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Reduce, reuse, recycle: SA's new waste management strategy is going circular

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Some 62 000 people are involved in collecting recyclables as waste pickers working on an informal basis. These waste pickers are estimated to have saved municipalities R700 million in collection and disposal costs, according to the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries.

Although waste picking is unregulated, with working conditions that are dangerous and marginal earnings to sustain livelihoods, it plays an important role in the recycling industry and the government's overall plan to achieve a more "circular economy". A circular economy seeks to reduce the environmental impact of economic activity by promoting the reduction of waste and the reuse and recycling of materials, as outlined in the National Waste Management Strategy for 2020.

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