Western Cape to reduce organic waste in landfills in coming years

Organic waste at a landfill site. Picture: Organics Recycling Association of South Africa (ORASA)

Organic waste at a landfill site. Picture: Organics Recycling Association of South Africa (ORASA)

Published Aug 5, 2021


Cape Town - The ban on organic waste in landfill sites across the Western Cape has resulted in more efficient waste management by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning.

Municipalities with landfills across the province were asked to submit organic waste diversion plans with a 50% restriction on organic waste being disposed of in landfills by 2022 and a 100% restriction by 2027.

However, the Organics Recycling Association of South Africa (ORASA) revealed that some Western Cape municipalities may be unprepared to meet these targets.

Department spokesperson Rudolf van Jaarsveldt said they had received plans from 10 municipalities so far and these were currently being assessed. The rest were still in the process of developing these plans.

ORASA chairperson Melanie Ludwig said: “In my opinion, there has been very little planning by Western Cape municipalities in the four years since the ban was announced and smaller municipalities will not be able to meet the targets.”

VISSERHOEK landfill in Cape Town. Picture: Organics Recycling Association of South Africa (ORASA)

Volumes of organic waste were supposed to be identified as a base line by municipalities in 2018 to determine the 50% diversion rate for 2022, but Ludwig said as far as she was aware these baselines were never done, which made it difficult to know what a 50% diversion looked like.

“Targets are always set to be aspirational - however, we are trying our utmost to achieve it. Currently the Western Cape is at 34% diversion of this waste type,” said Van Jaarsveldt.

Ludwig encouraged the public to be proactive in their waste management and implement their own organic waste diversion plans through home composting of food and garden waste.

She said although the City of Cape Town had a good waste by-law, more enforcement of existing laws was needed with a focus on source separation to ensure waste could be processed correctly.

Mayco water and waste member Xanthea Limberg said the City had submitted a draft organic waste diversion plan for a coastal park landfill site which contrasted the scenarios of separating the organic waste at source versus separating the recyclables at source and was currently developing a waste sector plan.

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