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Exportinitiative Umwelttechnologien: Abfallmanagement in Südafrika

Chamber News
05/11/2017 Chamber News

The project “Umwelttechnologien in Südafrika mit dem Schwerpunkt Abfallmanagement” forms part of the pilot project programme of the “Exportinitiative Umwelttechnologien” supported by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB). The pilot projects were launched in 8 German Chambers of Commerce worldwide. The focus of the South African pilot programme was on Waste Management and Recycling. The Southern African-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry organized the pilot project in South Africa in co-ordination with the DIHK Service GmbH and funded by the BMUB.

The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) has identified numerous challenges in waste management in South Africa. The Department has provided strategies to address these challenges in the form of the National Waste Management Strategy. This includes technical solutions for the increasing volume of waste, insufficient capacity and technical equipment of waste installations, the bad data situation and the limited understanding of the waste stream, outdated infrastructure and lack of incentives for recycling.

The purpose of the pilot project is to contribute to a better understanding of recycling systems and identify opportunities and potential uses for modern technologies. In addition to compiling a short market analysis on the current situation of waste management and recycling, especially within the plastic recycling sector, a Workshop on recycling was organised on Monday, 10 October 2016 followed by site visits on Tuesday, 11 October 2016.

Phase 1 – Short Market Analysis

In the Short Market Analysis it was concluded that despite the extensive legislative framework which is in place in South Africa, the implementation of said legislation is not being realised fast enough. While the Waste Act and National Waste Management Strategy place a great deal of emphasis on waste minimisation, re-use, recycling and recovery of waste, up to 90% of waste still ends up in local landfills since it is presented as the more expedient option at this stage.

It is evident that the waste sector in South Africa faces several challenges, especially on municipal level and by creating awareness for recycling among the general public, consumers and business owners. At the same time it also offers many opportunities especially in job creation in both the formal and informal sector all along the value chain.

Phase 2 – Workshop and Site visits

The aim of the workshop was twofold. On the one hand, it was to address issues raised in the market study such as, “How to raise awareness among the general public on the benefits of recycling?” with the help of local stakeholders as well as German experts. On the other hand, it was to discuss the possibilities of implementing a pilot project in one of Johannesburg’s townships1. Topics that were discussed included: “what will be needed to launch/implement a pilot project in a township and who could contribute to it and how?”

The first part of the workshop consisted of presentations of local stakeholders like City of Joburg, Plastics SA, Petco, Polyco and the University of Witwatersrand as well as of interviews with three local reclaimers (waste pickers). The focus of the first part was mainly on the recycling of plastics. The reason why plastics were chosen is because it is relatively easy for the waste pickers to gather, collect and resell to a buy-back centre. The various plastic PROs also have programmes in place to assist with the implementation of the project.

The workshop was followed on the next day by a series of fascinating site visits to ADreach’s waste sorting premises in Greenside and various Pikitup facilities in Diepsloot, Cosmo City and Zandspruit. These visits offered an opportunity to get an up-close look and feel of the processes undertaken in these waste management facilities and the resources that would be necessary to support projects like these.

Phase 3 – Strategy Paper

The final phase consists of the evaluation and preparation of a strategy paper, which on the one hand documents the results, but above all indicates possible development paths and starting points for further activities.

Short Market Analysis Waste South Africa Final
Strategy Paper Recycling Workshop South Africa