“The Environmental Affairs Department has warned many landfills are reaching full capacity.” – James-Brent Styan.
In South Africa, the landfill capacity is fast becoming an impending crisis. With only 7.5% of South African’s recycling, we currently have over 90% of waste produced ending up in landfills. It is common knowledge in the Waste industry, that 60% of the waste produced at source can be recycled. How is this being communicated? Government has attempted partnerships and agreements with private organisations to help increase the recycling of waste at source. In addition, various pilots focusing on separation at source have been attempted, producing mixed low-key results.
Adding to this, the global recycling industry is under pressure due to China, the biggest importer of plastic waste, banning the import of plastic waste from exporters like South Africa. This means that there are now limited options for the disposal of plastics available, with the landfill – which is already overloaded – becoming the automatic default disposal choice.
This requires a fresh approach to the problem at hand. With space for dumping ‘garbage and waste’ running out, a call has gone out from the public and private sectors to begin pushing recycling at source for all corporates and residential households. By recycling and separating our waste by ‘recyclable versus non-recyclable’ we will be helping prevent the impending landfill crisis.