Frequently Asked Questions

Faq

FAQ Sections

IWMSA Introduction

The Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) is a non-profit organisation that promotes professional waste management practices and strives to protect the environment and people of Southern Africa against poor waste management practices. Members benefit by:

  • Networking with other waste management practitioners
  • Updates on new developments, technology and legislation
  • Free monthly newsletter and quarterly RéSource journal
  • Special rates for IWMSA training courses, workshops and conferences

Our membership consists of individuals, organisations and companies operating in the environmental and waste management industry and includes:

  • Municipalities
  • Consultants
  • Suppliers
  • Service providers
  • Contractors
  • Academics
  • National and Provincial Government
  • Industry
  • Mining
  • Corporates

Click on Membership to find out how to become a member, membership benefits and a list of current members.

Click on Branch Events for a list of events offered by IWMSA and its branches.

Click on Training for a list of training offered by the Institute and its branches

IWMSA is not involved in any waste management activities such as waste collection, transportation, storage, recycling, treatment and disposal. 

Legislation

Legislation - Waste Related

In South Africa waste management is governed by the:

The Waste Act promotes integrated waste management based on the waste management hierarchy as a means to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill, through waste avoidance, reduction, re-use, recycling, recovery, treatment, and safe disposal as a last resort.

In order to reduce the impact on human health and the environment, the Act also includes minimum requirements and licensing for activities involving the storage, transportation, re-use, recycling, treatment and disposal of waste.

Consult:

Refer to:

Specific legislation, regulations, policies, norms and standards are referred to in the relevant sections.

Legislation - General

Apart from specific waste legislation, the waste management sector is regulated by the following legislation:

  • The South African Constitution (Act 108 of 1996)
  • Hazardous Substances Act (Act 5 of 1973)
  • Health Act (Act 63 of 1977)
  • Environment Conservation Act (Act 73 of 1989)
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act (Act 85 of 1993)
  • National Water Act (Act 36 of 1998)
  • The National Environmental Management Act (Act 107 of 1998)
  • Municipal Structures Act (Act 117 of 1998)
  • Municipal Systems Act (Act 32 of 2000)
  • Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (Act 28 of 2002)
  • Air Quality Act (Act 39 of 2004)

Copies of this legislation are available at Acts Online

Waste - General

Definition of Waste

The National Environmental Management: Waste Amendment Act (26 of 2014) defines waste as:

(a) any substance, material or object, that is unwanted, rejected, abandoned, discarded or disposed of, or that is intended or required to be discarded or disposed of, by the holder of that substance, material or object, whether or not such substance, material or object can be re-used, recycled or recovered and includes all wastes as defined in Schedule 3 to this Act; or

(b) any other substance, material or object that is not included in Schedule 3 that may be defined as a waste by the Minister by notice in the Gazette, but any waste or portion of waste, referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b), ceases to be a waste—

(i) once an application for its re-use, recycling or recovery has been approved or, after such approval, once it is, or has been re-used, recycled or recovered;

(ii) where approval is not required, once a waste is, or has been re-used, recycled or recovered;

(iii) where the Minister has, in terms of section 74, exempted any waste or a portion of waste generated by a particular process from the definition of waste; or (iv) where the Minister has, in the prescribed manner, excluded any waste stream or a portion of a waste stream from the definition of waste.

Classification of Waste

Different types of waste may be generated from a variety of sources such as: residential, industrial, commercial, institutional, construction and demolition, municipal services, process (manufacturing, etc.) and agricultural activities.

As defined in the National Environmental Management: Waste Amendment Act (26 of 2014) waste is divided into two classes based on the risk it poses - general waste and hazardous waste.

General waste is waste that does not pose an immediate hazard or threat to health or to the environment. (Refer to General Waste section)

Hazardous waste is any waste that contains organic or inorganic elements or compounds that may have a detrimental impact on health and the environment. (Refer to Hazardous Waste section)

For a detailed list of general and hazardous waste types and definitions

Levels of Responsibility

National government, through the Department of Environmental Affairs is responsible for the development of legislation, norms and standards and to promote and give effect to the right to an environment that is not harmful to health and well-being.

Refer to:

Provincial government is responsible for the implementation of the National Waste Management Strategy and national norms and standards, and may set additional complementary provincial norms and standards. (Refer to Provincial Departments Responsible for Environmental Affairs: contact details)

Waste management services are the constitutional responsibility of local government, who is required to provide sustainable delivery of services subject to national and provincial regulations and standards. (Refer to Waste Management Services – Municipal section)

Provincial Departments Responsible for Environmental Affairs: CONTACTS

Province

Department

Tel.No.

