Below is a (generalised) summary for interested home owners - who wonder what happens to their recyclables once they've spent the time to separate it from the general waste. Read on if this is you:
In certain neighborhoods in South Africa, your recyclables can be left on the curbside in the provided (clear or blue) garbage bags (otherwise collected by waste pickers/ sorted at facility and dropped off at designated point).
Most commonly, your recycling is collected by Municipality-appointed Private Contractors, and transported to a MRF (Material Recovery Facility).
Materials Recovery Facility (MRF)
At the MRF your recyclables are separated manually into various material categories, and pressed into bales. The bales are then transported to recyclers.
At the material specific Recycling Plant, the waste is melted, modified, and reshaped into pellets, film, bars or rods, and sold to manufacturers.
Manufacturers then use the raw material to produce new items like shoes, crates, fencing or flooring, and sell the items to local retailers.
So you see, it was worth educating your staff and family about separating the recycling after all.