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The official journal of the

Promoting integrated resources management

Waste-to-energy SA’s potential

Medical Waste

Mine Waste

Handling a pandemic

Dry tailings stack up

Recycling

The right equipment pays

Logistics

Using AI-based solutions

E-WASTE

can no longer be ignored

is printed on 100% recycled paper

ISSN 1680-4902 • R55.00 (incl. VAT) • Vol. 22 No. 03 • August 2020


Inspired innovation can set you apart Whatever your engineering challenge, we’re on the same page

We thrive on challenges. They stretch us to find new and better ways of doing things. We call it innovation in action. Proudly South African, JG Afrika provides civil and structural engineering and environmental consulting services throughout Africa.

SIKHULISA SONKE • WE DEVELOP TOGETHER

www.jgafrika.com


Vol. 22, No. 03, August 2020

ON THE COVER South Africa’s leading electrical and electronic producers are committed to growing the circular economy. Alastair Currie speaks to Keith Anderson, CEO, eWaste Association of South Africa. P14

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CONTENTS AUGUST 2020

ELECTRONIC WASTE

REGULARS

3 4 6 44 44

Editor’s comment President’s comment News round-up Events Index to advertisers

LANDFILLS

8

How to extend the life of your landfill

LOGISTICS

Using AI-based solutions to improve waste logistics

10

ORGANIC WASTE

Canal Walk installs Earth Probiotic food waste composter

13

ELECTRONIC WASTE

14 16

E-waste can no longer be ignored The alternative to shredding

INDUSTRIAL SYMBIOSIS

17

Symbiosis saves money and resources

20 MEDICAL WASTE

MINE WASTE

18

Dry tailings stack up

MEDICAL WASTE

20

Handling medical waste during a pandemic

GREEN BUILDINGS

23

An iconic green development

MATERIALS RECOVERY FACILITIES

Innovative construction solution for Coastal Park

38

BIOREMEDIATION

Bioremediation strides a boon for SA groundwater

SUSTAINABILITY CLEAN-UPS

31

Eco heroes wear masks

EXTENDED PRODUCER RESPONSIBILITY

32

Greater responsibility for producers

EQUIPMENT

41

RENEWABLE ENERGY

Selecting the right equipment pays for recyclers Pelleting plants for waste fractions

JOB CREATION

WASTE-TO-ENERGY

SA’s waste potential for alternative fuel and energy Towards affordable biogas production

RENEWABLE ENERGY

www.infrastructurenews.co.za

42

Carbon tax vs carbon trading AUGUST 2020

38 40 41

CARBON TAX infrastructure4

34 35 36

Opinion: Youth involvement post Covid-19

Driving a just recovery from Covid-19

infrastructure news

28 30

Recycling is not a waste solution

WASTE-TOENERGY

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25 TH WASTE CONFERENCE & EXHIBITION

Golf Conference Technical Tour

9-11 Feb 2021 Emperors Palace, Johannesburg, South Africa

Early bird registration ends 30 August 2020

HOSTED BY:

Enquire about exhibition opportunities

www.wastecon.co.za + 27(0)11 675 3462

wastecon@iwmsa.co.za


EDITOR’S COMMENT

Editor Danielle Petterson Managing editor Alastair Currie Journalist Nombulelo Manyana Head of design Beren Bauermeister Designer Jaclyn Dollenberg Chief sub-editor Tristan Snijders Contributors Sathisha Barath, Richard Emery, Gavin Heron, Brendon Jewaskiewitz, Francois Joubert, Margot Ladouce, Themba Sebolao Lecage, Byron Mawer, Mncedisi Mbopa, Jan Norris, Michelle Pienaar, Julia Rushton, Kate Stubbs, Eckart Zollner Production & client liaison manager Antois-Leigh Nepgen Production coordinator Jacqueline Modise Group sales manager Chilomia Van Wijk Financial manager Andrew Lobban Distribution manager Nomsa Masina Distribution coordinator Asha Pursotham Printers Novus Print Montague Gardens Tel +27 (0)21 550 2300 Advertising sales Joanne Lawrie Cell +27 (0)82 346 5338 joanne@3smedia.co.za

Publisher Jacques Breytenbach 3S Media 46 Milkyway Avenue, Frankenwald, 2090 PO Box 92026, Norwood 2117 Tel +27 (0)11 233 2600 Fax +27 (0)11 234 7274/5 www.3smedia.co.za Annual subscription subs@3smedia.co.za R200.00 (incl VAT) South Africa ISSN 1680-4902 Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa Tel +27 (0)11 675 3462 Email gail@iwmsa.co.za All material herein is copyright protected and may not be reproduced either in whole or in part without the prior written permission of the publisher. The views and opinions of authors expressed in the magazine do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher, editor or the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa. © Copyright 2020. All rights reserved. Novus Holdings is a Level 2 Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) Contributor, with 125% recognised procurement recognition. View our BBBEE scorecard here: https://novus.holdings/sustainability/transformation The ABC logo is a valued stamp of measurement and trust, providing accurate and comparable circulation figures that protect the way advertising is traded. ReSource is ABC audited and certified.

The non-payment dilemma The economic decline brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic and resultant lockdown has exacerbated the already problematic culture of non-payment in South Africa.

