Mandatory recycling of refuse in Johannesburg – what you need to know

Pikitup will be distributing and supplying residents with bags into which they must place recyclable material. Residents will receive either a clear or a blue bag. Clear bags go to areas where Pikitup facilitates recycling and blue bags will go to three areas where the organisation has contractors that facilitate recycling.

What goes in the bag?

Paper such as newspapers, magazines, accounts and bills. Pizza boxes and milk cartons are not recyclable as they are contaminated.

Plastic milk containers and detergent holders. These items must be rinsed out. Failure to do so will contaminate all other recyclables in the bag.

Metal such as soda and tin cans which have to be rinsed out.

Glass jars and bottles. These have to be rinsed out as well.

Pickup day

The pickup day is the same for household and recyclable waste. On the designated days when Pikitup collects your waste, put the bag of recyclables out with your Pikitup bin.

Refuse collectors will remove both household waste and waste that can be recycled on their standard routes. Recycling applies to single houses, security complexes, suburban estates and townships.

Penalties for noncompliance

There will eventually be penalties for people who do not recycle as the city is extremely serious about tackling the scourge of pollution.

The recycling project will be phased in over the next six months, but residents who are not compliant will be penalized although it is not clear yet what those penalties will be.

Why recycle?


The city is generating huge amounts of waste and is running out of space to deposit it. Careless waste disposal also creates an unnecessary financial burden.

Local government is imploring people to think about which items can be used again. They are keen to establish the motto “if you can’t reuse it, you must refuse it”.

The city will be offering detailed educational programmes on recycling.

List of affected Johannesburg areas

Not everyone will be affected by the new separation of waste rules. Check the list of affected Johannesburg suburbs here.

If you have not received your clear plastic bag contact the city’s call centre on 0860 562 874 or the local Pikitup depot in your area.


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