Almost a quarter of Cape Town’s waste diverted from landfill sites

The City’s waste minimisation initiatives have helped to steadily increase the percentage of waste diverted away from landfills from 12,3% (2011/12) to 21,3% (2016/17). 

The City of Cape Town is continuously working to reduce the amount of waste that ends up being illegally dumped or deposited in landfills. 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% (2011/12) to 21,3% (2016/17). 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. Read more below: 
 
In the current financial year, the City has set aside approximately R118,7 million for initiatives which minimise waste going to landfill sites, including for recycling and composting. 
 
One of the City’s aims is to be a world-class, clean and resource-efficient city which protects its natural environment and enables a more prosperous future. As such, a number of interventions are 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.

New drop-off sites

The recent opening of the Kensington and Induland waste drop-off sites will contribute to reducing the occurrence of illegally dumped waste, as well as improving waste diversion from landfill sites. The City hopes this well help to foster a culture of responsible waste management by making it more convenient for residents to drop off waste closer to where they are situated. 
 
These new drop-off sites brings the total number of City-operated drop-offs to 24, each within a 7 km radius of the next, with this distance reducing as more drop-offs are added. 
 
Members of the public can drop up to three free loads daily from a vehicle whose capacity does not exceed 1,5 tons. The daily limit of three loads applies to builders’ rubble, clean garden waste (excluding tree stumps), or garage waste. Unlimited free loads of clean recyclables can 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 is chipped on site if possible and turned into compost, while building rubble and demolition waste is transferred to landfill sites where some of it is crushed for reuse. Private recycling contractors also sort 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.
 
‘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. Illegal dumping costs the ratepayer approximately 10 times more than the removal of waste via the normal waste stream, so we encourage residents to report illegal dumpers so that we can deter them from this practice and direct them to the available facilities. The dumping of inappropriate objects in our sewer systems alone costs us approximately R270 million annually to address. 
 
‘Capetonians really are known for being resource efficient, just have a look at how we cut our water and electricity usage over the years. If there is one city in the world that can be a leader in responsible waste management, it is Cape Town. We encourage all of our community organisations, residents and ratepayers’ associations, private sector business and media partners to help us to reduce our footprint on the earth,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services; and Energy, Councillor Xanthea Limberg.
 
Residents can find out more about how to manage their waste responsibly by visiting and to get further information on the drop-off facilities on the City’s website