A new study by the University of Cape Town’s Energy Research Centre shows that recycling could lead to a 0.5% rise in GDP.
The study also notes that reintroducing waste as a commodity could yield social and environmental benefits including a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and soil and water contamination.
The 2016 study investigated the potential effects of reintroducing resources into the economy through the waste management stream.
A previous Council for Scientific and Industrial Research study showed that, of the estimated 19-million tonnes of municipal waste generated in SA in 2011, about 25% comprised mainline recyclables such as glass, paper, tin and plastic.
In 2016, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said her department was planning to help scale up waste-recycling enterprises through a support programme.