Postal/Website Address

Eastern Cape

Economic Development, Environmental Affairs & Tourism

043 605 7000

P/Bag X0054

Bhisho 5605

www.dedea.gov.za

Free State

Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism & Environmental Affairs

086 110 2185

Private Bag x 20801

Bloemfontein 9300

www.edtea.fs.gov.za/

 

Gauteng

Agriculture & Rural Development

011 240 2500

PO Box 8769

Johannesburg 2000

www.gdard.gpg.gov.za

KwaZulu-Natal

Agriculture & Rural Development

033 355 9100

Private Bag X9059
Pietermaritzburg 3200

www.kzndae.gov.za

Mpumalanga

Economic Development & Tourism

013 766 4004

Private Bag X11215

Mbombela 1200

www.mpumalanga.gov.za/dedt

Limpopo

Economic Development, Environment & Tourism

 

015 293 8648

Private Bag X9486

Polokwane 0700

www.ledet.gov.za/

North West

Rural, Environment & Agricultural Development

018 389 5146

Private Bag X2039

Mmabatho 2735 

www.nwpg.gov.za/Agriculture/

Northern Cape

Environment & Nature Conservation

053 807 7430

Private Bag X6102

Kimberley 8301

www.denc.ncpg.gov.za/

Western Cape

Environmental Affairs & Development Planning

 

021 483 4091

Private Bag X9086

Cape Town, 8000

eadp.westerncape.gov

National Pricing Strategy for Waste Management Charges: Draft

The National pricing strategy for waste management charges provides the basis and guiding methodology or methodologies for setting of waste management charges in South Africa.

Also refer to: Proposed National Pricing Strategy for waste management – a presentation at the 2015 Waste Management Summit.

National Waste Management Strategy

The aim of the National Waste Management Strategy (NWMS) is to achieve the objectives of the National Environmental Management: Waste Act 2008 (Act 59 of 2008) and provide a plan to address challenges associated with waste management in South Africa.

The NWMS has identified eight priority goals, accompanying objectives to achieve these goals and indicators to measure the achievements against targets, which are to be met within a five-year time-frame.

  • Goal 1: Promote waste minimisation, re-use, recycling and recovery of waste
  • Goal 2: Ensure the effective and efficient delivery of waste services.
  • Goal 3: Grow the contribution of the waste sector to the green economy.
  • Goal 4: Ensure that people are aware of the impact of waste on health, well-being and    environment.
  • Goal 5: Achieve integrated waste management planning.
  • Goal 6: Ensure sound budgeting and financial management for waste services
  • Goal 7: Provide measures to remediate contaminated land
  • Goal 8: Establish effective compliance with and enforcement of the Waste Act

To achieve these eight goals, the Waste Act provides a toolbox of waste management measures:

  • Waste Classification and Management System – methodology for the classification of waste and provides standards for the assessment and disposal of waste for landfill disposal.
  • Norms and standards - baseline regulatory standards for managing waste at each stage of the waste management hierarchy.
  • Licensing –activities that require licences (with conditions) and those that do not if undertaken according to conditions or guidelines.
  • Industry waste management plans – enables collective planning by industry to manage products once they become waste and to collectively set targets for waste reduction, recycling and re-use.
  • Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) – regulates that industry is responsible beyond point of sale for particular products that have toxic constituents or pose waste management challenges, particularly where voluntary waste measures have failed.
  • Priority wastes – categories of waste that, due their risks to human health and the environment, require special waste management measures, particularly where a solution requires the involvement of multiple role-players.
  • Economic instruments - encourages or discourages particular behaviour and augments other regulatory instruments.

Waste Management Officers

The National Environmental Management: Waste Act 2008 (Act 59 of 2008) provides for the designation of Waste Management Officers at national, provincial and local government levels to co-ordinate matters relating to waste management and act as a point of entry available to the public to address all waste management matters. The SALGA Guideline for the designation of Waste Management Officers provides guidance. 

Types of Waste

Waste Classification

Different types of waste may be generated from a variety of sources such as: residential, industrial, commercial, institutional, construction and demolition, municipal services, process (manufacturing, etc.) and agricultural activities.

As defined in the National Environmental Management: Waste Amendment Act (26 of 2014)  waste is divided into two classes based on the risk it poses - general waste and hazardous waste.

General waste is waste that does not pose an immediate hazard or threat to health or to the environment, and includes:

  • domestic waste;
  • building and demolition waste;
  • business waste;
  • inert waste; or
  • any waste classified as non-hazardous waste in terms of the regulations made under section 69, and includes non-hazardous substances, materials or objects within the business, domestic, inert or building and demolition wastes

Hazardous waste is any waste that contains organic or inorganic elements or compounds that may have a detrimental impact on health and the environment. (Refer to Hazardous Waste section)

(Refer to Hazardous Waste section for more details)

For a detailed list of general and hazardous waste types and definitions refer to:

Hazardous Waste

Hazardous Waste

Hazardous waste is any waste that contains organic or inorganic elements or compounds that may, owing to the inherent physical, chemical or toxicological characteristics of that waste, have a detrimental impact on health and the environment and includes hazardous substances, materials or objects within the business waste, residue deposits and residue stockpiles.

  • Gaseous waste
  • Mercury containing waste (liquid and solid)
  • Batteries
  • POP Waste
  • Inorganic waste
  • Asbestos containing waste
  • Waste Oils
  • Organic halogenated and/or sulphur containing solvents/waste
  • Organic solvents/waste without halogens and sulphur
  • Tarry and Bituminous waste
  • Brine
  • Fly ash and dust from miscellaneous filter sources
  • Bottom ash
  • Slag
  • Mineral waste
  • e-Waste
  • Health Care Risk Waste
  • Sewage sludge

The Department of Environmental Affairs is finalising a Hazardous Waste Roadmap that deals with the import, storage, treatment and disposal of hazardous waste, including health care waste.

