Think green this festive season

The festive season is just around the corner and consumers are racing to supermarkets to stock up on delicious foods and goodies just in time for this unifying time of year. The Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) shares a few guidelines on how to be an ‘eco-reindeer’ by setting up waste separation facilities over the holidays.

“There are many benefits that come with recycling and separating waste at source. These benefits range from reducing pollution, conserving natural resources and saving landfill airspace so that landfill sites can last longer,” shares Dr Suzan Oelofse, President of the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA).

“Separating waste at source will help you and your family curb the wasteful festive season habit as you enjoy your holidays. There are easy implementable steps you can follow at home throughout the year to help keep our country clean and green,” says Oelofse.

Here are easy steps to get separation at source right the first time:

  1. Use two different waste separation bins/containers

“Separation at source does not have to be a tedious task. You only need two containers in your home that you and your family can use to separate your waste during the festive season and throughout the year. The first one should be used for wet waste, i.e. kitchen and food waste, which can be turned into compost very easily. The second one is for recyclable waste which includes cans, plastic, glass and paper,” guides Oelofse.

Recyclable hazardous waste such as electronic equipment, batteries and light bulbs should be taken to recycling stations that are available at most large retailers.  Only waste items that cannot be recycled or composted should be thrown in the municipal bin for collection.

  1. Mark each container clearly

“It is important that you clearly mark the containers to make the separation activity easier and more fun, especially for the little ones. You can also colour code each container to make it enjoyable for the whole family,” recommends Oelofse.

  1. Monitor the containers regularly

Keeping a close eye on the containers will help you reach your recycling goal of minimal waste to landfill sites and will also assist you in identifying wasteful products that were unnecessary to include on your shopping list. This will come in handy when drafting that shopping list, knowing which products are harmful to the environment.  If you live in an area that has a kerbside collection system for recycled items, put out your recycled goods for collection as regularly as possible to support the recyclers who require a constant supply for their business to function.

  1. Donate recycled material to various collection sites in your community

“The convenience of having these containers is that you can use them for as long as you want, even after the festive season is over. Once you have filled the containers with your recyclable waste, donate what you have collected to various collection sites in your area,” suggests Oelofse. This will boost the economy of your community as a whole – something all of us should pursue!

“Waste can become a resource if separated correctly by individuals. Waste separation makes it easier for each type of waste to be recycled by recycling institutions, and it also assists municipalities when collecting our weekly waste,” concludes Oelofse.

If you want to start separating waste at source, visit and locate your nearest recycling depot. For more information on the IWMSA, visit The IWMSA is also on Twitter and Facebook. For more information on recycling and recovery, visit the National Recycling Forum’s website at

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