T

he most recent Auditor-General report highlights a growing trend of established businesses across the chain showing signs of a diminishing ability to pay for services, or completely refusing to pay. Individuals and households feel the same pressures and are similarly not forthcoming with payments. However, this is not a new problem. According to the report, on average, almost 60% of the revenue shown in the books will never find its way into the bank accounts of the municipality. As evidenced by the age of municipalities’ debt, the system has generally been unsuccessful in converting debt into cash over a number of years. The economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the problem of non-payment, which is now decimating our municipalities. The drop in income amounts to billions of rand and many municipalities, including the metros, are faced with becoming technically insolvent. And all this before we consider the irregular expenditure and corruption that add to the financial burden.

Rendering services As income declines, municipalities increasingly turn to national government for funding. This in itself is problematic. The recently released Mediumterm Expenditure Framework highlighted that, since 2008/09, there has been a large, growing gap between government spending and tax revenues, resulting in exponential growth in borrowing to fund the fiscal gap.

Government’s net loan debt has risen from under R500 billion in 2007/08 to nearly R3 trillion at the end of 2019/20. With over 20% of collected tax going toward interest on past debt, National Treasury has warned that a debt default or fiscal crisis would cost the country at least R2 trillion in lost economic activity by the end of the decade. Enhancing municipal revenue therefore becomes critical moving forward. We face a huge risk if there is no cash to sustain services.

Changing consumer behaviour If municipalities are to continue to provide services in the future, the culture of non-payment must be addressed. Services, such as waste collection and disposal, do not come cheap and consumer behaviour needs to change if we are to ensure the capacity to fund and maintain critical infrastructure. While changing mindsets is a challenging task, we should begin with greater collaboration between municipal departments. Finance, customer service and technical departments need to work together to understand and address the challenge. We could start by sharing more information with consumers. The current pandemic and recent ‘Day Zero’ drought in the Cape have shown how proactively sharing meaningful information with citizens can drive behavioural change that, in the case of water use in Cape Town, can be sustained. Although non-payment is in part driven by economic stress, research has suggested that it is also linked to a culture of entitlement as well as a lack of trust in authorities to fairly collect and use revenue for service delivery. While we cannot collect money from people who have none, the latter two issues can and must be addressed. If we are to turn the tide, we must adopt an innovative and multifaceted approach, ultimately building stable institutions capable of effective service delivery.

Danielle AUGUST 2020

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PRESIDENT’S COMMENT

INTO THE FUTURE OF

waste management

My introduction to waste management took place in Durban in the early 1990s. I was for tunate national attention to solid waste to know and learn from some management, an inability of private and public sector organisations to of the pioneers of modern waste work together on waste problems, management in South Africa, and and a lack of training and education for anyone interested in the field of par ticularly all things landfill, as waste management. we know them today. Despite significant progress having been made in many areas, of which By Brendon Jewaskiewitz we, as an industry and country can be

T

hey included the likes of Ray Lombard, Howard Robinson (UK) and my father, Stan Jewaskiewitz, to name a few, all of whom have played varied but significant roles in the advancement of professional waste management to achieve a clean and healthy environment – one of the basic tenets of the IWMSA. The advancement of innovative engineered geosynthetic lining systems, the active management of landfill gas and the treatment of leachate made for exciting times in the rapidly changing waste management landscape, which at the time was, of course, dominated by landfill.

How far have we come? Thirty years on, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, and what is probably the toughest economic outlook in generations, I find myself asking what has really changed since those early days. The IWMSA was founded in 1976 following concerns that there was a lack of

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extremely proud, upon reflection on my own experiences over the last decade or so, I cannot help but feel we still have a long way to go; in many cases, we have actually gone backwards. Burning landfills should not be featuring in the news as a result of abject mismanagement and neglect, and the health of our communities should not be constantly under threat from horrific levels of air and water pollution. This is the daily reality for many South Africans.

there, it just needs to be spent on the right things at the right time, and not thrown into the seemingly bottomless pit of corruption, to which the waste management industry is not immune. Over the last number of years, not enough attention has been paid to sustainable practices, effective regulation and sanction in the municipal sphere, which is unfortunate as the knock-on effects are such that the overall costs to society will be so much greater. As the late Franz Neubacher once told me, “The degree of civilisation of a society is determined by what it’s prepared to spend on properly managing its waste.” There are, however, encouraging signs that efforts are being made to turn the tide, with Minister Barbara Creecy of the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) leading the charge.