For a detailed list of general and hazardous waste types and definitions refer to:

The following documents regulate hazardous waste.  See also Landfill Sites section.

Download the guideline Waste Management Licenses for information on Waste Management Licenses, Authorisations, Registrations, Accreditations and Permits related to hazardous waste.

E-Waste

Electrical and electronic waste (e-Waste), classified as hazardous waste, includes:

  • Small/large household appliances
  • Office, information and communication equipment
  • Mobile phones
  • Batteries
  • Fluorescent lamps/tubes
  • Consumer and entertainment electronics and toys
  • Leisure, sports and recreational equipment
  • Automatic issuing equipment
  • Electric and electronic tools
  • Security & health care equipment

E-Waste has been declared a priority waste and the Minister of Environmental Affairs has requested the development of an industry waste management plan.  (Refer to Industry Waste Management Plans section) Refer to the Recycling section for information on e-waste recycling.

Levels of end-of-life (EoL) electronics, or e-waste, have been increasing and are expected to continue on this path. E-waste contains materials that are considered toxic, such as lead, mercury and cadmium, which have led to increased environmental concern about improper disposal of these products. There are valuable materials in e-waste and recovery of these materials can alleviate mining of virgin materials. [Source: Draft e-WASA Industry Waste Management Plan]

The Keynote Address: DEA Minister: Government Sector National e-Waste Conference September 2015, provides an overview of the current situation in South Africa.

Refer to other sources of information:

Health Care Waste

The Department of Health is mandated to address health care waste issues and advise the Department of Environmental Affairs and provincial departments on the appropriate standards and measures for the sector.

The National Health Act: Regulations: Health care waste management in health establishments are applicable to all private and public health establishments that provide inpatient or outpatient treatment, diagnostic or therapeutic interventions, nursing, rehabilitative, palliative, convalescent, preventative or other health services.  Facilities include hospitals, clinics (mobile and stationary), rehabilitation centres, frail care centres, free-standing operating theatres, day units, hospices, and doctor’s consulting rooms. The regulations cover the handling, storage, collection, transportation, treatment and disposal of health care waste.

Health care waste is the total waste stream from health care facilities and includes both health care general waste and health care risk waste

Health Care General Waste (HCGW) contains no products or potential properties known to have a harmful effect on humans or the environment. It is generated during the administrative and housekeeping operations of a health care facility including food preparation, cleaning, maintenance, office services, etc.

Health Care Risk Waste (HCRW) is hazardous waste generated at health care facilities that is capable of producing infection, disease, toxic effects, skin and eye irritations, cuts, punctures and damage to the central nervous system.   (Refer to Health Care Risk Waste section)

Health Care Risk Waste

Health care risk waste (HCRW) is hazardous waste capable of producing any disease, and includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Chemical waste: discarded solid, liquid and gaseous chemicals from diagnostic, experimental, cleaning, housekeeping and disinfecting procedures.
  • Cytotoxic/genotoxic waste: drugs used to stop/reduce growth of certain living cells used in chemotherapy
  • Infectious waste: largest component of HCRW and consists of discarded materials, utensils or equipment arising from the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease, including dressings, soiled nappies, swabs, etc.
  • Isolation waste: discarded materials contaminated with excretions  or secretions from humans or animals in isolation to protect others from highly communicable or zoonotic diseases
  • Laboratory waste: human or animal specimen cultures, research cultures,  and microbiological specimens sent to a laboratory for analysis.
  • Pathological (anatomical) waste: body parts, organs, body tissue.
  • Pharmaceutical waste: expired, unused, spilled and contaminated products, drugs and vaccines
  • Radioactive waste: emanating from radiology departments, CT scanners, nuclear medicine services. laboratories
  • Sharps waste: syringe needles, scalpels, infusion sets, knives, blades
  • Pressure cans: – type of substance contained in gas cylinders, cartridges and aerosol cans containing hazardous substances
  • Waste with a high content of heavy metals: mercury in diagnostic devices such as thermometers, blood pressure meters.

For a detailed list of hazardous waste types and definitions

Also refer to:

The following South African National Standards (SANS) on health care waste are available for purchase from the SABS Store

 Number

Part

Title

SANS 10248

 2004

Management of healthcare waste

SANS 10248

Part 1: 2008

Management of healthcare risk waste from a healthcare facility;

SANS 10248

Part 2:2009

Management of healthcare risk waste for healthcare facilities and healthcare providers in rural and remote settings;

SANS 10248

Part 3: 2011

 Management of healthcare risk waste from minor generators, registered healthcare professionals and non-healthcare professionals.

As HCRW is classified as hazardous waste the following documents apply:

Also refer to Landfill Sites.

Download the guideline Waste Management Licenses for information on Waste Management Licenses, Authorisations, Registrations, Accreditations and Permits related to hazardous waste (including health care risk waste).

[Sources:

Waste Management Activities

Waste Management Activities

Waste management activities include:

  • The importation and exportation of waste
  • The generation of waste, including the undertaking of any activity or process that is likely to result in the generation of waste
  • The accumulation and storage of waste
  • The collection and handling of waste
  • The reduction, re-use, recycling and recovery of waste
  • The trading in waste
  • The transportation of waste
  • The transfer of waste
  • The treatment of waste
  • The disposal of waste

Waste Management Hierarchy

The Waste Act promotes the internationally recognised waste management hierarchy which states waste should first be avoided; where it cannot be avoided it should be reduced, reused, recycled or recovered and only disposed of if there is nothing else that could be done with it.

