Shaping a Sustainable Future: The Glass Recycling Company’s Vision for Glass Recycling in South Africa


The Glass Recycling Company (TGRC), under the leadership of CEO Shabeer Jhetam, is spearheading a transformative journey to elevate glass recycling in South Africa. This vision extends beyond a traditional strategy, aiming to inspire collaboration across households, hospitality businesses, municipalities, manufacturers and producers. By championing responsible practices and aligning with regulatory frameworks, TGRC is actively shaping a more sustainable future for glass recycling in South Africa. Further, by doing so, a window into a future in which every glass bottle can take part in a circular economy can be opened by adopting a strategic approach that embraces the philosophy of responsible glass waste management.

Optimising Recycling at Source: Mandatory Separation at Source

The heart of this initiative lies in cultivating collaboration between various industries and consumers. It is vital to bridge the gap between diverse sectors, from households who ought to be separating glass at source to businesses becoming advocates for responsible glass disposal. This collaborative spirit extends to municipalities and manufacturers, creating a seamless network committed to a shared vision. What needs to be done:

  • TGRC encourages households to adopt glass separation practices at the point of disposal. This involves educating residents about the benefits of segregating glass from other waste which cannot be recycled.
  • Ensure municipal/ household collection of recycling whether via municipal services, waste collection companies and Waste Pickers. 

Transforming Businesses into Recycling Advocates: Hospitality Support

TGRC facilitates designated collection points or glass banks at pubs, bars, restaurants,  cafes, and hotels facilitating responsible glass bottle disposal. Providing easily accessible collection points encourages the hospitality industry and even patrons to contribute to recycling efforts. TGRC also aims to support and establish collaborations with hospitality businesses to spearhead glass recycling initiatives. Creating strategic partnerships to ensure widespread participation.

Incentivising and Streamlining Recycling Operations: Buy-Back Centres and Collector Networks

It is important to establish strategically located Buy-Back Centres, facilitating the exchange of glass recyclables for monetary incentives. These centres provide a tangible benefit for individuals and incentivise increased recycling. What needs to be accomplished:

  1. Ensure equitable mass price parity across the country for glass. However, TGRC does not buy nor sell glass and does set prices paid for glass.
  2. TGRC aims to continue building partnerships with recycling companies, buy back centres, transport companies, glass buyers / recyclers, and Waste Pickers to create an efficient network of collection points across communities.

Strengthening Community Bonds for Recycling Success: Holistic Environmental Collaboration

TGRC aims to cultivate partnerships with community organisations and NGOs to amplify recycling initiatives. Collaborating with local organisations leverages community resources and strengthens the impact of recycling programmes. In addition, TGRC leverages social media to disseminate information about the significance of glass recycling.

Aligning Manufacturing Practices with Sustainability Goals: Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)

As a Producer Responsibility Organisation, TGRC implements EPR and works with government to hold manufacturers accountable for the complete lifecycle of their products. This policy ensures that manufacturers take responsibility for the environmental impact of their products. For manufacturers who join TGRC, the PRO takes the responsibility for producers to achieve their EPR obligations, as they pay an EPR fee to TGRC. This makes honouring obligations to the country far more achievable for manufacturers and producers.

  1. Consumers must encourage producers to adopt eco-friendly packaging and actively support recycling initiatives. Promoting sustainable packaging and supporting recycling efforts will contribute to reducing the overall environmental footprint.
  2. What next? Producers failing to comply with EPR regulations, will be subject to penalties and fines imposed by Government, thus reinforcing responsible production practices. Penalties provide a necessary deterrent and ensure adherence to environmental responsibility standards.

Regulatory Frameworks for Recycling Success: Government-backed Policies

TGRC advocates for and supports legislation mandating proper glass recycling practices. Robust regulations and their implementation set clear expectations and standards for responsible waste management.

Instilling Environmental Awareness from an Early Age: Educational Outreach in Schools

Education plays a crucial role in shaping future generations’ attitudes towards recycling. While South Africa has integrated recycling education into school curriculums to instil eco-conscious habits among students, there is more to be done:

  1. Conduct workshops and awareness programmes in schools, emphasising the environmental impact of glass waste. Practical workshops and awareness programmes will deepen students’ understanding of the importance of responsible waste management.
  2. Continue to establish student-led recycling clubs to actively engage young minds in promoting sustainable practices. Empowering students to take a proactive role fosters a culture of sustainability within the community.

A Cultural Shift towards Responsibility:

Rather than prescribing strategies, TGRC seeks to initiate a cultural shift. It’s not merely about separate bins; it’s about transforming mindsets. Through awareness campaigns the company aims to create a culture where responsible waste disposal is not just a duty but a shared value.

TGRC aligns its efforts with regulatory frameworks and industry standards. It’s not just compliance; it’s about leading the way in responsible business practices. By actively engaging with regulations, the company aims to set an example, encouraging others to follow suit and contribute to a collective impact.

The Glass Recycling Company’s journey towards a more sustainable South Africa isn’t just a strategic plan—it’s a vision. It’s about redefining the relationship between communities, businesses, and the environment. Through collaboration, behavioural shifts, environmental stewardship, leadership, creativity, and education, this initiative aspires to set the stage for a future where glass recycling isn’t just a practice; it’s a shared commitment to a brighter, greener tomorrow.

About TGRC:
The Glass Recycling Company (TGRC) consists of a team dedicated to increasing glass recycling in South Africa. We are passionate about ensuring every South African realises the value of recycling glass and actively embraces this practice.

We strive to educate, enable, encourage and inspire individuals to separate their glass for recycling, but do not physically collect or recycle the glass. Our focus extends beyond consumers and communities, but also on trade, industry and corporate South Africa. We also aim to uplift impoverished communities by creating income generating opportunities and skills development in the recycling sector. TGRC is funded by our committed members who manufacture glass or package their products in glass. We believe in the infinite potential of glass to make a real and positive contribution to society. At TGRC we are committed to show that glass recycling is worth the effort!

TGRC’s mandate is to increase awareness of glass recycling in South Africa. The team are passionate about ensuring every South African realises the value of recycling glass and actively embraces this practice. TGRC believes in the infinite potential of glass to make a real and positive contribution to society. TGRC is committed to prove that glass recycling is worth the effort! For info visit  like the Facebook page:  or