The Best Recycling Companies in Cape Town & JHB

Words: Jess Spiro

‘Reduce, reuse, recycle’ is probably one of the most important buzz terms to come out of the 21st century. And while the concept itself isn’t necessarily a new one, the phrase really is easy to remember, seeing as its sing-song sound reminds us of what to do when shopping. And, while we should all be committing to the first two words (reduce and reuse), so as to avoid using the last (recycle), making the conscious decision to recycle is a powerful one. To make it easier, we list the best recycling companies in Cape Town and Johannesburg, this includes collection as well as drop off points.

Waste is a worldwide epidemic and South Africans aren’t doing much to help

The average South African generates around 700 g of waste every day, amounting to about 42 million cubic meters of waste being accumulated across the country every year.

To put it simply, 1 ton of waste fills up a 3x2m² room right up to the ceiling. Just let that sink in.

In this day and age, with the realisation of the effect that our modern lives have on the environment, there is actually no excuse for not acknowledging that impact. If you’ve made the decision to recycle, but are not sure where to start, we’ve put together a handy infographic to make it all a little more simple.

Firstly, what can be recycled?

Metals, plastic, paper and glass are the general categories, with a number of products falling under these sections.

recycling in SA

Recycling companies in Cape Town

What about your garden waste?

Have you done some weekend gardening? Been landscaping? Your garden waste can also, and should definitely be, recycled. The best part about it is that all the goodness of that organic matter can be returned to your garden in the form of healthy, nutrient-filled compost. Capetonians, drop your garden waste at any one of these drop off points and help divert it out of landfill.

Now you know what can be recycled, the next step is knowing how to recycle. The best thing is to get into a habit of checking if the packaging can be recycled, rinsing it out if it’s dirty and simply popping it in a separate bin, lined with a clear plastic bag. Now it’s time to decide how you’re going to get rid of your recycling.

Admittedly recycling is not the easiest thing to do in South Africa, but the demand for it should make it more accessible in the near future. In the meantime, however, here are a few companies who offer kerbside collections at your house.

Recycling Companies in Cape Town

If you’ve claimed to be too busy, or that recycling is expensive, there really is no excuse not to recycle anymore. These businesses have made it easy and affordable to get rid of your recyclables, and will even tailor their services to your schedule. Contact any of the above recycling companies in Cape Town and get started!

Mr Recycle is a genius operation that allows you to decide just how much recycling you want to be picked up every week and you pay according to that. There are options of 1, 2 and even up to 4 bags per week. The company then comes by after work hours to pick up the bags. Mr Recycle also prides itself on helping the community, as well as the environment, by employing commercially unemployable staff and offering them an opportunity to earn a living.

Clearer Conscience sorts out pretty much every area of Cape Town from the CBD to the suburbs, meaning there is no excuse not to recycle. They also offer reasonable rates, as well as flexible collection dates so that you can personalise your service to suit your needs exactly.

Think Twice is a municipal initiative that offers a free (yes, you heard right, free) collection service to a number of different areas across Cape Town. All that is required is for residents to double check that their area is covered, and then place their recycling out in a clear plastic bag with their regular rubbish bins, on collection days.

Abundance Recycling will collect recycling material from your home in Cape Town on a weekly basis and is delivered to a reputable recycling depot where it will be sorted and dispatched to the recycling manufacturers.

Recycle 1st is a recycler committed to putting your recycling needs first. They’re based in the Northern Suburbs but operate across the whole of Cape Town. Recycle 1st performs household and small to medium business collections on a fortnightly basis. Collection days are designated per area. You can check their website and view all their collection areas.

Regenize is proof that recycling is cool. This recycling initiative operates door-to-door and collects recycled materials using recycling tricycles and smartphones. They incentivise sustainability efforts with ‘Remali’ — recycling money. With only 7.5% of South Africans recycling, Regenize started its recycling project to encourage residents to employ better sustainability efforts. You can check their website to learn about their collection areas and if your area isn’t listed, you could request to have it added.

Easy Recycling makes recycling a breeze. They do weekly home collections as well as sorting, making the task so much easier. All you have to do is ensure that any waste residue has been removed from your recyclables, as well as ensuring that you flatten your cardboard and plastic bottles for easy collection. Their services include garden refuse removal and garage clearance. Easy Recycling targets Southern residential areas as well as the City Bowl. Take a look at their website to see if they cover your area.

Recycling Companies in Johannesburg

Whole Earth will come to your home, office or complex and, for a reasonable fee, pick up your recyclable goods. You don’t have to worry about sorting anything either, as they will do that for you, just ensure that everything is clean. The best thing about Whole Earth is that it supports a group of sorters who are able to keep all the money made from the sale of the materials.

Ecomonkey offers a similar service, covering most of Johannesburg’s suburbs. Their fees for home collection start from as little as R85 a month, making them an affordable option to go for. Once you’re signed up, Ecomonkey will come past your house once a week between 07h00 and 18h00 to whisk your recycling away.

Mama She’s Waste Recyclers offer a very simple and affordable system, where you buy 20 of their blue bags for R20. You then use these bags for your recycling, which they come by and pick up. Send them an email to get started.

Remade Recycling aims to help businesses and households manage their recycling in an ethical and customised way. Their Residential Estate Recycling Programme is super efficient and convenient, as they require minimal sorting beforehand.  No registration fee is required to be a part of their recycling programme, they only have a monthly levy. Remade recycling handles all recycling materials including eWaste.

eTope Waste Management deals with school and business recycling group projects. They do weekly collections, free of charge. If you’d like to use their services, simply make sure your waste is separated before collection. eTope’s Recycling centre is located in Industria West. You can visit the website if you’d like to reduce your business’ carbon footprint and minimise waste.

Small, Meaningful Changes You Can Make to your Everyday Life

Reduce, reuse, recycle is not only a singalong phrase, it’s also a mantra of sorts. Instead of recycling being your first port of call, consider reducing and reusing first.

Single-use plastics, such as food containers, are only going to be used once and when you’re done with them, you will dispose of them. But be aware that the entire package may not be recyclable. If there is a film sealing it or any polystyrene, it can’t be recycled.

Think about reducing your intake of plastics and single-use packaging as a whole – is there another option for you to buy what you need that doesn’t involve waste? For instance, don’t buy prepped butternut, buy a whole one and skip any plastic containers. It’s also cheaper to buy whole produce.

Introduce reusing into your life too, don’t just recycle every yoghurt container you buy, wash it out and use it as a storage container. This will also save you money because you won’t need to buy as many storage containers.

We live in a fantastic modern world, where everything we could ever want is right at our fingertips, but at what cost to the environment? Your super-efficient coffee capsules may make a great cuppa joe, but for most, the packaging isn’t recyclable, so those little pods are literally clogging up our environment. Make a switch to a brand like 4wks that offer fully compostable pods and packaging It’s so handy to be able to eat your takeaway with plastic cutlery, but what happens to them after you chuck them in the bin? Look out for a set of reusable on-the-go cutlery that you can keep on you instead.

You need to be asking yourself these small, everyday questions. We need to do something if we’re going to protect this wonderful planet we live on, so why not start doing that in your own home.

Read more about what can be recycled here.


  1. I am a Chairperson in my area. The community is prepared to look into recycling but I need information to assist them. Are you the people I need to talk to? I reside in Athlone.

    • Hi June, we are just reporting on services offered, you would need to contact a service in your area specifically for more details. Best of luck.

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