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December 2012 - Recycle your festive waste – bring your cans to Collect-a-Can

Imagine this; if every one of the 51.8 million people living in South Africa today* drank just two beverages out of a can this festive season we would be left with a mountain of 103.6 million discarded cans by New Year. Laid end to end these cans could cover a distance of around 11396km’s**, which is roughly equivalent to the distance between Johannesburg and Sydney, Australia.

Fortunately, beverage cans are 100% recyclable and Collect-a-Can assists in recovering more than 72% of all beverage cans manufactured in South Africa ensuring that we will not be drowning in cans by the end of the year. In fact these discarded cans will be recycled and the steel re-used to manufacture any number of new steel items from window frames to gutters or car parts. Collect-a-Can recovers not only beverage cans but also food, oil, paint, aerosol and polish cans, all of which are 100% recyclable.

“By recovering and recycling these items we not only ensure a cleaner and greener environment for all South Africans but also help to save energy and reduce pollution,” says Zimasa Velaphi, Public Relations and Marketing Manager at Collect-a-Can, “as the cost, waste and energy implications of manufacturing virgin steel is far higher than that of recycling existing steel.

“Another benefit of recycling cans is that informal collectors and recycling buyback centres earn an income from collecting these used cans and selling them on to Collect-a-Can. The increase in waste around the festive season is a bonus for them as it boosts their earnings,” Velaphi explains. “Aside from being recyclable, cans keep produce fresh for longer, cool faster and take up less packing space than some other packaging options.

“The festive season can also be a great opportunity for learners to start collecting cans for their schools which they can then enter into Collect-a-Can’s annual national competition and win great cash prizes for their school,” concludes Velaphi.

So be green this festive season, purchase products packaged in cans and make sure that the packaging ends up in a recycle bin, ready to be recycled and reused for another season.

For more information about Collect-a-Can contact the Collect-a-Can head office on 011 466 2939 or visit the website Collect-a-Can is also on Facebook ( and Twitter (

* based on Stats SA 2011 census figures released in October 2012
**calculated on a standard 330ml beverage can 110mm tall

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