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Opportunity and threat in Africa’s growing waste sector

  • Published in News

South Africa faces both an opportunity and threat from the looming deluge of waste that will be generated on the continent. If recent projections prove to be correct, Africa’s municipal solid waste by 2025 will be nearly double the 2012 levels. This is according to a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report, which states that 244 million tonnes of municipal solid waste will be produced across Africa within the very near future. This is due to rapid population and consumer-led growth, which leads to greater urbanisation.

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Waste no longer, or go without

Waste no longer, or go without! The message towards all consumers of water – industry, business, residential and agriculture - needs to be clear and definite if we are going to adapt to the “new normal” and effect lasting positive change in consumption behaviours; to protect remaining and future water resources.

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African marine waste

Environmental superstar Sylvia Earle will lead a global contingent of researchers and waste management innovators that will gather in Port Elizabeth for the inaugural African Marine Waste Conference from July 9-13.

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Changing waste streams to profit streams

  • New study shows that rolling out waste as a green industry would affect a 0.5% increase in GDP

A recent study undertaken by the Energy Research Centre of the University of Cape Town investigates the economic impact of the introduction of resources back into the economy through waste stream management. The study highlights that the GDP could increase by up to 0.5% with 13 661 new fulltime equivalent jobs created.

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A rich booty of waste collected at 2017 SA Navy Festival

The Plastics|SA Clean-Up crews were once again in action at this year’s SA Navy Festival that took place at the Simonstown harbour from the 17th to the 19th of March. 

According to John Kieser, Plastics|SA’s Sustainability Manager and coordinator of the clean-up crews, each year close to 50 000 people visit this event daily for the chance to see some of the country’s biggest naval ships and exhibitions on display.

“This is a very popular festival that is always very well attended by members of the public.  As a result, we find that it also produces the biggest variety of waste,” Kieser says. Large volumes of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS), aluminium cooldrink cans and Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) were sent away for recycling, whilst organic waste was sent away for composting to Noordhoek.

“We managed to collect approximately 35 large bags of good quality polystyrene that were discarded in the form of take-away containers, but also protective packaging that was used around the ammunition and valuable items that were on display,” Kieser said. This material was delivered to a Cape Town based recycler who uses the post-consumer polystyrene in lightweight concrete used for building and construction applications.

 “Our sincere gratitude goes to the Plastics|SA Sustainability Council for the excellent work they are doing on the ground at these events by working closely with the clean-up crews, but also in manning the exhibition stands where they educate members of the public about the importance of recycling.  Through their on-going, consistent and visible efforts, they bolster the recycling efforts of the various material recovery organisations (MROs) and help us to divert tons of valuable material from our country’s landfills,” says Adri Spangenberg, Director of the Polystyrene Packaging Council (PSPC).

The final big sporting and spectator event on the Plastics|SA Clean-Up crew’s agenda for this month is the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon that will be taking place on the 15th of April 2017.

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Wastewater system challenges conventional wisdom

The country’s fixation for water borne sewage and large energy hungry wastewater treatment plants that more often ‘waste’ this valuable resource, is about to be challenged at grass roots level with an exciting concept that is modular, easily expandable, simple to install and maintain, has very low energy requirements and recycles treated wastewater on site at less than R1,88/kℓ.

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