Back to basics There has been much talk in recent times of getting ‘back to basics’, something desperately needed when having wandered so far off track. One cannot expect to reap the benefits of alternative technologies associated with the diversion of waste from landfill without first getting the fundamentals right. And that includes sorting out our landfills. Only then will we really be in a position to potentially benefit from the myriad opportunities presented by a circular economy and the Fourth Industrial Revolution as far as waste management is concerned. I have said before that I don’t believe that a lack of money is the problem – the money is

Brendon Jewaskiewitz, president, IWMSA


PRESIDENT’S COMMENT

We look forward to seeing positive and effective progress made in pressing matters, including realistic policy and legislation development and adjustment, and the equal enforcement of regulations in both the private and public sectors. We will certainly be watching the development of the extended producer responsibility framework and regulations with interest and engaging on the appropriate platforms.

not so hard to stay in touch, and share knowledge, ideas and experience remotely in ways we never thought to be effective before. At the IWMSA, we are excited to be part of the ongoing change and advancement of our waste management standards and practices. Over the last few years, we have undertaken a strategic overhaul, rebranded and refocused. Highlights have included becoming a National Member of the ISWA in 2018, The IWMSA Looking to the future for the first time in our history, has won the The Covid-19 pandemic and signing an MoU with bid to host the has thrown some serious the DEFF in 2019, paving 2024 ISWA World challenges our way, and the way for robust and Congress and in many instances has constructive engagement General Assembly forced us to re-examine with our national regulator. in South Africa the status quo and question Recognising the whether we really are on the importance of our international right track. Covid-19 has been a standing and the advantages forced disruption to our lives, often of worldwide collaboration, we eliminating the safe and easy option. It recently submitted a bid for South Africa may be the catalyst or the pain we need to make to host the 2024 ISWA World Congress and General changes that are long overdue. Assembly. We are excited to announce that on I have followed the various International Solid Monday 24 August we received official notification Waste Association (ISWA) and International Waste from the ISWA of the success of our bid, following Working Group reports on the Covid-19 impacts the rigorous evaluation of bids received from three on waste management from around the world with continents. We are looking forward to welcoming interest, and have been encouraged to learn that waste management professionals, academia, many of our problems are not unique, but can officials and exhibitors from around the world to often be solved with a combination of international Cape Town in September 2024, for the first event experience and local innovation – frequently of its kind on the African continent. resulting in a more flexible and robust approach Following its postponement, we are also looking than had previously prevailed. And in our various forward to hosting the 25th edition of WasteCon at degrees of isolation, we have also learned that it’s Emperors Palace in Gauteng from 9 to 11 February

2021 and encourage our members to actively participate in what promises to be a fantastic educational and networking event.

Taking the IWMSA to new heights Annual IWMSA membership invoices have recently been sent out. We are acutely sensitive to the current economic climate and have kept the increases, which last took place two years ago, to an absolute minimum. We implore all of you to please settle your membership fees timeously – this will go a long way to ensuring the survival and sustainability of the IWMSA. I look forward to working with the IWMSA head office team, our past president Leon Grobbelaar, our new vice-president Mpendulo Ginindza, and the rest of the council over the next two years. We have a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise at our disposal, and I consider myself very fortunate to be working with such a great team of people. As the leadership of the IWMSA, there is much that council and head office can do, but our regional branches, vibrant interest groups and members are undoubtedly our heartbeat and greatest assets. Inclusivity, diversity and participation must be encouraged if we are to successfully advance the cause of sustainable waste management and the practical resolution of waste management issues affecting our communities on a daily basis. I appeal to all our members to get involved, have your say, ‘get your hands dirty’, and contribute to the success of the IWMSA and the waste management industry. Everyone has a role to play – the future is definitely not what it used to be.

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NEWS ROUND-UP

SUSTAINABILITY NEWS FROM AROUND THE WORLD E-waste becomes world’s fastestgrowing domestic waste stream As technology has become an integral part of our daily lives, so the amount of e-waste has increased, especially during the last five years. This is according to the Global E-waste Monitor 2020 report, which found that the world produced a record 53.6 million tonnes of electronic waste in 2019, with just 17.4% of it being recycled. Meaning, electronic waste is now considered to be the fastest-growing domestic waste stream in the world. This upsurge is mainly due to the higher consumption rates of electric and electronic equipment, increased innovation, lower technology costs and short life cycles. The report further found that e-waste surged by 21% over the past five years, predicting that it will reach 74 million tonnes by 2030 – almost a doubling of electronic waste in just 16 years. While the overall damage done to the environment from all the unrecycled waste may be incalculable, the message from the report was conclusive: E-waste is world’s fastestgrowing domestic waste “The way in which we produce, stream consume and dispose of e-waste is unsustainable.”

62% of PET plastic bottles produced in SA in 2019 collected for recycling Despite global market contractions, and now the rolling economic impact of Covid-19, South Africa’s PET plastic recycling value chain has kept its wheels turning. Delivering yet another positive annual recycling rate, the latest stats released by the PET Recycling Company (PETCO) show that 62% of all PET plastic beverage bottles produced in South Africa in 2019 were collected and recycled. This amounts to 95 879 tonnes of post-consumer PET bottles collected, which would otherwise have occupied 594 448 m3 of landfill space and produced 144 000 tonnes of carbon emissions. Aside from the environmental benefits, PET recycling also generated 65 900 income-earning opportunities among informal reclaimers and SMMEs, with R1.1 billion injected into the downstream economy via the manufacturing, distribution and sale of products made from recycled PET (rPET).

