Mandatory Separation

Frequently Asked Questions Faq’s – Waste Separation At Source Programme

This is a simplified guide on how residents of the City of Johannesburg should participate in the mandatory separation at source programme. Firstly, residents should understand what is meant by the separation at source programme and to understand the rationale behind the programme?

What is separation at source?

The City’s waste separation at source programme refers to households setting aside dry recyclable waste (plastic, paper, glass and cans) and household generated garden waste for the purpose of re-use, recycling, composting or further processing of these materials.

Why is it mandatory that residents should separate waste at source?

The City is fast running out of landfill space and we need to reduce waste going to landfills. The separation at source programme has been rolled out on a voluntary basis from 2009 in some areas of the City. Based on a previous study we should be extracting an average of 13kg of dry recyclables per household per month. However, based on 2016/17 tonnages of dry recyclables collected, we extracted 4.5kg of dry recyclables per household per month in the areas where separation at source has been rolled out, which is far below the estimated extraction rates from the previous study.

It is for these reasons that Pikitup will be introducing the mandatory separation at source in the areas that are already receiving the service, to increase the participation rate, as well as the extraction rate of recyclables in those areas.

In terms of recycling garden waste, some parts of the city typically generate more garden waste than others, hence the targeted implementation of mandatory garden waste separation at source. Garden waste disposal in 2016/17 was as follows – Region E (Marlboro & Norwood depot areas) collected 25 863 tons garden waste compared to Region D (Central camp & Zondi depot areas) which collected 1 835 ton of garden waste and due to very little garden waste generated in this region.


When will the separation at source programme be made mandatory?

With effect from the 1st of July 2018.

How do residents participate in the separation at source programme?

Residents in areas where the separation at source is mandatory will be issued with a clear plastic bag or a blue bag on a weekly basis to place recyclable materials such as: paper, plastic, metal and glass inside the bag for collection by Pikitup or the Pikitup’s service providers on a weekly basis.

In terms of the mandatory separation at source programme residents are also required to recycle their garden waste. In this regard, residents are required to drop-off their households generated garden waste at Pikitup’s drop off sites for the purpose of compositing and or further processing.

Will the separation at source programme be applied in all residential areas in the city?

No, the mandatory separation at source applies in areas where the programme has been implemented on a voluntary basis since 2009. To see all the areas in which the programme is mandatory please visit

Will there be penalties for people who don’t recycle?

Currently there are no penalties that will be implemented to enforce the mandatory separation at source programme. This in order for residents to be given the opportunity to improve the recycling rates in the affected areas, without the threat of a fine being imposed. The City will also be intensifying education and awareness programmes to positively influence the recycling rates in areas where separation at source is mandatory.

The City appeals to residents in the affected areas to obey the mandatory separation at source programme and apply peer pressure through various community forums and media platforms to encourage those residents that will choose not to participate in the mandatory programme to do so.

Should the items be rinsed or washed before they are placed in the bag?

Yes, this allows material not to be contaminated.

What happens if residents do not recycle? Does this mean that their waste is not going to be collected?

Their waste is going to be collected. However, residents are urged to participate in the programme to save the environment and to prolong the City’s landfill airspace.

The process will be implemented in stages, how will this work and when will the programme be completely phased in?

We intend to roll this project out to the entire of City of Joburg over the next 3 years.

Where are the recyclables taken and how are they separated?

The recyclables are taken to the nearest sorting/buyback facility or drop-off facility for further sorting and processing. Your nearest drop-off facility is provided on the Pikitup website:

Will my recyclables be collected on the same day as my refuse?

Yes. If your refuse is collected on a Tuesday; your recyclables will also be collected on the same day.

Why is it happening so soon?

The separation at source programme has been in place since 2009 in selected areas but it has been operational on a voluntary basis. The only change now is that it has been made mandatory because of the low amounts of recyclable materials per household that have been derived from the areas where it is being implemented and the low participation rate.

How can residents participate if their area does not fall within the areas where separation at source has been declared mandatory?

Pikitup has 42 drop off centres / garden sites around the City and these sites have recycling facilities for all recyclables. To contact your nearest sorting/garden/buyback centre go to

Will the waste pickers / reclaimers be affected by this?

Waste pickers are not going to be worse off from making separation at source mandatory. Instead, it is expected that there will be more recyclables available at the point of collection where waste pickers typically collect what’s valuable to them.

If I have a problem, for example the recycling bag is not collected when the other waste is removed who should I contact?

You may contact Joburg Connect at 011 375 5555 or 0860joburg (562874)

Who to contact for further information?

The following contact persons need to be contacted in the event residents need further information or on the issue and collection of bags in the affected areas