Glass recycling creates 50 000 income opportunities


TGRC encourages environmental sustainability and pays cash for recycled glass

South Africa is among most countries in the world with high rates of unemployment. As a result, this culminates in a surge of socio-economic issues such as poverty, crime and overall distress. However, over the years, recycling has proved to be a temporary, even a full time relief for those unemployed who turn trash into treasure by means of recycling.

Amongst those treasures is glass. The leading glass collector in South Africa, is The Glass Recycling Company (TGRC). With countless glass banks and entrepreneurial buy-back centres throughout the country, TGRC encourages environmental sustainability and pays cash for recycled glass!

Last Wednesday, June 10, The Glass Recycling Company hosted its 7th Annual Green Dialogues, which was held virtually due to COVID-19. Imminent to this event, the company announced in a press release that, “Amidst the current uncertainty we are operating and living in, we are looking for light at the end of the tunnel. And while our country and the world adapts to a new normal, it is heart-warming to see that in South Africa over the past year, we have been making great strides in the environmental front.”

During the virtual Annual Green Dialogues, TGRC announced that, glass recycling rate in South Africa is now 44%, which is an increase from last year’s 42%.

glass bottles at TGRC

“Our team has significantly reduced South Africa’s packaging waste through encouraging and supporting the reuse of returnable bottles and facilitating glass recycling within South Africa. In fact, since the inception of The Glass Recycling Company, an incredible 3.9 million tons of non-returnable glass has been recycled. In addition, in excess of 2 million tons of returnable bottles, have been diverted from landfills on an annual basis,” said Shabeer Jhetam, CEO of The Glass Recycling Company.

The event revealed the local strides made in glass recycling over the course of the 2018/2019 financial year. It also detailed the results achieved by the non-profit organisation, mandated with increasing glass recycling facilities. TGRC’s key objectives include educating South Africans about glass recycling through marketing and communication campaigns.

Alongside the 44% glass recycling rate, other achievements detailed include:

5. 4017 glass banks available across South Africa

Glass banks remain an essential part of The Glass Recycling Company’s success, as these glass banks help ensure that the recycling of glass bottles and jars is simple and accessible for all South Africans. This makes the expansion of the national footprint of convenient glass recycling banks paramount.

4. 80% glass packaging diverted from landfills through reusing and recycling

More than 80% of all glass packaging is now diverted from landfills

3. 2.3 million glass bottles recycled during the Annual Schools Competition

TGRC’s Annual Schools Competition educates learners around the country about the many benefits of glass recycling and the ease with which it can be done. The Annual Schools’ Competition sees learners, educators and communities competing to collect the most glass bottles and jars for recycling, with winning schools receiving monthly and annual prizes. 

2. 303 glass entrepreneurs trained 

TGRC assists glass collectors, entrepreneurs and buy-back centers, by providing advice regarding the successful and sustainable running of their glass recycling businesses and supporting these businesses with the skills, equipment and infrastructure needed to maximise their potential, thereby enabling them to become sustainable contributors to national economic growth and job creation.

 1. 50 000 income opportunities created

Thousands of South Africans earn a source of income through the collection of waste glass from their local communities, restaurants, bars and taverns. This is done so by selling this valuable commodity onto entrepreneurial buy-back centres within their area. TGRC plays a vital role in partnering with entrepreneurs to create opportunities for them to build viable businesses within the glass recycling industry.

“I am tremendously proud of the team’s achievements and look forward to surpassing these current milestones, as we will be presented by additional opportunities like the forthcoming implementation of the national Extended Producer Responsibility scheme, that will see producers becoming accountable for the end-of-life impacts of its products and packaging,” concluded Jhetam.

For more information about the glass recycling company, visit

By Lwando Mqokweni