PET recycling in 2019 generated 65 900 income-earning opportunities among informal reclaimers and SMMEs

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Coca-Cola to roll out returnable 2 ℓ plastic bottles to more parts of SA

Coca-Cola set to roll out returnable 2 ℓ plastic bottles to more parts of SA Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) announced that it will soon start rolling out returnable 2 ℓ plastic bottles to more parts of the country after a successful pilot in the Eastern Cape last year. For each bottle a consumer returns, they get R9 back. Returnable bottles will now also be available in northern Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. CCBSA says that more provinces will be added over a five-year period. The company piloted the project in the Eastern Cape in January, as part of its ‘world without waste’ initiative. “The consumer response to the new 2 ℓ returnable PET bottles has been overwhelmingly positive. We have seen customers in the Eastern Cape opting to switch over to purchasing the returnable bottles and returning them after consumption,” says Velaphi Ratshefola, managing director of CCBSA. Each returnable bottle has ‘RETURNABLE’ printed on a small green strip on the front side of the bottle label. For each bottle that a consumer returns, they get a R9 deposit; meaning, if it costs R20, the consumer ultimately only pays R11. Once a bottle is returned to CCBSA, it goes on a looped journey to be cleaned as per Coca-Cola’s stringent measures and requirements, then is refilled to start its next life cycle. When the bottle reaches the end of its useable life cycle, it joins the recycling value chain and is repurposed into another PET (polyethylene terephthalate) product.


NEWS ROUND-UP

Glass recycling and the fight against climate change The Glass Recycling Company (TGRC) has encouraged every South African to continue doing their part for the environment, by actively making glass recycling part of everyday life. According to TGRC, it can help with the fight against climate change. “We encourage everyone to keep making green choices, even during these uncertain

times, as even the smallest green act makes a difference to the environment. While we are socially distancing and taking the rest of mankind into consideration, we too should be taking the environment into consideration to ensure that there is a green future for generations to come,” explains Shabeer Jhetam CEO of TGRC. One of the main contributors to climate change and

global warming is CO2 emissions, with methane gas being the second largest contributor. An effective way of helping combat climate change, while enabling economic opportunities, is through glass recycling. The benefits of glass recycling include saving energy, reducing pollution, saving landfill space and conserving natural resources.

Glass recycling is key to combatting climate change

SA consults with industry on nuclear power plans The South African government’s plan to pursue nuclear power is not off the table yet, as the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) has proposed a nuclear power plant, which has faced opposition from environmental campaigners. South Africa wants to supplement its power capacity because of problems at Eskom’s fleet of coal-fired power plants, some of which will be decommissioned over the next two decades. The energy ministry published a request for information (RFI) to develop plans for a nuclear energy build programme and has started consultations with industry on preparations for a proposed 2 500 MW nuclear power plant building programme. The aim of the RFI consultation process is to get some idea of the cost, possible ownership structures, cost recovery, and the end-user cost and sustainability of the nuclear programme. “Given the long lead time of building additional new nuclear capacity, upfront planning is necessary for security of energy supply to society into the future,” the DMRE said in a statement. South Africa’s long-term energy plan, released in October 2019, listed nuclear power as an option in the longer term or in case a longdelayed hydropower project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo does not materialise.

South African is investigating a new nuclear power plant

Plastics should be recycled and repurposed, not discarded

A world free of litter, not plastic Each year in July, people across the globe take part in Plastic Free July – an international movement that aims to reduce the amount of plastic waste in our environment by encouraging fellow citizens to make the shift towards long-term, environmentally friendly habits. Although the plastics industry in South Africa supports these objectives, it does not endorse the call for people to go ‘plastic-free’. “Over the past 25 years, our position has never changed: Plastics don’t litter – people do! Every piece of plastic has value and the potential to be repurposed and recycled into something new,” says Plastics|SA. “To imagine that the solution is as easy as simply banning the use of plastics is an uninformed, irrational argument that can be perilous to the environment that we are trying to protect. It should therefore be abundantly clear that the real issue that needs to be addressed is human behaviour.”

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LANDFILLS

How to extend the life of your landfill A lack of commercially viable alternatives means that landfilling remains the only option for the safe and cost-effective disposal of waste. However, there is a dire shortage of airspace on existing landfill sites. By Danielle Petterson

G

Physical extension of landfills

auteng presents a prime example of the airspace crisis facing South Africa. Johannesburg, in particular, has an estimated remaining life of less than five years for all four of its landfills. While less severe, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni are facing similar situations; however, the problem persists across the country. It therefore stands that the lifespans of landfills need to be extended wherever possible. According to Stan Jewaskiewitz, technical director, Envitech Solutions, there has generally been little forward planning for future waste disposal in South Africa. Added to that, many of the provincial environmental authorities are refusing to issue new landfill licences without planning in place for alternatives, such as recycling. Jewaskiewitz also points out that some landfills are known to be at full capacity and yet continue to operate, which implies non-compliance

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with their waste management licence. Various options therefore need to be considered in order to prolong landfill lifespans. In this regard, there are three basic options available: • physical extension of landfills • diversion of waste from landfill • waste processing and treatment at landfill.

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Where conditions allow, landfills can be extended laterally or ver tically to increase lifespan. These options come with various engineering considerations in terms of stability and require an appropriate licence to perform. Concerns from the community and the impact on community aesthetics must be taken into consideration. According to Jewaskiewitz, this is one of the easiest ways to extend the life of a landfill, and the advantage of this option is that the operations are unsophisticated in comparison to the alternatives. On the downside, in cases where landfills are run by incompetent operators or municipalities, poor practices will be perpetuated.

