Do you provide bins/bags?
Regular customers will receive a pack of branded Greencycle bags for their recycling every few months, and these should be sufficient for most of their recycling. Any other bags or boxes can be used, however, as long as we can pick them up and take them with us. Extra Greencycle bags can also be purchased from us, if preferred. Simply email us to order them. Please do not use our bags for any other purposes.
We do not supply bins as a matter of course; they can be expensive and are not necessary to be able to recycle at home; also, everyone has different requirements and one type or size of bin does not suit everybody. You can often manage with a crate or even a cardboard box, but if you would like something more aesthetically pleasing, for your home or office, please have a look at the Recycling Bins page on this website where you will find a selection of bins available for purchase.
Do I need to separate my recycling?
Preferably keep the paper/card separate so that it stays clean and dry; everything else (cans, bottles, plastics, e-waste) can go in together. We have to sort everything into the multifarious categories required by the end-users anyway and the requirements are changing all the time. If you do want to sort into 3 bins or bags, use one for paper/card, one for glass and cans and one for plastic and everything else, as this will be the most helpful to us.
The product I have says it’s recyclable, yet I do not find it on your list of items you can take?
Often products can be recycled in other parts of the country, or world, but not in Port Elizabeth. Sometimes the value of the recyclable item is not sufficient to cover the transport costs to get it to other areas, so no one is prepared to deal in it. Volumes may also be too small to make it financially viable for anyone to collect, transport and recycle a particular product. Greencycle is always looking for outlets for different products and will collect any items from our customers that we can pass on to recyclers (or others), whether or not we are paid for them. We try to make use of, sell or pass on items in their original form where possible.
As a consumer you can choose to not purchase things in unrecyclable packaging and can choose products based on their packaging as well as their price and other criteria. Communicate any concerns you have about the packaging of particular products to the retailer who is selling them and/or to the manufacturer so that they become aware that consumers are unhappy with the packaging used. This will encourage them to consider changing what they are using.
Can you take things which do not have a recycling sign on them?
If they appear on our list of things we can take, then, yes, we can. Many items do not have the recycling triangle on them although they are made from a recyclable material. There is some packaging which has the little ‘throw away in a bin’ sign, however, and this is usually something we cannot take (e.g. many snack wrappers). Please check our website regularly for an updated list of what we can and cannot take.
Also, not everything we take is sent for recycling. Some items are reused at Greencycle, or donated or sold in their existing form where this is possible. Some examples are glass jars, fabric, flower pots, printer cartridges, tools, usable appliances, containers, bags, boxes and all kinds of stationery.
If you are not sure whether to put something out for us to collect (especially if it is a large item), please call or email us to ask. We incur costs disposing of items which we are not able to find a home for. There are also items we are not supposed to handle or dispose of as they are classified as hazardous waste, for example fluorescent light bulbs or torch batteries.
Do you collect on public holidays?
We collect as normal on all public holidays (although the office may be closed) unless we have informed you otherwise (sometimes we move the collections for businesses to a different day so that they do not miss a collection). We close for one week a year over the festive season but these dates will be emailed to you well in advance.
Do you collect in bad weather?
We will only cancel collections in exceptionally bad weather, and customers will be notified individually if there is a problem. When high winds are expected, we ask that customers try and weigh down light items/bags.
Why can’t I drop off my recycling at your site?
Generally, we discourage people from dropping off at our warehouse. It is situated in a busy industrial park and there is not the space for many visitors, or for collection bins outside. It is not a particularly safe environment either. We do have some people dropping off at our premises – mainly from out of town; but we are designed to be a collection service and not a drop-off centre.
From an environmental perspective it is also better for us to collect your recycling while we are collecting from other people in your neighbourhood, than for everyone to come to our site individually.
Why don’t you have drop-off sites/bins?
Greencycle is a collection service and our infrastructure does not allow for us to handle industrial-sized bins, which have to be lifted with special vehicles/equipment. Furthermore, bins out in the public domain are often used as general rubbish bins, regardless of what it says on the outside and thus the recycling becomes contaminated and may have to be discarded. There are some drop-off sites available and some people prefer to use these, but we offer a convenient and efficient alternative and also take the widest range of recyclables possible which is not always the case with drop-off centres.
There’s money to be made in waste – why do I have to pay for you to collect my recycling?
It is true that recycling can be sold, however, the costs of collecting relatively small quantities of many different types of recycling, which still require sorting, outweigh the income derived from selling the items. We are an intermediary between you and the large, specialized recyclers of specific products, and thus do not receive the best possible prices for the materials we collect. Greencycle strives to make it possible for our customers to recycle as many products as possible and therefore take everything we can send for recycling – even those items for which we receive little or no payment, such as polystyrene and long-life cartons. We need to charge our customers in order to ensure we can provide an on-going, well run, financially viable service.
As a registered non-profit organisation, Greencycle has committed itself to submit annual financial statement and reports to the Registrar of Non-profit Organisations. This information is made publicly available through the NPO directorate and can be accessed through their website.
Why doesn’t the Municipality collect recycling?
As far as we are aware, at the moment there are not the funds available to pay for the infrastructure required to collect recycling along with regular refuse.
What happens to things you can’t recycle?
Despite all best efforts and intentions, both by us and our customers, we do still receive a percentage of waste that cannot be recycled. This, along with our own unrecyclable waste, goes to Arlington.