Cape Town - The City of Cape Town is continuously working to reduce the amount of waste that ends up being illegally dumped or deposited in landfills, and over the past six years the city’s waste minimisation initiatives have helped to steadily increase the percentage of waste diverted away from landfills from 12.3 percent (2011/12) to 21.3 percent (2016/17), the city said on Sunday.
"Much more can be done, however, and the city is dedicated to growing its programmes, facilities, and awareness initiatives to ensure that Capetonians are enabled to manage their waste responsibly," mayoral committee member for informal settlements, water and waste services; and energy Xanthea Limberg said.
In the current financial year, the city had set aside about R118.7 million for initiatives which minimise waste going to landfill sites, including for recycling and composting. A number of interventions were in place to reduce illegally dumped waste and also to divert as much waste as possible from landfill sites.
"This may include recycling, composting or, as a last resort, safe landfilling of the waste. Therefore, the city’s drop-off sites aim to make it easier for residents to manage their waste responsibly," she said.
The recent opening of the Kensington and Induland waste drop-off sites would contribute to reducing the occurrence of illegally dumped waste, as well as improving waste diversion from landfill sites. The city hoped this would help foster a culture of responsible waste management by making it more convenient for residents to drop off waste closer to where they were situated.
These new drop-off sites brought the total number of city-operated drop-offs to 24, each within a 7km radius of the next, with this distance reducing as more drop-offs were added.
Members of the public could drop up to three free loads daily from a vehicle whose capacity does not exceed 1.5 tons. The daily limit of three loads applied to builders’ rubble, clean garden waste (excluding tree stumps), or garage waste. Unlimited free loads of clean recyclables could also be dropped off at these facilities. This would include empty water bottles that members of the public bought during the time of extreme drought.
Garden waste dropped at these facilities was chipped on site if possible and turned into compost, while building rubble and demolition waste was transferred to landfill sites where some of it was crushed for reuse. Private recycling contractors also sorted the separated recyclables for processing.
"Various studies on suitable models for further roll-out of recycling services are being carried out, which will inform a long-term strategy for additional recycling roll-outs in Cape Town. To prepare for this, the city is also progressively increasing its capacity to effectively sort recyclable materials for the market by developing additional materials recovery facilities and drop-off sites," Limberg said.
"Instead of throwing away all of the waste that we produce we need to start thinking more carefully about how to produce less waste in the first place, as well as what can be recycled, composted, and reused. This is increasingly becoming the new lifestyle choice of so many consumers.
"Expansion of the city’s network of drop-off sites enables this kind of responsible waste disposal by making it affordable and progressively more convenient to recycle and otherwise divert waste from landfills. These drop-off sites also contribute to reducing illegal dumping as residents and smaller contractors can drop off bulky waste and rubble here for free. There is, therefore, no excuse for dumping waste materials on any piece of open land," she said.
African News Agency (ANA)