Diversion of waste from landfill This approach relies on off-site activities to divert waste before it reaches the landfill. In doing so, the volume of waste to landfill

is decreased, thereby increasing the lifespan of the landfill. Diversion activities include recycling, composting organic waste, and crushing rubble for reuse, among others. Adopting these activities offers advantages to the recycling and composting markets, and generates employment opportunities. Recycling, for example, currently takes place largely through informal waste collectors. This approach also requires relatively low-level technology and is suitable for all municipalities. However, political will is key to facilitate effective diversion activities, says Jewaskiewitz. This is because they are not easy to establish, and viable markets or uses for the by-products must be established – e.g. collaborating with parks departments to use the compost generated from organic waste. Buy-in from


LANDFILLS residents is also crucial to ensure effective waste separation at source, which is by far the most effective method of separation.

Waste processing and treatment at landfill Similar to diversion, this approach involves sorting waste at the landfill site, to ensure only materials that cannot be processed are

and nearby industries that require steam in their processes, such as the pulp and paper industr y, can use the steam by-product in their processes. Unfor tunately, the difficulties involved in setting up waste-to-energy projects, such as high costs and securing sustained volumes of quality waste, mean there are few to no commercialscale plants in South Africa. However, the use of

available. “Most importantly, for this approach to be successful, you need politicians to champion and support these projects,” he adds.

An integrated solution “What do you do with the waste when landfills are full?” questions Jewaskiewitz. “This is why we need to consider an integrated waste treatment and disposal solution where the

Integrated Waste Treatment & Disposal Solution Recycling Facility (MRF) General Waste (MSW/ Industrial/ Commercial)

Waste Reception (Bulk Sorting)

Recovered materials for reprocessing (plastics, glass, cans, paper, etc)

Recyclables

Organics Organics

Anaerobic Digestion / Composting Plant (Option)

Compost (Option)

Dry waste Biogas

Electricity Generation

Residue to Landfill

Medical Waste (HCRW)

Infectious

Hydroclave Plant (Infectious Wastes)

Pathalogical

Nonagricultural grade compost Thermal Treatment Plant

Shredded Tyres (Option)

Residue Organic sludge

Hazardous Wastes

Laboratory (Check Testing)

disposed of on the landfill. “This acts as a back-stop to all of the activities that happen prior to the waste reaching the landfill,” says Jewaskiewitz. Using this approach, waste would be processed on-site, typically at a materials recovery facility, where recoverable materials, such as recyclables and organics, are separated out. Like diversion, this approach offers benefits to the recycling and composting markets and creates jobs and upskilling opportunities. Waste-to-energy also falls into this categor y. The residual material that would normally go to landfill can be incinerated to generate steam and electricity. Electricity can be used on-site or fed into the grid,

Steam/ Syngas

Ash Landfill (Residue Disposal)

Chemical Treatment Plant

waste materials to produce refuse-derived fuels for certain industries has been successfully implemented in some areas. Jewaskiewitz notes that this approach is generally not suitable for small municipalities, as these projects are capital-intensive and typically require skilled staff that are often not

individual components form the building blocks of the overall solution.” However, he stresses that there are many challenges to overcome. Long environmental approval processes, vast amounts of red tape, and inconsistent enforcement of regulations are major stumbling blocks that deter investors. “We need to take our National Waste Management Strategy, look at what we’ve achieved over the last 10 years, and take an informed approach moving for ward,” he concludes.

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LOGISTICS

Using AI-based solutions to improve waste logistics

to get ahead of it, by investing the necessar y time and resources now, leveraging new technologies and digitisation for planning.”

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lthough public waste management was deemed essential and continued operating under strict lockdown regulations, traditional waste collection models struggled to adjust to the changes brought on by the pandemic. Speaking at a webinar hosted by the IWMSA – on the topic ‘Ensuring robustness of waste logistics during challenging times’ – Elias Willemse, current CTO and co-founder of Waste Labs, noted that the Covid-19 pandemic has made ever yone realise how fragile and outdated most waste management collection systems are. “In Singapore, when the pandemic hit, the traditional systems struggled to adapt to change,” he said. Willemse says the traditional approach to managing abrupt changes introduced to the current operating systems is usually a trialand-error approach, which relies heavily on the knowledge of experienced personnel, taking lessons from other municipalities who have experienced similar problems or simply hiring consultants. However, Willemse said that this method has proved ineffective. “The alternative way to deal with such problems is simply

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Digital twin Waste Labs, a Singapore-based star t-up company, uses AI and software solutions to assist cities and waste collectors to digitise and improve their waste collection operations by developing what is called a digital twin. A digital twin is a digital replica/simulation of the actual physical waste system, which is then used for the purpose of planning different scenarios, optimisation of the system and diagnostics of existing systems. “One of the scenarios we’re currently building is to see what happens if you lose your waste collection resources. What happens if you have fewer drivers? What happens if you have fewer trucks? Where will the waste star t to pile up? And then where should you prioritise the resources that you have left. “Through our platform, we can easily test these scenarios. It’s vir tual – it’s on a computer. So, you can easily take resources out of the collection system on the platform, and then see how and where the waste piles up and all the rest of the collection resources should be assigned.” The first step is collecting all the necessar y population data through GPS tracking, load cells tracking (tracking the amount of waste collected on each route), or using synthetic populations. Although the use of synthetic populations is rare, Willemse

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact, not only on the economy but also on the waste management sector. As lockdowns were imposed around the world, municipal waste operators had to rapidly adapt their waste management systems to better accommodate increased household waste and a decreased workforce. By Nombulelo Manyana

stated South Africa is a leader in this par ticular aspect.

