Waste management to rethink South Africa’s employment opportunities –

The South African waste management and beneficiation landscape has recently seen several key and progressive regulatory changes being made.

On a very local level, the City of Cape Town as a municipality is implementing a Long-Term Waste Sector Plan and a Long-Term Integrated Waste Management Plan, which should encourage substantial investment in material recovery – notably in recyclables and organic waste streams.

On the private sector side, large brands are committing to voluntary agreements and extended producer responsibility as they leverage the government’s red-tape reduction efforts.

This could unlock all opportunities in the plastics, organics and waste sector, not only for large established businesses, but also for the SMME sector.

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The biggest opportunity when it comes to waste management will be in organic waste though, hence the 2022 Waste Market Intelligence Report’s huge focus on organic waste.

In 2020 about 1,7m tonnes of waste ends up in Cape Town’s landfills. About 1,1m of this was transported by the City of Cape Town’s municipality, the rest by the private sector.

Between deregulation, new policies and plenty of new innovation, a huge variety of organics, plastics and e-waste are going to be diverted away from the landfill, going forward. Potentially, this diversion of waste could add between R320 million and R5 billion to the local economy, says GreenCape’s Waste Market Intelligence ReportGeneral Chat Chat Lounge

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To deliver on strategic deliverables, the City of Cape Town has drafted a pipeline of large infrastructure projects but it will outsource this distribution initiatives in part or in the private sector through a regulated procurement process.

While this is happening faster in the Western Cape, it is a measure of things to come for the entire country.

The cost of waste management is pushing up the price of landfills. This increases the demand from waste generators for alternative waste treatment solutions, improving the business case of said solutions.

The National Waste Management Strategy is an approach to waste management. It has a stated goal of zero-waste to landfills beyond 2035. While this means a total philosophical rethink on how to divert all manner of material through waste minimization; effective and sustainable waste services; And compliance enforcement and awareness it also means a business plan is needed for how to stop the waste at a viable level.

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The Department of Forestry Fisheries and Environment’s Waste Economy Plan is developing around a set of 20 initiatives, which consist of an action plan and a business case. These forms part of the Chemical and Waste Economy Phakisa, meant to bring together stakeholders from the public and private sectors.

Recycling plastic is just one of the ways to create value from waste in a circular economy. Image: Pixabay.

The DFFE is currently revising the plans and business cases and developing a capital-raising strategy for funding. The 20 initiates are across five themes:

  1. Bulk industrial waste (ask for bricks; soil amelioration; backfilling for acid mine drainage; ask for exports; sewage sludge; meat waste)
  2. Municipal waste (e-waste levy; government e-waste stockpiles; separation-at-source; material recovery facility; pelletisation facility; construction and demolition waste recycling)
  3. Product design and waste minimization (Agri-platform; packaging guidelines; packing EPR; refuse-derived fuel)
  4. Chemical waste (refrigerant recycling; lead-free paint; asbestos; mercury)
  5. Cross-Cutting (Awareness; SMME creation)

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Ahead of the curve: Waste management in the Western Cape

While this is being developed on a national level, the Western Cape is slightly ahead with its plans to change the way it manages (and makes money) from waste.

As the cost of landfill disposal increases, so do the overheads for the waste generator. “This should strengthen the business case for businesses looking to invest in providing landfill alternatives to Cape Town’s businesses,” reads the report.

Of importance to material extraction and waste beneficiations are the City’s plans for:

  • Development of infrastructure.
  • Regulatory amendments.
  • Leveraging existing facilities to divert organics and packaging waste.
  • Separation at source for organics and recyclables.
  • Pay-as-you-throw funding options.
  • Fortnightly recyclables collections.
  • Development of material recovery facilities to process separate material.

The key to the City of Cape Town’s 20-year pipeline is to meet the above deliverables where the business opportunities lie. The 2022 Waste Market Intelligence Report breaks down the opportunities, drivers and barriers for investors and businesses by municipality and waste type. ESI

The 2022 Waste Market Intelligence Report was created by GreenCape with the support of the Western Cape Government.

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