Each year, the local plastics industry encourages citizens to make a difference where they live, work, learn or play by participating in Clean-Up & Recycle SA Week – an annual public awareness week during which plastics and other litter are removed from our country’s neighbourhoods, rivers, streams, beaches and oceans.

Clean-up and Recycle Week 2021

Plastics|SA’s 25th year of coordinating South Africa’s participation in the International Coastal Clean-Up Day, was once again a huge success. This year’s event and the World Clean-Up Day took place on Saturday, 18th September 2021.

PlasticsSA’s John Kieser, Sustainability Manager,reported that more than 15 000 volunteers took part in clean-ups in the coastal areas, as well as at rivers, streams, inland water sources and in communities throughout the Northern, Western and Eastern Cape under the International Coastal Clean-Up and Clean-up & Recycle SA banners.

We handed out 350 000 refuse bags to coordinators and our clean-ups will continue deep into October in certain areas.

We would like to thank each volunteer that participated in this year’s Clean-Up & Recycle Week SA and helped to raise awareness about the importance of removing litter from the environment. It was great to see so many people arrive at both formal and informal clean-ups, grabbing the refuse bags and simply starting to clean the rivers and beaches.

Watch the inspiring video below to see just how busy South Africans were cleaning up our environment.

15 September: National River Clean-up Day

As part of Clean-Up & Recycle SA Week (13-18 September), Wednesday the 15th of September 2021 was declared national River-Clean-Up Day.

Rivers and streams are an important part of South Africa’s water network.  Unfortunately, they are often badly polluted by chemicals, sewage, plastics and other visible litter caused by drains and water channels leading from roads as well as communities living in close proximity to the river banks and where there is no waste management system in place.

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Clean-up and Recycle Week 2020

“The 2020 Clean-Up & Recycle SA Week looked slightly different due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s limitations, however, we supported the global call to avoid large group gatherings and maintain social distancing in the interest of everybody’s health and safety.

Instead of flocking to beaches or gathering in large groups for clean-ups, Plastics SA spread the message that every South African should be an eco-warrior… one who wears a mask, maintains safe distancing and makes a difference in their immediate area.

In the same way the health pandemic has forced individuals to take responsibility for their health, the plastics and packaging industries are uniting their voices in calling on South Africans to also become responsible citizens when it comes to disposing of their waste.  Plastics SA believes it is possible for us to turn the tide on ocean pollution if every person becomes conscious of his or her immediate surroundings and picks up the visible litter around our homes and neighbourhoods.

Nature looks after us. It’s up to each of us to look after nature in return.

for more information on the cleanups we support, visit

Caroline Reid Awards

About the Caroline Reid Award

Caroline Reid was an ocean conservation warrior who sadly passed away in 2018 after a tragic accident at the age of 42. She coordinated hundreds of beach and diving clean-ups and was central to the work done in the Durban harbour in 2017 when nurdles leaked out of containers. Plastics SA launched the annual Caroline Reid Award in 2019 in memory of her tireless dedication to increasing the awareness of plastics pollution in our oceans and waterways. Alison Bryant of the Keep Plett Clean Campaign was the first  winner of the Caroline Reid Award for the Clean-up Champion of the Year, which was  announced during a gala dinner held at the Zeekoevlei Yacht Club in Cape Town in January 2019.

2021 Award Recipients

Plastics SA celebrated National Water Week 2020 (15-22 March) by presenting South Africa’s most committed and pro-active eco-warriors with the Caroline Reid Award certificates for 2021.

 Owing to COVID-19 which made the hosting of another gala prize giving event impossible, Plastics SA decided to visit this year’s winners at their places of work to present them with their awards. The following groups received the Caroline Reid Award in appreciation of their dedicated efforts:

  • Adopt-a-River – An NPO that facilitates partnerships between corporate, government and community role players for the benefit of our waterways in South Africa (Durban).
  • ARMOUR – An NPO that helps to restore the health of waterways (Gauteng).
  • Cetric Foundation – An NPO that helps to clean up different areas in Johannesburg (Gauteng).
  • Clean C – A group of enthusiastic people passionate about South Africa and its people in Cape Town.
  • Clean Surf – An NPO that creates awareness to the devastating cause of littering especially plastic and polystyrene products and the impact it has on our ocean life which affects us as human beings as well (Durban).
  • Dyer Island Conservation Trust – An NPO that delivers unique conservation and research programmes in the fragile and critically important marine eco-system at the southern-most tip of Africa (Cape Town)
  • Friends of the Liesbeek – An NPO that creates an awareness of the importance of the Liesbeek as a green corridor in an urban setting and to rehabilitate, enhance, and conserve it and its environs (Cape Town)
  • Groot Brak River Conservancy – An NPO that promotes the conservation of their indigenous fauna and flora and preserves the natural beauty of Great Brak River (Cape Town).
  • Helderberg Ocean Awareness Movement – A group of concerned locals who aim to eliminate beach litter (Cape Town).
  • Help Up – A group that organises weekly clean-ups in the Black River in Mowbray (Cape Town).
  • Hennops Revival – An NPO that cleans and maintains the Hennops River (Gauteng).
  • Kromme Enviro Trust– An NPO that encourages and promotes environmental awareness in the Greater St Francis area (Eastern Cape).
  • Live Life Always – An NPO group of litter collectors who support the Jukskei River Cleanups
  • (Gauteng).
  • Mpumalanga Department of Agriculture Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs- a committed department that leads and facilitates an integrated, comprehensive and sustainable development and social cohesion by participating and partnering with all sectors of society (Mpumalanga)
  • Natures Valley Trust – A small community-driven NPO working at the cutting edge of integrated conservation in South Africa (Cape Town).
  • Trapsuutjies – An NPO environment project in and around Oudtshoorn (Cape Town).