Developing synthetic populations Discussing his ar ticle titled ‘Synthetic populations of South African urban areas’, Professor Johan Jouber t in the Centre for Transpor t Development, Depar tment of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the


LOGISTICS

University of Pretoria, said the development of these synthetic populations will help municipalities not only develop appropriate waste collection plans, but also aid in the response to an unexpected upsurge in waste due to crises, like a global pandemic. “We need these measurements to plan how waste collection will be designed and how much collection is needed in a par ticular area. Planning based on the average household model is not good enough,” he said. Jouber t and his team generated complete synthetic populations for nine major metropolitan and provincial areas, using the South African National Census. The populations are accurate at both household and individual level. The data that is generated includes: • age • income • race • gender • education • employment • dwelling type • rooms • piped water • toilet facilities. Following that, each household is associated with an actual land parcel, district municipality and to its closest road link. “These synthetic populations are used to estimate waste and then determine how much waste collection

is needed on said Jouber t.

a

par ticular

route,”

What is done with this data? According to Willemse, this is where the digital twin comes into play. Once the initial data is collected, it helps to expose any weaknesses in the current system. “The twin is then used to create detailed scenario simulations and comparisons, which will insure more effective resource planning,” he said. This includes determining which days will be reser ved as designated ser vice days, fleet design, route optimisation, calculating environmental, operational and societal costs, different waste generation rates for households, and pinpointing needed collection points.

When is this model appropriate? Willemse asser ted that this system is par ticularly appropriate to use when: • there are sudden changes: when there is a need to plan contingencies ver y quickly, like in the case of the Covid-19 pandemic •  t here are interdependencies: cost vs uncollected waste vs employee safety • in unchar ted territories: when staff

haven’t dealt with anything like this before. Willemse concluded by pointing out that although waste has lagged in digitisation, it is improving, and the pandemic has provided an oppor tunity to realise where technology can play a major role in running complex waste systems. “These planning tools can help waste collectors and planners but will not replace them. Our tools, coupled with experienced personnel, will ensure more effective waste collection systems.”

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IS THE ENVIRONMENT YOUR KEY FOCUS? Unlock your potential with the IWMSA.

We offer world-class waste management training courses; offering you insight into international, national and local best practice trends. You can only take advantage if you are a member.

By being part of a professional association, we provide our members with various benefits, by providing opportunities:

Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) is a

to network and exchange information with industry experts

multi-disciplinary non-profit association that is committed to

to debate burning issues

supporting professional waste management practices.

to have your voice heard in the formulation of legislation

for professional and business growth

We also offer our members •

access to the latest waste management technology, trends and

BECOME A MEMBER NOW!

legislation •

special rates at IWMSA seminars, conferences and workshops

special rates at our bi-annual international congress - WasteCon

free subscription to our official journal RéSource – published quarterly

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courses to upgrade and develop skills

Visit our website www.iwmsa.co.za or e-mail gail@iwmsa.co.za for more information AUGUST 2020

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ORGANIC WASTE

The Heron IVC installed at Canal Walk Shopping Centre

Canal Walk installs Earth Probiotic food waste composter Cape Town-based Canal Walk Shopping Centre, co-owned by Hyprop Investments and the Ellerine Bros, has installed a Heron IVC in-vessel food waste composter within its newly constructed waste yard.

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he installation of Earth Probiotic’s in-vessel composting machine follows closely on Canal Walk being awarded a 5 Green Star rating by the Green Building Council South Africa and demonstrates the mall’s commitment to long-term sustainable practices. The decision to install the composter (capable of handling 40 000 kg of food waste per month, while also processing non-recyclable paper, board and compostable packaging) not only enables Canal Walk to reduce waste destined for landfill, but also improves recycling rates and ensures the building is fully compliant with pending regulations that will ban organic waste to landfill in the Western Cape by 2025. “Canal Walk is one of Africa’s leading super-regional retail malls. Its dominant presence attracts diverse shoppers from an extensive portion of the Western Cape, and further afield, with its comprehensive retail and leisure options. It is therefore important that we are part of Cape Town’s commitment to sustainable practices,” says Gavin Wood, CEO, Canal Walk.

“We are also cognisant of the pending legislative changes regarding landfill dumping and believe that it is both necessar y and prudent in terms of our overall risk management strategy not to delay on such an important and critical issue,” he adds. With units installed at Sandton City, Emperors Palace and Eastgate Mall, the Canal Walk installation will be Earth Probiotic’s first installation of its mall-scale food waste composter in the Western Cape.

