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‘South Africans have failed at combating waste’

An expert says South Africans have failed at using recycling as a method to combat waste.

FILE: Plastic production has surged over the past 50 years, from 15 million tonnes in 1964 to over 300 million tonnes worldwide last year. Picture: Calhoun Mathews/Primedia

CAPE TOWN - A South African expert says citizens have failed at using recycling as a method to combat waste.

Plastic could outweigh the amount of fish in our oceans by 2050, the World Economic Forum (WEF) warned in a report last week.

Plastic production has surged over the past 50 years, from 15 million tonnes in 1964 to over 300 million tonnes worldwide last year.

Currently, only 14 percent of plastic goods - mostly packaging - are being recycled.

Plastics are fossil-fuel based and it's impossible to remake plastic into the quality it was before, says Muna Lakhani, founder of Zero Waste in Africa.

Lakhani says South Africans have failed.

"We've been recycling for probably 30 or 40 years and it hasn't made any sort of significant dent in the waste stream. The most problematic material in our recycling stream is indeed plastic."

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