Photo by JJ Ying on Unsplash

South Africa’s paper consumption hits new high

By Gemma Gatticchi
Thursday, Oct 12, 2023 Recycling

South Africans used 2.4-million tonnes of paper in 2022, the most paper since 2013. About 2-million tonnes of that was recoverable, which means it was easy to retrieve and was recyclable.

Some types of paper, such as tissues, paper towels and paper plates, are not recoverable as they’re often soiled and made from fibres that are too short to be recycled.

About 1.2-million tonnes (61%) of the recoverable paper was sent to mills for recycling. During the Covid pandemic in 2020, paper usage dropped dramatically, probably because of the online nature of work as well as problems with paper supply. That year, though, the recycling rate was 70%.