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Recycling FAQs

What is the formal definition of Polystyrene?

Polystyrene, sometimes abbreviated PS, is an aromatic polymer made from the aromatic monomer styrene, a liquid hydrocarbon that is commercially manufactured from petroleum by the chemical industry. Polystyrene is a thermoplastic substance, normally existing in solid state at room temperature, but melting if heated (for moulding or extrusion), and becoming solid again when cooling off. Polystyrene is one of the most widely used kinds of plastic. Pure solid polystyrene is a colourless, hard plastic with limited flexibility. It can be cast into moulds with fine detail, for example yogurt cups, plastic cutlery and CD and DVD cases. Polystyrene can be transparent or can be made to take on various colours. Products made from foamed polystyrene are nearly everywhere, for example packing materials, insulation, and foam beverage cups.

Why are alkaline batteries not always recyclable?

Though it is possible to reclaim some metal from alkaline batteries, these batteries are not often recycled. Where they have been collected, it has generally been for disposal as a hazardous material. Mercury has been the ingredient of most concern in alkaline batteries. Batteries that are currently manufactured, however, contain only a fraction of the mercury they once did. Many countries have therefore determined that the reduced risk in sending alkaline batteries to the landfill does not warrant the expense of collecting them for special disposal or recycling. You might consider switching to rechargeable nickel-cadmium batteries, which are widely recycled--after being reused many times.

Can Bottle caps and lids be recycled?

Yes! You can donate them to Interwaste's Tops and Tags Project. 

Generally, removing bottle caps and lids is a good recycling habit, because their recyclability depends on the equipment your local recycler uses and what the lid is made of. Often it's as much a safety issue as a recycling issue; the pressure that builds up in a sealed plastic bottle can blow a whole bale of plastic and potentially injure workers.

What types of glass aren't allowed in general glass recycling initiatives?

Windscreens 
Laboratory glass 
Window glass 
Crystal and opaque drinking glasses 
Mirrors 
Heat-resistant ovenware 
Light bulbs 
Ceramic cups, plates and pottery 
Clay garden pots

These all require specialised type of process and do not form part of glass bottle recycling. 

How are milk and juice cartons recycled?

In South Africa recycling takes place through a hydro-pulping process which separates the paper fiber from the polyethylene and aluminium. The recycled fiber is then used to make a range of paper and cardboard products. The polyAlu component is separated for aggromulation and pelletisation for use in plastic injection moulded products. This pulping process is the most common method employed to recycle cartons worldwide.

Why is e-waste banned from landfill?

All E-Waste contains hazardous materials (lead, pvc "hydrocholric acid", barium, flame retardents, cadmium, mercury, beryllium, selenium) that leach into the ground water when exposed to the elements. Consumption of this water, even after filtration can cause health problems such as damage to: brain, kidneys, nervous system, lungs, muscles, heart, liver, spleen, reproductive organs, as well as hair loss and brittle nails.

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