Next Article in Journal
Water Electrolysis Anode Based on 430 Stainless Steel Coated with Cobalt Recycled from Li-Ion Batteries
Next Article in Special Issue
Applying the Theory of Planned Behavior to Recycling Behavior in South Africa
Previous Article in Journal / Special Issue
Public Policy for Solid Waste and the Organization of Waste Pickers: Potentials and Limitations to Promote Social Inclusion in Brazil
Article Menu
Issue 3 (September) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Recycling 2018, 3(3), 41;

Barriers to Household Waste Recycling: Empirical Evidence from South Africa

Natural Resources and the Environment, Council of Scientific & Industrial Research, P.O. Box 395, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
Received: 30 July 2018 / Revised: 24 August 2018 / Accepted: 3 September 2018 / Published: 6 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Waste Management Practices in Developing Countries)
Full-Text   |   PDF [266 KB, uploaded 6 September 2018]


A small percentage of South Africans regularly recycle most of their recyclables, which was only 4% and 7.2% in 2010 and 2015, respectively. This empirical quantitative study, the first study on this scale in South Africa, aimed to ascertain the reasons why people do not recycle. This paper reports the results from a survey conducted among a representative sample of 2004 respondents in eleven of South Africa’s large urban areas. Each respondent selected three main reasons why people do not recycle from ten possible options as well as the one main reason. The results show that (i) insufficient space, (ii) no time, (iii) dirty and untidiness associated with recycling, (iv) lack of recycling knowledge, and (v) inconvenient recycling facilities are perceived as the main reasons why people do not recycle. Non-recycling households (74% of the respondents) give high priority to time and knowledge. Low recyclers—those that sporadically recycle few items—and young South Africans give high priority to services (inconvenient facilities and no curbside collection). Lack of knowledge is an important factor for people from dense settlements as well as the unemployed looking for work. Improved recycling services such as regular curbside collections have the potential to overcome time and space barriers. Recycling services as well as recycling knowledge will have to improve to encourage the youth, the unemployed, and those living in informal areas to recycle and realize the opportunities locked in the waste sector. The perceptions of respondents from non-recycling households differ from those from recycling households. The larger representation of non-recyclers in developing countries emphasize the importance of understanding local evidence when comparing and implementing results from developed countries. The learning from this study could also assist other developing countries to encourage household participation in recycling initiatives. View Full-Text
Keywords: quantitative survey; empirical study; developing country; household recycling behavior; reasons; barriers quantitative survey; empirical study; developing country; household recycling behavior; reasons; barriers
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Strydom, W.F. Barriers to Household Waste Recycling: Empirical Evidence from South Africa. Recycling 2018, 3, 41.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Recycling EISSN 2313-4321 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top