Steps involved in the waste hierarchy

Hierarchy step

Description

AVOID AND REDUCE

Design principles that incorporate the re-use of goods or their dismantling into components for re-use. Reduction of quantity and toxicity of waste generated during the production process

RE-USE

Diversion from the waste stream for use in a similar or different purpose without changing its form or properties

RECYCLE

Separation of items in the the waste stream and processing them as products or raw materials.

RECOVER

Reclaiming of particular components or materials, or using the waste as a fuel.

TREAT

Treatment in preparation for disposal

DISPOSE

Final disposal in the safest manner possible

 [Source: National Waste Management Strategy]

The Waste Act aims to encourage the movement of waste to other waste management options as shown in the figure below.

Waste Management Hierarchy

Source: Waste Act Made Easy - a user-friendly guide

Waste Management Services - Municipal

In terms of the Constitution, municipalities are responsible for providing waste management services in terms of national and provincial regulations and standards.

Municipalities provide the following services that form part of the waste value chain, from initial cleaning and collection through to final disposal.

  • Cleansing - city or town cleansing which includes street sweeping, litter picking, lane flushing, animal carcases, clearing of illegal dumping sites;
  • Collection and transport - municipal waste collection and transportation services;
  • Storage and transfer - the accumulation of waste in a manner that does not constitute treatment or disposal of that waste;
  • Sorting and separation of recyclables – the separation of waste from a waste stream in order to reclaim it for further use;
  • Reprocessing and recovery of recyclables - the controlled extraction of a material or the retrieval of energy from waste to produce a product;
  • Treatment -  any method, technique or process designed to
  • change the physical, biological or chemical character or composition of a waste; or
  • remove, separate, concentrate or recover a hazardous or toxic component of a waste; or
  • destroy or reduce the toxicity of a waste, in order to minimise the impact of the waste on the environment prior to further use or disposal;
  • Disposal: the burial, deposit, discharge, abandoning, dumping, placing or release of any waste into, or onto, any land.

[Source: National Environmental Management: Waste Act 2008 (59 of 2008)]

Municipalities may

  • Perform the services themselves
  • Outsource some of the services to private companies on a contractual basis depending on skills and resource capacity
  • Enable Sorting, separation, reprocessing and recycling activities to be carried out by private companies.
  • Create entities responsible for waste management operations. e.g. Pikitup in Johannesburg Metro.

The Municipal Waste Sector Plan, published in 2011, sets out government’s strategy to effectively address the backlogs in terms of municipal solid waste service delivery and infrastructure related to waste management once implemented.

Model By-Law on Waste Management provides a template the development of municipal waste management by-law.

The Municipal Solid Waste Tariff Strategy provides a framework and guidance for municipalities in setting solid waste tariffs that align with the intentions of the National Waste Management Strategy.  The strategy document is supported by

Collection

As part of the waste management services provided by municipalities domestic waste collection services are to be provided to all households within the jurisdiction of the municipality.  The National Environmental Management: Waste Act, 2008 (No. 59 of 2008) National Domestic Waste Collection Standards provides standards, general requirements and guidelines for the following:

  • Types/levels of collection services (including collection of recyclable waste)
  • Receptacles
  • Bulk containers
  • Communal collection points
  • Frequency of collection
  • Drop-off centres for recyclables
  • Collection vehicles
  • Health and safety issues
  • Communication, awareness and complaints

Refer to Guideline for waste collection in high density and unserviced areas

Download the guideline Waste Management Licenses for information on Waste Management Licenses, Authorisations, Registrations, Accreditations and Permits related to the collection of waste.

Collection - Indigent Households

Some households cannot afford the cost of waste services, including refuse removal, due to their poor economic situation. The Constitution places the responsibility on government to ensure that every person has access to basic services.  In order to make sure that poor people or households are not discriminated against due to their economic status, the 2001 Free Basic Services Policy provides for a basket of free basic services, including solid waste, water, sanitation and electricity. The National Policy for the provision of basic refuse removal services to indigent households sets out

  • Range of services provided
  • Recipient qualification criteria
  • Financial implications and financing mechanisms
  • Implementation strategies
  • Roles and responsibilities of three levels of government

Storage

Storage refers to the accumulation of waste that does not involve treatment or disposal of that waste.

The National Environment Management: Waste Act (59/2008): National norms and standards for the storage of waste provides the requirements for waste storage facilities for the following:

  • Registration
  • Location, design and construction
  • Waste storage containers
  • Management and operation
  • Minimum requirements for above-ground and underground storage facilities
  • Training for employees
  • Emergency preparedness
  • Monitoring, inspections, auditing and reporting
  • Recordkeeping
  • De-commissioning

Registration requirements within 90 days of commencement of facility construction:

  • The operator of a general waste storage facility with the capacity to store in excess of 100m3 continuously is required to register with the relevant provincial department.  (Refer to Provincial Departments Responsible for Environmental Affairs: contact details).
  • The operator of a hazardous waste storage facility with the capacity to store in excess of 80m3 continuously is required to register with:

Department of Environmental Affairs

Mr Bonginkosi Dlamini

Tel: 012 399 9778 Email: brdlamini@environment.gov.za

Refer to Licensing section and download the guideline Waste Management Licenses for information on Waste Management Licenses, Authorisations, Registrations, Accreditations and Permits related to the storage of waste.