The Heron IVC The composting machine is data enabled and can be remotely viewed and managed via its integrated data link from anywhere in the world. This enables Earth Probiotic’s off-site technical team to monitor composting effectiveness and, if necessar y, change composting cycles and complete ‘over-the-air’ software updates whenever necessar y. “The ability to remotely manage is critical, given our variable waste cycles, allowing us to adapt to changing waste volumes and waste types controlled by knowledgeable personnel from the comfort of a smartphone. This also allows for live monitoring and extraction of reports whenever needed at the push of a button,” adds Wood. The Heron IVC is locally designed and manufactured, presenting clients with a relatively cost-contained purchase not subject to international currency and logistics volatility. As well as hedging against exchange rate fluctuations, local manufacturing, outside of the initial lockdown requirements, was not overly impacted upon by global supply chain issues.

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ELECTRONIC WASTE

E-waste can no longer be ignored What does South Africa’s current legislation say about e-waste disposal? KA According to the Waste Classification & Management Regulations, Norms & Standards for Assessment and Disposal of Waste to Landfill, published in 2013, the disposal of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) to landfill will be prohibited from 2021. We are running out of time to get this promulgated and educate industry and consumers accordingly. Figure 1 is an extract from the above.

Are landfills complying? This is a complex problem. Modern landfill sites are extremely expensive to construct and have sophisticated technology to monitor key aspects. However, if the prevailing laws that exist around landfill sites are not enforced, then we are creating a far bigger and more complex problem. When hazardous and toxic materials are dumped together, you are

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creating a deadly cocktail. Evidence would seem to indicate that poor enforcement and corruption are exacerbating the problems. The socioeconomic challenges on landfills are also problematic. In some instances, communities live on these sites and regard them as home. In addition, criminal elements are now also playing a role. The bottom line is that we need to do a better job.

Which e-waste products are classified as hazardous in SA? National Waste Information Regulations, 2012, defines e-waste as hazardous waste (HW18) unless decontaminated with all hazardous substances removed (GW18).

What is the current status of South Africa’s Extended Producer Responsibility initiative? In terms of the National Environmental Management: Waste Act (No. 59 of

South Africa’s leading electrical and electronics producers are committed to growing the circular economy, but are consumers and landfills ready? Alastair Currie speaks to Keith Anderson, CEO, eWaste Association of South Africa, about the quest to implement effective diversion and recycling strategies.

2008), the Department of Environment, Fisheries and Forestry (DEFF) has started the consultation process on the proposed Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme for the electrical and electronic equipment sector. As an industry association, eWASA is engaging with the DEFF in terms of the new proposed EPR scheme. Once called for by the DEFF, we will submit a plan for an EPR scheme and, by default, all our members will form part of that plan. The EPR regulations, once implemented, will require all producers (anyone that manufacturers, assembles, distributes any electrical or electronic device) to register with an approved PRO (producer responsibility organisation), which is what eWASA is. The scheme will have to take specific recycling targets into account. After an initial workshop in February 2020, where stakeholders could provide input into the framework

on EPR, the DEFF developed and published regulations and notices in terms of Section 18 for public comment. The envisaged timeframe for EPR implementation is September 2020. All comments were due to the department by the end of July 2020. A significant comment that we have brought to the table is the fact that Africa is a unique environment, meaning that EPR principles cannot simply be implemented on a European model. South Africa and other African countries face challenges such as unemployment, and a unique value chain where informal waste pickers work with the formal e-waste management industry to collect, dismantle, sort and recycle waste material. eWASA as an organisation strongly believes that it is time for real transformation in the waste sector, with more opportunities to create sustainable jobs and an integrated industry – from collectors


ELECTRONIC WASTE

the consumer. OEMs would only be liable for their products. The key to this process is to ensure all ‘producers’ are registered and paying their portion of the said fee and that there are no free-riders. Furthermore, we would be able to track the fees paid and what they’ve been used for, ensuring that all e-waste is treated in a responsible manner. It must be a non-negotiable that these fees are managed by industry and not go into a black hole within National Treasury.

FIGURE 1 An excerpt from the 2013 waste regulations

to recycling companies and PRO management. Part of our envisioned plan is to provide South African Qualifications Authority-accredited training at the eWASA Academy covering entrepreneurship and waste management topics. It is our view that the South African solution can easily be adaptable in other African

countries as part of their response to the circular economy.

Would an advanced recycling fee work in South Africa? We believe that it would. The benefit of such a scheme is that it is transparent for all to see – especially

Is international donor funding available for local e-waste recycling initiatives? There are some options available; however, investors, both locally and internationally, are wary of the current situation, given the stop-start and ever-changing scenario we’ve found ourselves in over the past few years in South Africa. It requires a large capex investment to establish a proper e-waste recycling

facility. Investors want the certainty of a proper legal framework, which sets out the obligations and rules of engagement. There must be a level playing field for all.

Where to from here? If we do not get the go-ahead to proceed with the proposed EPR scheme, as mentioned, we face an uncertain future with many environmental challenges that are growing daily. Judging by the engagements we have been having with the DEFF, it appears that the minister is committed to bringing this longoutstanding matter to finality. Time will tell.

