Mondi Kerbside Recycling

Until now, Mondi’s kerbside paper pick-up service has had just one weakness: they collected every other week. It was a bit of a mental challenge to remember whether the last collection date was one week ago or two.

Strain your brain no longer. I just received a notice in my mailbox that starting October 1 Mondi will now collect weekly in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban. (Unfortunately the recycling service does not operate in other cities.) If you don’t know which day of the week they visit your neighbourhood, look for orange bags on the pavement, phone 0800 022 112, or visit

Getting an orange bag takes some effort. Ask for one by phone, and leave a pile of newspapers at the kerb—weighed down by a brick—with a sign begging for a bag. Be persistent. If you’re not sure what can and cannot go in the bag, see this post. The recyclables list is so long that even if you don’t subscribe to a daily newspaper you may be able to fill a bag each week.

The trucks that collect the paper are owned and operated by small businesses, frequently new black entrepreneurs. I traveled around the suburbs for an afternoon with one of them and saw how frustrating it was for him when he would turn his truck down a street and see just a single bag on the kerb—or none at all. With the added convenience of weekly pick-up, every block should now be glowing with orange bags once a week.