South African Aerosol Recycling Market Assessment
November 2011 Samantha Mpofu
South Africa still lags behind the developed world when it comes to the recycling of aerosol cans. When asked whether they thought the collection of aerosol cans was effective in South Africa, the majority of the respondents mentioned that they did not think that this was the case and that there was still a lot to be done. Below are some strategies mentioned by respondents as well information gathered through desk research to increase the recycling rate of aerosol cans.
- Consumer Education
- Consumers need to be educated on how to handle aerosol can waste. They should make sure that aerosols are completely empty before they throw them away. If the can has labels, these should not be removed as these help identify the substances in the can.
- Consumers should not pierce, crush or flatten the aerosol before disposing them, they should also detach any loose or easily removable parts, such as the lid, and dispose of them with the rest of your rubbish
- Never throw aerosol cans in roadside dumps or trash fires as the cans are still pressurized and can explode
- Introduction of more waste collection sites for cans to be recovered before they reach landfills
- Introduction of more waste banks where consumers can dispose of their waste with clearly marked bins for aerosol cans so these are collected separately
- Introducing waste bins at residential complexes where consumers can easily throw away waste in marked bins instead of having to travel with waste in their cars, to the nearest collection point
- Joint efforts amongst key industry stake holders in the collection and recycling of aerosol cans
- According to recycling international, a two-year partnership between Unilever’s deodorants team and Alupro, the UK aluminium packaging recycling organisation, has boosted the number of local authorities collecting aerosol cans from 67% to 81%, bringing kerbside collection to an additional 4 million households.
- A joint nationwide promotion between Unilever’s Sure deodorant and major supermarket chain Tesco resulted in a 30% increase in recycling rates in participating stores.
- In the UK, the British Aerosol Manufacturers Association (BAMA) engaged the local municipalities in their recycling efforts.
- Sorting waste at source, although taking away the livelihoods of collectors has to be considered
- More investment in state of the art aerosol can recycling equipment and opening up more recycling facilities that can handle aerosol cans
- Research into other packaging alternatives for aerosol can products
- Work on changing perceptions held by some environmental awareness organisations in South Africa that aerosol cans can not be recycled or disposed of safely
- Establish an industry wide initiative to provide accurate information on the aerosol can volume collected and recycled