Finding treasures in trash!

South Africa’s recycling statistics might come as a pleasant surprise to many. According to recent reports by Plastics SA, Research & Markets and Recycling International we come out ahead of many of our Northern hemisphere counterparts. For example:

  • South Africa recycled 46.3% of all plastic products in 2018, whereas Europe only recycled 31.1%, making us a world-leader in mechanical recycling.
  • South Africa further recycles over 70% of steel, 40.6% glass and 30% plastic beverage cans annually.
  • The plastics recycling industry provides direct, formal employment for over 7,890 people. The industry creates a further 58,470 income-generating jobs.
  • South Africa has 300 active recycling companies.
  • The top 30 recyclers in South Africa currently process 54% of the country’s plastic waste.

A less pleasant statistic is that 70% of all recyclable materials originate from landfills and other post-consumer sources. In plain terms this means that recycling is not driven by individuals but rather by economics. South Africa’s waste management industry is currently worth around ZAR 25 billion some sources say.

At Spoor & Fisher, a few members of staff took on the challenge of recycling the waste we created in our office every day. They started collecting discarded water bottles, cutlery, toilet and roller towel inners, tins and cardboard boxes (often out of rubbish bags) and looked to Pinterest and YouTube for ideas on how to change these items that were going to waste into something useful and beautiful.

We think they’ve hit gold! We were all delighted and awed to see what they came up with in the form of recycled Christmas trees, angels, reindeer and a variety of tree decorations when we arrived at work this morning.

In an interview, one of our head Elves told us how much fun she and her team had, often working after hours and over weekends to transform everyday items into tiny works of art through spray painting, bending, packing, sticking and linking. Not only did they manage to create beautiful decorations, but built and strengthened friendships over blisters and laughter!

The attached photos show their incredible results.

As another Elf summarised, “Someone else’s trash can be your treasure, you do not have to use a lot of money to decorate at Christmas time.”

We agree.

Please see the photos attached for some DIY Christmas decoration ideas. I for one am sneaking into the kitchen soon to see if I can find some plastic bottles. I want to try and make one of those Christmas trees.

Happy decorating!