Transportation

As part of the waste management services provided by municipalities domestic waste is collected and transported to a transfer point or to a landfill site for final disposal. 

The National Environmental Management: Waste Act, 2008 (No. 59 of 2008) National Domestic Waste Collection Standards provides standards, general requirements and guidelines for collection vehicles.

Waste Transporters are required to comply with the National Environmental Management: Waste Act, 2008 (Act No. 59 of 2008) Waste Classification and Management Regulations

Refer to Licensing section and download the guideline Waste Management Licenses for information on Waste Management Licenses, Authorisations, Registrations, Accreditations and Permits related to the transportation of general waste and hazardous waste (including health care risk waste).

Treatment

Treatment refers to any method, technique or process that is designed to:

  • change the physical, biological or chemical character or composition of a waste
  • remove, separate, concentrate or recover a hazardous or toxic component of a waste
  • destroy or reduce the toxicity of a waste

in order to minimise the impact of the waste on the environment prior to further use or disposal.

Anyone involved in the operation of a hazardous waste facility and the treatment of hazardous waste is required to:

  • Apply for a waste management licence from the Department of Environmental

Affairs – Mr Bonginkosi Dlamini Tel: 012 399 9778

Email: brdlamini@environment.gov.za

For examples of hazardous waste (including health care risk waste) refer to:

Refer to Licensing section and download the guideline Waste Management Licenses for information on Waste Management Licenses, Authorisations, Registrations, Accreditations and Permits related to the treatment of general and hazardous waste (including health care risk waste).

In terms of the Air Quality Act, the National List of Activities & Associated Minimum Emission Standards 2013 and the Amendments to National List of Activities and Associated Minimum Emission Standards 2015 provide a list of activities which result in atmospheric emissions which have or may have a significant detrimental effect on the environment, including health, social conditions, economic conditions, ecological conditions or cultural heritage.  The activities include waste co-feeding combustion installations and the thermal treatment of general and hazardous waste. Refer to Air Quality section.

National Policy in Thermal Treatment of General and Hazardous Waste presents government’s position on thermal waste treatment as an acceptable waste treatment option and provides the framework for the implementation of:

  • The incineration of general and hazardous waste in dedicated incinerators or other high temperature thermal treatment technologies, including but not limited to pyrolysis and gasification, and
  • Co-processing of selected general and hazardous waste as alternative fuels and/or raw materials in cement production

The Draft National Standards for the Validation of the Treatment Efficacy and Operation of a Non-Combustion Technology for the Treatment of Health Care Risk Waste prescribes the minimum requirements for the efficacy testing and operation of a non-combustion treatment technology treating health care risk waste and does not apply to facilities utilising chemicals for the treatment of health care risk waste.

Waste-to-energy

The Waste Management Flagship Programme is one of the near-term priority programmes of the Department of Environmental Affairs National Climate Change Response White Paper.

This programme will establish the greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation potential of the waste management sector and will include, but not be limited to, investigating waste-to-energy opportunities available within the solid-, semi-solid- and liquid-waste management sectors, especially the generation, capture, conversion and/or use of methane emissions.

For further information on the Waste Management Flagship Programme refer to:

Air Quality

The National Environmental Management Air Quality Act (39 of 2004) as amended by the National Environmental Management Air Quality Amendment Act (19 of 2014)  provides for the regulation of air quality in order to protect the environment while promoting justifiable economic and social development.

The National List of Activities & Associated Minimum Emission Standards 2013 and the Amendments to National List of Activities and Associated Minimum Emission Standards 2015 provide a list of activities which result in atmospheric emissions which have or may have a significant detrimental effect on the environment, including health, social conditions, economic conditions, ecological conditions or cultural heritage.  The activities include waste co-feeding combustion installations and the thermal treatment of general and hazardous waste.

The National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act, 2004 (Act No. 39 of 2004) National Atmospheric Emission Reporting Regulations regulates the reporting of data and information from identified sources of atmospheric emissions to an internet based National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory System in order to compile emissions inventories.

The South African Air Quality Information System (SAAQIS), provides a common platform for managing air quality information in South Africa. It makes data available to stakeholders including the public and provides a mechanism to ensure uniformity in the way air quality data is managed i.e. captured, stored, validated, analysed and reported on in South Africa. Visit SAAQIS Documents for Download for relevant legislation

Disposal

See Landfill Sites

Landfill Sites

Disposal refers to the burial, deposit, discharge, abandoning, dumping or release of any waste on land to landfill sites. The Waste Act promotes the internationally recognised waste management hierarchy which states that waste should first be avoided; where it cannot be avoided it should be reduced, reused, recycled or recovered and only disposed of if there is nothing else that could be done with it. Refer to Waste Hierarchy section)

Landfills are classified in terms of type of waste involved (general or hazardous), size of waste stream and potential for significant leachate generation, and are developed by:

  • Municipalities (mainly general waste sites)
  • Private companies for gain (mainly hazardous waste sites, but also some general sites).

