We interviewed recycling legend Ronnie Recycler

GREEN HERO: Since 2014 to date, Ronnie Recycler has impacted over 400 000 children’s livesPHOTO: SUPPLIED
GREEN HERO: Since 2014 to date, Ronnie Recycler has impacted over 400 000 children’s livesPHOTO: SUPPLIED

Yesterday was World Environment Day, an important reminder that it’s more important than ever to think about the impact we’re leaving on the earth.

One South African who’s been advocating for our environment for a long time is Ronnie Recycler. We caught up with this beloved recycling mascot and asked him how we can make a difference.

Q: Hi Ronnie! I remember seeing you when I was a child at school. But for our readers who don’t know, who are you and what do you do?

A: Hi! My name is Ronnie Recycler and I am the Mpact Recycling mascot, and my primary role is to educate the recyclers of tomorrow about the importance of recycling. I go around with my colleagues all over South Africa to schools and communities – and we do a Ronnie talk. We show the children what they can recycle, how to recycle and why we recycle in South Africa.

Q: Which schools do you go to?

We do regular visits to schools around the country – Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape. In fact, between launching Ronnie Recycler in 2014 to date, we have impacted over 400 000 children’s lives.

Q: Why should I recycle?

South Africa’s landfills are slowly staring to fill up, so we need to be sure that recycling is part of everyone’s routine in order to help save the environment.

So when you are at home and your mom or dad throws that precious piece of paper in the dustbin – stop them and remind them to recycle their newspapers, magazines, PET bottles, long life milk and juice cartons, white paper, envelopes, telephone directories and cardboard boxes.

Q: Can I recycle milk cartons?

Absolutely. This might be news to you because liquid cartons (such as long life milk, juice and custard cartons) were previously a big contributor to waste in South Africa’s landfill sites since they weren’t recyclable. But now they are!

The problem is, many people remain unaware that their milk cartons can be recycled, which is why Mpact Recycling and Tetra Pak SA are on a drive to let South African consumers and companies know that they can and should recycle their liquid packaging cartons.

Q: If I want to recycle, where can I drop off my recyclable goods?

Consumers can deposit their long life milk and juice cartons, as well as any paper and paper based packaging and boxes in their nearest Ronnie bank at schools or community centres. Information on drop-off points is available at mpactrecycling.co.za on the home page under ‘Paperbank search’.

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