Despite facing challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, lack of funds and inadequate waste management infrastructure, each of these volunteer organisations have freely given of their time, energy and resources to make a tangible and lasting difference in our environment. In many cases they have also created much-needed employment opportunities and given their teams a sense of accomplishment and pride.

The 2020 Clean-Up & Recycle SA week took place from 14 – 19 September 2020, culminating in National Recycling Day on Friday, 18 September 2020 and South Africa’s 24th year of participating in the annual International Coastal Clean-Up Day which took place on Saturday, 19 September.

The world is going through a very hard and difficult period in our history with the COVID-19 pandemic. The participation throughout this year’s Clean-Up & Recycle SA week showed that goodness prevails. It was great to see so many businesses, government and community organisations, clubs, schools and individuals show their heart for the cause.

The Clean-up and Recycle Coloring-in Competition was well supported with hundreds of entries received from around the country. Thank you and congratulations to each and every learner that entered!  Your entries were all beautiful!

The top 4 winners were:

First prize:        Kutlwano Vilakazi, 11, Dobsonville, who won a R1 000 Pick n Pay voucher and R1 000 cash.

Second prize:   Khloe Naidoo, 10 years of age, from Steelpoort in Limpopo.  Khloe won a R500 voucher from Pick n Pay and R800 cash.

Third prize:      Lia van Rensburg, 8 years old, from Port Elizabeth won a R500 Pick n Pay voucher as well as R500 cash.

Fourth prize:    Carter Kroon, 7 years old, also from Port Elizabeth, won a R500 Pick n Pay voucher and R200 cash.

Award for local eco-warriors launched

​In 2019, Plastics SA launched a new, annual award, which aims to recognise and reward excellence in South Africa by an individual in the field of marine and coastal clean-ups, called the Caroline Reid Award for Clean-Up Champion of the Year.

Caroline Reid was an ocean conservation warrior who sadly passed away in 2018 after a tragic accident. Caroline coordinated hundreds of beach and diving clean-ups and was central to the work done  in the Durban harbour in 2017 when nurdles leaked out of containers.  She worked tirelessly to increase the awareness of plastics pollution on the KwaZulu-Natal Coastline.

The winner of the 2019 Caroline Reid Award is

Alison Bryant, Keep Plett Clean Campaign

Making the announcement during a gala dinner to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Marine & Coastal Educators Network (MCEN) held at the Zeekoevlei Yacht Club in Cape Town last week, Douw Steyn and John Kieser of Plastics SA awarded Alison with a R10 000 cash prize and a  floating trophy.

The nominees for this Award were:

  • Aaniyah Omardien, Beach Co-op, Cape Town
  • Alison Bryant, Keep Plett Clean Campaign, Plettenberg Bay
  • Ann-Louise van der Berg, Four Wheel Drive Club of Southern Africa, Port Elizabeth
  • Denzil van der Westhuizen, Clean Surf Project, Durban
  • Erin Conradie, Cape Agulhas Clean-ups, Agulhas
  • Jaco Kriek, #trashtag, Oudtshoorn
  • Janet Ormond, Curb Plastic, Cape Town
  • Jessie Naidoo, Master Waste Management, Joubertinia
  • Lisl Barry, #trashtag, Oudtshoorn
  • Mosselbank River Conservation Team, Mosselbay
  • Pinkey Ngewu, Dyer Island Conservation Trust, Gansbaai
  • Toshka Barnardo, Sustainable Seas Trust, Port Elizabeth
  • Zoe Prinsloo, Save a Fishie, Cape Town

The panel of six judges were:

  • Stacey Webb, Executive Director, Sustainable Seas Trust
  • Omar Parak, Control Environmental Officer, Coastal Management, KZN Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs
  • Dr Mark Brown, Program Director, Nature’s Valley Trust
  • Helen Lockhart, Communications & Sustainability Manager, Two Oceans Aquarium
  • Janine Osborne, Stakeholder Relations Manager, PET Recycling Company NPC
  • Jone Porter, Director Education, South African Association for Marine Biological Research

2019 National Clean-up Report released

The local plastics industry once again demonstrated its commitment to cleaning up the environment and removing plastics litter from our rivers, streams, oceans and neighbourhoods when the annual Clean-up and Recycle SA Week took place from 16-21 September 2019 for the 23rd year in a row!

Download the full report.

Since 1996, when it started, it has grown to include the participation of all the packaging streams (i.e. paper, glass, metal and tetra packaging) as well as major plastic raw material suppliers, converters, brand owners and retailers, PRO’s (Product Responsibility Organisations), recycling bodies, conservationists and government. During this week, we all unite our actions around the common goal of removing as much litter as we possibly can from our environment.  We also aim to teach South Africans how to dispose of their waste in a responsible way by highlighting the importance of recycling materials that can be used to create new products, generate employment and reduce our impact on the environment.

Plastics|SA supports the clean-ups through donating branded garbage disposal bags as well as offering advice and assistance organising clean-ups. For more information, kindly email or visit the Cleanupandrecycle website