License requirements:

  • The operator of a GLB+, GLB-, GMB+ or GMB- landfill site, as per the Minimum Requirements for Disposal by Landfill is required to apply to the relevant provincial environmental affairs department for a waste management license. (Refer to Provincial Departments Responsible for Environmental Affairs: contact details)
  • The operator of a H:H or H:h landfill site, as per the Minimum Requirements for Disposal by Landfilll is required to apply for a waste management license to:

Department of Environmental Affairs

Mr Bonginkosi Dlamini

Tel: 012 399 9778 Email: brdlamini@environment.gov.za

Operators of landfill sites are required to comply with:

Operators of landfill sites are also required to:

Refer to Licensing section and download the guideline Waste Management Licenses for information on Waste Management Licenses, Authorisations, Registrations, Accreditations and Permits related to landfill operation.

Recycling

The National Environmental Management: Waste Amendment Act (26 of 2014) defines recycling as a process where waste is reclaimed for further use, which process involves the separation of waste from a waste stream for further use and the processing of that separated material as a product or raw material

Steps Involved in the Recycling Process

  1. Collection of enough materials to make it worth going on to the next stage
  2. Transportation to a temporary storage point (drop-off or buy-back centre)
  3. Sorting, cleaning, compacting, baling and preparation of materials for sale to a recycling company or processing centre
  4. Processing of materials to a quality that makes them suitable for use as a raw material
  5. Transportation of the cleaned reclaimed material to the manufacturer
  6. Re-use of the recovered material as raw material to produce a new product
  7. Purchase of the new product made partially or wholly from recycled materials

Members of the general public are usually only involved in the first two steps, with entrepreneurs being involved in the first three steps

Benefits of Collecting Materials for Recycling

  • It saves valuable landfill space - less waste to be disposed of
  • It saves energy - making new products from recycled materials requires less energy
  • It saves natural resources - recycling reduces the demand for foreign and domestic raw materials and natural resources, e.g., fuel, trees and metals
  • Recycling existing materials can reduce manufacturing pollutants
  • Prevents littering
  • Creates a cleaner environment and reduces the negative environmental impact of waste.
  • Transporting waste uses resources and causes pollution.
  • Incorrect handling of hazardous waste can result in harm to humans, animals and the environment
  • It provides opportunities for job creation

Start Recycling

Before starting any type of collection scheme

Download:

VISIT the National Recycling Forum website

Recyclable Materials and the Contact Details for Recycling Companies

MATERIAL

COMPANY WEBSITE

Tel no. and e-mail

CANS

Aluminium/tin-plated beverage cans

Food, aerosol and paint cans

Collect-a-Can

 

(0)11 466 2939

info@collectacan.co.za

 

GLASS

Glass soft drink, beer and wine bottles

Glass food jars

The Glass Recycling Company

0861 245277

info@tgrc.co.za

 

PAPER

Magazines and brochures 

Newspapers 

Office paper and envelopes

Paper packaging and cardboard 

Paper gift wrap/boxes 

Beverage and liquid food cartons

Paper Recycling Association of SA

                       

(0)11 803 5063

info@prasa.co.za

 

Mpact Recycling

0800 022 112

Neopak Recycling 

(0)11 799 7111

meshack.mosiya@neopakrecycling

Sappi ReFibre

 

Gauteng & North West:

(0)13 741 3378

Mpumalanga & Limpopo:

(0)13 741 3378

W.Cape: 

(0)21 550 9072

Other provinces: 

(0)21 982 2296

PLASTICS

Plastics|SA

 

(0)11 314 4021

enquiries@plasticsSA.co.za

PETCO 

0860 147 738

info@petco.co.za

 

POLYCO

(0)21 531 0647

lisl@polyco.co.za

Polystyrene Packaging Council

(0)21 531 0647

Adri@polystyrenepackaging.co.za

SA Vinyls Association

082 444 6866

info@savinyls.co.za

AEROSOLS

Aluminium/tin-plated aerosol cans

Aerosol Manufacturing Association of SA

(0)11 440 8704

execdir@aerosol.co.za

CARTONS

Beverage cartons

Liquid food cartons

Tetra Pak South Africa

(0)11 570 3073

Agripa.Munyai@tetrapak.com

Electrical/Electronic Waste

Office and ICT equipment

Mobile phones

Batteries

Fluorescent lamps/tubes

Consumer/entertainment electronics

Leisure, sports, recreational equipment

Electric and electronic tools

Automatic issuing equipment

Security & health care equipment

Small/large household appliances

e-Waste Association of SA

(0)31 535 7146

info@ewasa.org

METALS

Ferrous and non-ferrous scrap metal 

Metal Recyclers Association of SA

info@mra.co.za

OIL

Used motor oil

Rose Foundation

(0)21 448 7492

usedoil@iafrica.com

TYRES

Passenger car/commercial vehicle

Agricultural equipment

Motorcycle

Industrial and lift truck

Earthmoving equipment

Aircraft

Other pneumatic tyres

SA Tyre Recycling Process

(0)11 791 1449

info@satrp.co.za

REDISA

087 357 3873

customersupport@redisa.org.za

DRUMS

Steel drums

Plastic drums

Intermediate bulk containers

South African Industrial Container Reconditioners Association

0860 72 42 72

RPMASA

0800 776 272

nfo@rpmasa.org.za 

Tyres

South Africa has millions of waste tyres lying in dumps and stockpiles, or scattered across the country in residential, industrial and rural areas. Almost 11 million waste tyres are added to this number every year. While some of these waste tyres make their way to recycling facilities via formal and informal networks of collectors, many of them are burned for their scrap metal content, releasing toxic fumes and liquids in the process. They are also burned in the townships and rural areas for heat generation, particularly during winter. This practice introduces many noxious gases such as dioxins and carbon monoxide into the environment. [Source: REDISA]

