Cape Town leads the war on waste

Cape Town's 3,2 million residents produce up to 6 000 tons of waste per day – which works out at an average of almost 2 kg per person per day. With waste generation growing at 7% per annum – Cape Town’s landfill sites at Vissershok, Bellville South and Strandfontein are almost filled to capacity.

But Cape Town is the first municipality in the country to develop a by-law and calculate the cost for integrated waste management in line with new national legislation.

“The National Waste Management Bill provides for waste minimisation to become a municipal responsibility, but fails to provide for the necessary funding,” says Alderman Ian Neilson, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Finance and Economic Development.

Neilson went on to explain that the metro had used its pilot recycling programme as a basis to evaluate what it could cost municipalities and ratepayers to set up a waste minimisation infrastructure as required by the new Act.

Cape Town’s Integrated Waste Management by-law will be advertised soon for final public comment before submission to Council for adoption.

The municipality launched a pilot waste recovery programme in selected residential areas a while ago. Results of the programme, under the banner “Think Twice”, have proved that one size doesn’t fit all.  Affluent communities and less affluent communities have different needs that require different services,” says Neilson.

For the 2010 Soccer World Cup, the City plans to roll out the split bin system in strategic public areas to recover recyclable materials.

“The Council’s policy to reduce, re-use and recycle was put to good effect by utilising tons of rubble from the demolition of the old Green Point Stadium to construct the foundations of the new 2010 stadium,” says Neilson.

He also praised private sector initiatives, like the collection of CFL light bulbs by Woolworths and Pick n Pay, that have placed Cape Town in the position of leader on the war against waste.