South Africa’s glass recycling industry offers income opportunities amid economic challenges

South Africa’s glass recycling industry offers income opportunities amid economic challenges
Shabeer Jhetam, CEO of The Glass Recycling Company

South Africa’s glass recycling industry injects over R300-million into the economy, according to The Glass Recycling Company (TGRC) – the sole Producer Responsibility Organisation (PRO) in South Africa for glass packaging. Shabeer Jhetam, CEO of The Glass Recycling Company says, “The glass recycling industry can be a source of income and create entrepreneurial opportunities, especially as there is currently a shortage of entrepreneurs in the glass recycling space, despite the high demand for glass recycling.”

“The Covid-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on the glass industry, resulting in many small and medium-sized entrepreneurs being forced to close their businesses. Additionally, the ban on alcoholic beverages in South Africa during the pandemic further exacerbated the situation, as use practically brought the industry to a standstill, with a significant slowdown in glass collection being observed. The industry has now recovered, but there is a pressing need to bridge the collections gap and revitalise the sector,” says Jhetam.

“Despite these challenges, the glass recycling industry continues to grow across sectors, offering opportunities to many South Africans. The minimal barriers to entry into the glass recycling industry also make it an attractive value proposition when collecting glass for recycling,” he adds.

Annually, South Africa produces more than 1 million tons of glass packaging; and The Glass Recycling Company provides opportunities to support glass collectors and buy-back centres. TGRC offers support to those interested in establishing buy-back centres, including providing glass collection bags, equipment, safety gear (PPE), scales, skip bins and other support.

The Covid-19 pandemic also led to the shutdown of many buy-back centres around the country. Jhetam adds that anyone can establish a buy-back centre by submitting an application form, which can be downloaded from the TGRC website. Potential entrepreneurs in this sector, will need to illustrate how much glass they can collect, and their glass sources, plus adhere to municipal requirements. The application will be evaluated according to set criteria. If an applicant shows the necessary research and glass collection volumes, they may be eligible for assistance with some advice regarding the setup process of their buy-back centre.

In conclusion – there is room for growth and new business opportunities for passionate, hardworking entrepreneurs and glass recycling buyback centres.