Different types of tyres include the following:

  • Passenger car/commercial vehicle
  • Agricultural equipment
  • Motorcycle
  • Industrial and lift truck
  • Earthmoving equipment
  • Aircraft
  • Other pneumatic tyres

The Department of Environmental Affairs has introduced an environmental tyre levy of R2.30/kg payable on all new and re-treaded locally manufactured and imported pneumatic tyres.

The Environment Conservation Act: Waste Tyre Regulations provides regulatory mechanisms for the management of waste tyres.

Refer to

Licensing

Waste Management Licensing

Waste management licenses, permits, authorisations and registration on the national South African Waste Information System (and provincial and municipal waste information systems where applicable) are required for:

        Waste Management Activities

  • Collection
  • Transportation
  • Storage
  • Re-use, recycling and recovery
  • Treatment
  • Disposal

   Waste Management Operators

  • Waste collectors
  • Waste transporters
  • Waste recyclers
  • Waste processors
  • All those trading in waste

Download guideline on Waste Management Licenses for information on Waste Management Licenses, Authorisations, Registrations, Accreditations and Permits related to general waste and hazardous waste (including health care risk waste).

Environmental Impact Assessments

Based on the size, the volume of waste and the nature of the waste handled, the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations, 2014 determine that in order to obtain a waste management license CATEGORY A activities require a Basic Assessment Process and CATEGORY B activities require a Scoping and Environmental Impact Reporting Process.  Refer to the List of waste management activities that have, or are likely to have, a detrimental effect on the environment for CATEGORY A AND CATEGORY B activities.

The Basic Assessment is required for smaller scale activities that are less likely to have serious environmental impacts, and identifies:

  • possible environmental impacts of the activity
  • possible ways to manage or limit these impacts
  • whether there are any issues or impacts that require further investigation.

The Scoping and Environmental Impact Assessment is a very costly and complex investigation required for activities that could cause higher levels of pollution, waste and environmental damage.  The process identifies possible impacts on the biological, social, economic and cultural aspects of the environment

Anyone applying for a waste management license is required to appoint an independent Environmental Assessment Practitioner, at own cost, to manage the process, as well as specialists if necessary.  Contact the Environmental Assessment Practitioners Association of South Africa (EAPASA) for more information.

South African Waste Information System

Anyone involved in the following activities is required to register on the South African Waste Information System (SAWIS)

  • Generators of more than 20kg of hazardous waste/day
  • Recovery or recycling of waste
  • Energy recovery from general waste of more than 3 tons/day.
  • Recovery of waste at a facility able to process more than 10 tons of general waste or more   than 500kg of hazardous waste per day.
  • The scrapping or recovery of motor vehicles at a facility of more than 500m2
  • Recycling of general waste at a facility of more than 500m2
  • Recycling of more than 500kg hazardous waste per day
  • Treatment of waste 
  • Treatment of general waste at a facility able to process more than 10 tons of general waste or 500kg of hazardous waste per day
  • Treatment of health care risk waste regardless of facility size or capacity
  • Disposal of waste
  • Disposal of general waste to land covering more than 200m2
  • Disposal of any quantity of hazardous waste to land.
  • Export of hazardous waste from the Republic of South Africa.

Refer to:

Download the guideline Waste Management Licenses for information on Waste Information System (WIS) registration requirements. Check with the relevant provincial department and municipality to find out whether there is a provincial or municipal Waste Information System. (Refer to Provincial Departments Responsible for Environmental Affairs: contact details)

Waste Management Plans

Industry Waste Management Plans

The Waste Act provides for industry waste management plans (IndWMP) to identify how a specific waste stream will be managed by industry. These plans may be mandatory or voluntary.

The Minister of Environmental Affairs has published a:

For IndWMP requirements refer to:

Integrated Waste Management Plans

The National Environmental Management: Waste Act 2008 (Act 59 of 2008) places considerable emphasis on the development of an integrated waste planning system, through:

  • the development of integrated waste management plans (IWMPs) by all spheres of government
  • the development of industry waste management plans (IndWMPs) by identified industries (Refer to Industry Waste Management Plans section)

Municipal and provincial Integrated Waste Management Plans (IWMPs) will set out the strategy to achieve appropriate waste collection standards in each community. In these plans, municipalities set targets and describe how they will achieve them. The IWMPs will also contain methods to monitor and measure progress against targets.

IWMPs are required to:

  • Set out priorities and objectives for waste management
  • Establish targets for the collection, minimisation, re-use and recycling of waste
  • Set out the approach to planning any new facilities for disposal and decommissioning existing waste disposal facilities
  • Indicate the financial resources required for the IWMP
  • Describe the implementation mechanisms for the IWMP
  • For the national and provincial departments, the IWMPs should also set out how they intend to support municipalities to give effect to the objects of the Waste Act.

