned above, but these activities could be further broken down into smaller activities as illustrated later on in this section.
To establish the extent of involvement with regards to the processes, the following question was posed “What is the extent of your involvement in the industry in terms of collection, processing, manufacturing and purchasing and selling of new products?” Responses were as shown in the table 4.5.

Table 4.5: Extent of Involvement with regards to the recycling process
Company Collection and Processing Manufacturing Purchasing/ selling Others/
Promoting Total Activities Per Company
Recovery and Collection
Pre-processing Processing
A ? ? ? 3
B ? ? ? 3
C ? ? 2
D ? ? ? 2
E ? ? 2
F ? ? 2
G ? ? 2
H ? ? ? ? 4
I ? 1
J ? ? 2
K ? ? 2
L ? ? 2
M ? 1
N ? ? 2
O ? 1
Total Companies (%) 9 8 1 3 3 7
64 57 7 21 21 50
Source: Research Data
The extent of involvement of companies emerged into five categories: collection, pre-processing, processing, manufacturing, purchasing as summarized in Table 4.5.
The responses illustrate that all companies were involved though one of the participants had indicated during the interview that “There is no recycling here. We just collect and send the materials to South Africa.” Majority of companies, 64% were involved with collection and pre-processing activities, the first step of the recycling loop; 21% of the companies were into manufacturing and selling of products respectively, while 50% were involved in other activities and 7% in processing of collected materials (7%). Extent of Involvement with regards to type of product materials
Not all solid waste materials were recyclable. Recycling of solid waste involves handling plastic, paper, glass, e-waste or scrap metal. The residue after sorting recyclables was thrown to the landfills. To find out more, the researcher had to establish types and nature of recyclables that companies handled. In order to establish this, the following question was posed “Which type of recyclable raw materials do you deal with?” It came out that seven products material were being recycled as in Table 4.6
Table 4.6 Product material handling per Company
Company Plastic Paper
Glass Cans Tires Scrap Metals e-waste Total Products
A ? ? ? ? ? ? 6
B ? 1
C ? 1
D ? 1
E ? 1
F ? ? ? 3
G ? ? 2
H ? ? ? ? 4
I 0
J ? 1
K ? 1
L ? ? 2
M 0
O 0
Total 8 2 4 4 3 1
Source: Research Data
A total of eight (8) companies handled plastics, two (2) handled papers, one (1) company was involved in e-waste recycling and three (3) companies were recycling scrap metal. Three (3) companies were not involved with any product material. These companies were not involved in physical recycling of materials but their roles were more of policy, regulation and supportive in nature. Only three (3) companies were handling more than 3 product material with 1 company handing almost all the products except e-waste.
Respondents categorized these materials further as shown in Table 4.7.
Table 4.7 Spectrum of recyclables materials in further categories
Material Category Types
Plastic Soft carrier bags, sheeting, wrapping packaging,
Hard wheelie bins, refuse bags, juice and water bottles, storage containers, HDP, PVC, UPVC pipes, chairs, tables, cutlery, crate boxes, detergents containers, tires
Paper White Bond paper, writing, newspapers, magazines, envelops
Brown carton boxes, envelops and wrapping paper
Glass/bottles Clear Milk, soft drinks and juice
brown beer, soft drinks
green beer, soft drinks,
Scrap metals Cans Steel and aluminum (soft drinks, beverage, fruit)
Ferrous steel, iron
Non ferrous aluminum, copper, brass, silver, lead, nickel, tin, zinc, gold, silver, platinum
E-waste Industrial desktop computers, mouse, and computer screens, mp3 players, irons, microphones, laptops, calculators, printers, copy machines, keyboards, fax machines, cod players, video machines, speakers, remote controls, cameras, kettles, toasters, vacuum cleaners, answering machines, DVD players, electronic toys, servers, modems swiping machines mobile phones, batteries, circuit boards, hard disks, and monitors and sporting equipment, and any other electrical
Household Televisions, electric kettles, hair brushes, microwaves, irons, food processors, toasters: home appliances such as, air conditioners, electric cookers and heaters, fans, DVDs, radios
Source: Research Data

