Household Recycling | Western Cape Government

Household Recycling


Recycling should be part of our everyday lives to ensure that our children have a future that has enough resources to meet their needs, as well as a clean environment. 

Recycling is the process of separating, collecting and remanufacturing or converting used or waste products into new materials. Recycling helps extend the life and usefulness of something that has already served its original purpose, by producing something that is useable.  

Difference between recycling and reusing

The difference between recycling and reusing is that while reusing is merely just a repeated use of old products, recycling using the core elements of old products, such as plastic water bottles, computers, packaging pallets, and cell phones as raw materials to manufacture new goods.

Why is recycling important? Know what you can recycle at home

Recycling is one of the best ways for you to have a positive impact both on us and the world in which we live. With recycling, a substantial portion of our waste can be broken down into their original elements and be used to produce new materials. 

7 Benefits of recycling

Some of the important benefits of recycling are:

  • saving energy,
  • saving money,
  • reducing air and water pollution,
  • creating jobs,
  • protecting wildlife, forests and wetlands,
  • preserving natural resources, and the
  • freeing-up space at overfull landfills / waste disposal sites.

3 Stages of the recycling process

The recycling process is composed of 3 stages:

  1. Collecting and sorting: In this stage, waste materials are collected and then processed and sorted according to its type and use.
  2. Manufacturing: This is the phase where the collected and sorted materials are processed into new reusable products.
  3. Selling recycled products to consumers: When the product that the consumers bought already served its purpose, the recycling process will then again continue as these products are collected.

What can be recycled?

What to recycle

A large portion of household waste can be recycled. You’ll need to look for the recycle logo on packaging to find out if the material can be reused.

Also remember to remove food and liquid waste before you place items in the recycling bin.  

1) Recycling Paper and Cardboard

The following types of paper can be recycled:

  • white office paper,
  • magazines and books (glossy magazines and inserts printed on glossy paper are recyclable, as long as nothing is laminated),
  • newspapers, or
  • corrugated cardboard.

The following may not be recycled:

  • no laminated or waxy paper (such as that often found in boxes used for tomatoes or bananas), 
  • no waxy paper ream wrappers, 
  • no tetrapacks (fruit juice and milk containers that seem to be made out of paper, but are lined with foil and plastic), 
  • no punch confetti, 
  • no carbon paper, or
  • no stickers.

2) Recycling glass

The following glass can be recycled:

  • wine bottles,
  • food jars (used for jam, mayonnaise, tomato sauce etc), and
  • light bulbs, sheet glass, mirrors and Pyrex can be recycled, but should be stored separately as they are made of a different kind of glass.

Note: Rinse out and dry bottles containing the remains of foodstuffs and beverages. You can leave paper labels on the glass.

Everyone can help to recycle3) Recycling metal

The following metal can be recycled (note items with asterisk*):

  • aluminium cooldrink cans,
  • food tins (these should be rinsed. It helps if you remove the paper label, too),
  • lids of glass containers,
  • aluminium foil and foil packaging,
  • small metal items (such as staples, paperclips),
  • paint and aerosol cans (leave labels on the cans as their contents are viewed as hazardous and recyclers need to know what was in them),
  • old car body parts*,
  • rusty garden furniture*, or
  • non-ferrous metals (anything made out of copper, aluminium, brass, stainless steel)*

*Note: Very few recycling depots accept these metal items. Call ahead to make sure.

4) Recycling plastic

The following plastic can be recycled:

  • food and beverage containers (hard plastic as used containers for ice cream, milk, juice, bottled water, soft drinks, milk, butter and margarine),
  • household cleaner containers (hard plastic such as that used for cleaners such as bleach, dishwashing liquid, fabric softener), or
  • plastic bags (soft plastic such as that used to wrap magazines, six-packs of beer or packs of toilet paper).

Note: No cling-wrap can be recycled.

5) Recycling electronic waste (eWaste)

These appliances can be recycled, if you're not sure, call the depot to find out.

  • electronic goods (for example: cellphones, computers, tv's, whether working or not), and
  • electrical household appliances (for example: fridges, toasters, ovens, whether working or not).

Recycle. Reuse. Reduce.Where can I recycle?

There are a number of sites across the province where you can drop off your rubbish and unwanted material, as well as organisations that will collect your recycled items from your home. Here are a few directories to give you some more information:

Recycling is something that everyone can get involved in. Make recycling part of your life today and see how your contribution makes your environment more sustainable and healthy. 

Provided At: These facility categories:
Provided by:
Government Body: (Western Cape Government)
The content on this page was last updated on 10 January 2023