IWMP Performance indicators include:

  • Number of licensed landfill sites established
  • Number of buy-back centres established
  • Number of households benefiting from waste collection
  • Number of Integrated Waste Management Plans developed
  • Number of waste bins provided/installed
  • Kilometres of streets cleaned
  • Area of illegal dumps cleared

Refer to:

Guidelines for the development of Integrated Waste Management Plan

Training, SMME Support and Job Creation

Informal Sector

Refer to Waste Pickers section

SMME Support and Job Creation

Download:

Refer to:

  • Department of Environmental Affairs Working for ...... programmes
  • USE-IT is a Durban based section 21 company that aims to identify waste beneficiation opportunities in the eThekwini Municipal Area that will help to divert waste from landfill and create employment in the green economy.
  • Tedcor trains and develops entrepreneurs from historically disadvantaged backgrounds to provide cost effective, sustainable waste management services in South Africa's disadvantaged and under-serviced areas.

Training

Click on Training for a list of training offered by IWMSA and its branches

Two new postgraduate degrees in waste management are on offer:

  • North West University - BSc Honours Environmental Sciences with specialisation in Waste Management (2015)
  • University of KwaZulu-Natal - MSc Eng Waste Management (2016)

The Waste Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) Roadmap report on Current waste HCD initiatives in South Africa (Appendix 2) provides a list of tertiary institutions offering waste-related courses

Waste Pickers

Waste pickers or reclaimers have been defined as people who “collect, sort and sell reusable and recyclable materials”.  They operate either from landfill sites or as trolley pushers who collect recyclable waste from bins put out for collection or from litter on streets and open spaces. The findings of the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) study on The determination of the extent and role of waste picking in South Africa identified the following:

  • There are approximately 62147 waste pickers in the country (36680 operating from landfills and 25467 operating as trolley pushers);
  • The gender split of the pickers is 50:50;
  • Waste picking primarily takes place in urban areas;
  • Majority of waste picking is in land fill sites;
  • Waste pickers are unorganised and informal;
  • Waste pickers face health and safety challenges
  • Waste pickers wish to be formalised and integrated into the waste economy.

The study recommended that DEA develop national guidelines, norms and standards to be used by municipalities for the inclusion of waste pickers in the formal waste management system.

Refer to the CSIR report on Integrating the Informal sector into the South African Waste and Recycling Economy in the Context of Extended Producer Responsibility

The Minister of Environmental Affairs has announced plans to incorporate South Africa’s estimated 62 147 registered waste pickers into the formal waste economy  to ensure their safety and protection.  Refer to the IWMSA response to the government’s intention to formalise waste pickers’ role in the waste economy.

Research and Statistics

Research

The national Waste Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) Roadmap provides a guide to waste research, development and innovation required to contribute towards growing and transforming the South African waste sector.

The Waste Management Flagship Programme is one of the near-term priority programmes of the Department of Environmental Affairs National Climate Change Response White Paper. This programme will establish the greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation potential of the waste management sector and will include, but not be limited to, investigating waste-to-energy opportunities available within the solid-, semi-solid- and liquid-waste management sectors, especially the generation, capture, conversion and/or use of methane emissions

For further information on the Waste Management Flagship Programme refer to:

Statistics

For statistics on waste management in South Africa refer to:

Miscellaneous

Carbon Footprint

Download the Nedbank Carbon Footprinting Guide. The main aim of this guide then is to demystify carbon footprint approaches, describe the main concepts, provide a means to do the actual calculations. Throughout the guide the theory is constantly explained by application to a number of real-world cases. (high difficulty level)

Click on the carbon calculator to measure your household’s carbon footprint.

Click here for things you personally can do to reduce your Carbon Footprint. (low difficulty level)

Composting

In order to prevent or minimise potential negative impacts on the bio-physical and socio-economic environment, the National Environmental Management: Waste Act, 2008 (No. 59 of 2008): Draft national norms and standards for organic waste composting aim to control the composting of organic waste at a facility with the capacity to process more than 10 tonnes but less than 100 tonnes of compostable organic waste per day.

For the purposes of compliance monitoring, the operator of this facility should, prior to the start of construction activities, apply to the Department of Environmental Affairs for a once off registration of the activity on the department’s database.

Composting at home

Step 1: Obtain a bin or set aside an area in your yard that is approximately one cubic yard (3’x3’x3’).  Size is important to build up sufficient heat. Piles that are too small cannot hold enough heat for effective microbial activity, and piles too large do not allow for enough air to reach microbes in the centre of the pile.

Step 2: Mix two parts brown (dry leaves, small twigs, straw, etc.) with one part green (grass clippings, vegetable peels, etc.).  This 2:1 ratio provides the best mix of carbon (brown materials) to nitrogen (greens).
    
Step 3: Chop or break up any twigs and large pieces of fruit and vegetable waste.  Materials will break down more quickly with increased surface area.

Step 4: Water your compost to keep it moist

Step 5: Compost needs air.  Turn the compost regularly to help it break down and to prevent unpleasant odours.

Step 6: Compost is ready to use when it looks and smells like rich soil.  Use it to feed your garden, flowers, pot plants and lawn.

Do not use the following to make compost:

Bones, meat, eggs (egg shells are fine), cheese, other dairy products, oils and pet faeces.