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Table 4.8 Plastics recycling codes and symbols
Recycling Code Recycling symbol Examples Recycled Products
codes 1
PET or PETE (polyethylene terephthalate) Plastics Soft drink, water and beer bottles; mouthwash bottles; peanut butter containers; salad dressing and vegetable oil. fleece, tote bags, furniture, carpet,
code 2
HDPE (high density polyethylene) Plastics milk jugs, juice bottles; bleach, detergent and household cleaner bottles; shampoo bottles; some shopping bags; motor oil bottles; butter and yogurt tubs; cereal box liners. laundry detergent bottles, oil bottles, pens, recycling containers, floor tile, drainage pipe, lumber, benches, doghouses, picnic tables, fencing
Code 3
PVC or V (Vinyl) Plastics. Plastics like window cleaner and detergent bottles, shampoo bottles, cooking oil bottles, clear food packaging and piping. Are rarely recycled and are recycled into: decks, panelling, mud flaps, roadway gutters, flooring, cables, speed bumps, mats
Code 4
LDPE (low density polyethylene) Plastics plastics such as those found in squeezable bottles, bread, frozen food, dry cleaning and shopping bags; tote bags; plastic benches; carpet recycled into bin liners and cans, bins, packaging materials, floor tiles
Code 5
PP (polypropylene) Plastics yogurt containers, syrup bottles, sauce bottles, caps, straws .Companies however, handled mainly caps Can be recycled into signal lights, battery cables, brooms, brushes, auto battery cases, ice scrapers, landscape borders, bicycle racks, rakes, bins, pallets, trays.
PS (polystyrene) Plastic Disposable plates and cups, meat trays, egg cartons, carry-out containers, aspirin bottles, compact disc cases Insulation, light switch plates, egg cartons, vents, rulers, foam packing, carry-out containers.
Miscellaneous Plastic gallon water bottles, ‘bullet-proof’ materials, sunglasses, DVDs, iPod and computer cases, signs and displays, certain food containers, Recycled into: Plastic lumber, custom-made products Recycled to: Plastic lumber, custom-made products
Source: Research Data: Howard, 2008
Table 4.7 shows that each material had more than one category. Plastic was divided into two major categories of soft and hard plastic and the variety of types identified. Some of the respondents (Company A & D) further categorized their plastics into recycling symbols or codes as shown in Table 4.8. Extent of involvement with regards to modes of collection
Different modes of collection were used and materials collected from different sources as well. The researcher also established how companies were able to source materials for recycling. The following question was posed; “Where do you get the recyclable materials and how?”
a) Source of material
Recyclable materials were collected from different sources. Table 4.9 shows sources of raw materials.
Table 4.9: Sources of raw materials by company
Sources of Products
Company Household Institutions Commercial Industries Others Total Sources
A ? ? ? ? ? 5
B ? 1
C ? 1
D ? ? 2
E ? ? ? 3
F ? 1
G ? ? 2
H ? ? ? ? 4
J ? ? ? ? 4
K ? ? ? ? 4
L ? 1
N ? ? ? ? ? 5
Total 4 6 6 7 10
Source: Research Data
Five (5) areas for material recovery were identified. Companies A and N Two collected their raw materials from all 5 sources, while five (5) companies indicated less than 2 sources. Ten (10) companies had other sources of material from farms, mines, construction site, ship wreck site, fisheries, resorts.Table 4.9 also shows that companies were competing for the recyclable raw materials, with 7 companies collecting from industries, while only 4 companies were collecting from household. The fact that more companies are collecting from industries than residential areas may suggest that there are incentives given by industries than residential.
b) Collection modes
Recyclable raw materials were collected through different modes as shown in Table 4.10.
Table 4.10: Collection Modes
Collection Modes Source of Collection
Kerb-side Door to door
Drop -Off or clear bag Systems Shopping centers, residential, open spaces etc.
On- Site Landfill, industries, mines, schools, institutions
Source: Research Data
Table 4.9 shows that three modes of collection were identified: Kerb-side (door to door), drop off centers (shopping centers; open spaces) and on site (landfill, industries, mines, farms, schools and institutions).