Keith Anderson, CEO, eWaste Association of South Africa

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ELECTRONIC WASTE

The alternative to shredding

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rowing volumes of e-waste present a threat to the environment, as many IT assets are improperly recycled. Data erasure could provide a solution, but only if processes are implemented as part of a corporate social responsibility policy, says Bridgette Vermaak, ITAD expert, Xperien. Data erasure provides a secure and more eco-friendly solution than physically destroying equipment or informal recycling and enables devices to be refurbished and sold in a circular economy.

Environmental threat Many companies dispose of decommissioned hardware by shredding it to ensure stored data is irretrievable. However, there is often a lack of understanding of the alternatives to shredding as well as the environmental impact of physical destruction. A recent Blancco study, titled ‘Poor Sustainability Practices: Enterprises are Overlooking the E-waste Problem’, explored organisations’ approaches to data sanitisation. It found that surveyed companies collectively destroy hundreds of thousands of data storage items per year. Over a third of organisations physically destroy

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Without inter vention, the volume of e-waste produced globally is expected to more than double to 120 million tonnes per year by 2050.

non-functional or end-of-life equipment because they believe it is better for the environment. However, if sanitised correctly, end-of-life drives and computers can often have their life extended. Obsolete equipment can also be used to responsibly harvest rare earth elements, precious metals and other natural resources for use in other electronics.

Moving away from shredding The Blancco study found that only 25% of end-of-life equipment is being recycled. “This is astounding considering that the value of e-waste is about US$62.5 billion (R1.1 trillion) per year,” says Vermaak. According to the World Economic Forum and the UN E-waste Coalition, there is more gold in a tonne of mobile phones than in a tonne of gold ore. Erasing and then reallocating devices within companies maximises value from IT purchases. Older electronics can be erased, refurbished and reused without carrying forward any residual data. They can be sold, reused internally or donated to charities. Components can also be recaptured for use in future electronics. Whatever option one considers, it is critical to ensure data is erased properly so that data security and privacy are never compromised.

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INDUSTRIAL SYMBIOSIS

Symbiosis saves money and resources

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etja Pallet Supplier, a pallet recycling company, and Niravkumar Motor Spares, which specialises in the sale of new and secondhand motor spares, met at a Limpopo Industrial Symbiosis Programme Workshop in April 2019. Niravkumar Motor Spares required wooden pallets when transporting spares and for conservative storing of spares on-site. This resulted in tonnes of broken wooden pallets generated and, in some cases, even contaminated depending on the nature, type and use of the spares. All these pallets were being disposed of at landfill and contaminating the ground and atmosphere.

Closed-cycle pallet recycling process

A subset of industrial ecology, industrial symbiosis describes how a network of diverse organisations can foster ecoinnovation and longterm culture change, create and share mutually profitable transactions – and improve business and technical processes.

TABLE 1 Waste reduction and savings

Resource

Summary of intervention

Landfill diversion

GHG emission reduction (CO2/year)

Virgin resource reduction

Savings (ZAR/year)

Wooden pallets

Metja collects waste wooden pallets from Niravkumar to recycle and resell them to a database of clients

12 tonnes

4 tonnes C02 per year

12 tonnes

R9 000

Furthermore, the company did not have a system partnership between Metja Pallet Supplier and in place to record waste generation and therefore Niravkumar Motor Spares, resulting in significant could not quantify the extent of its ground and savings and diversion from landfill, as shown in Table 1. environmental pollution. The partnership also resulted in the improvement Through industrial symbiosis facilitation and guidance, Metja Pallet Supplier approached of workplace safety for motor spares employees, Niravkumar Motor Spares and proposed a and the synergy has helped create one permanent waste management solution for these wooden and two casual jobs. If you too would like to enter into a symbiotic pallets. Metja Pallet Supplier now collects the wooden pallets, sorts them according to partnership, contact the NCPCquality, and fixes those that are broken. SA, which runs industrial programmes This has resulted in the motor spares symbiosis Gauteng, Limpopo, implementing a waste record system in to keep track of waste generation, Mpumalanga and KwaZulumanagement and disposal costs. In Natal. If you have waste you turn, Metja Pallets resells the fixed would like to register or want pallets back to the motor spares to partner with a company that can use the waste, visit company at a cheaper price. According to Annah Mothapo, Industrial www.ncpc.co.za. Symbiosis Practitioner, National Cleaner Production Centre South Africa (NCPC-SA), after recording the company’s waste and how it could be used, NCPCAnnah Mothapo, Industrial Symbiosis Practitioner, NCPC-SA SA facilitated the

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MINE WASTE

Dry tailings The collapse of a tailings dam at Vale’s Córrego do Feijão mine in Brazil in early 2019, which left 270 people dead, highlights the vital impor tance of good mine waste management. Dr y tailings, a newer alternative to traditional wet tailings storage, offer many advantages. By Danielle Petterson

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ailings are a major aspect of any mining operation. Between 4.5 and 5.5 billion tonnes of tailings waste is produced per annum from primar y production processes in the copper and iron ore industries alone. Wet tailings are associated with major liability and environmental risks. In fact, Anglo American has long identified tailings dam failure as one of the group’s principal risks. While regulations and compliance are generally quite good in South Africa, Stephen Rose, advisor y group director: Industr y, Royal HaskoningDHV, notes that mining companies must still prepare for and mitigate three categories of risk: •  systemic risks, which relate to the way you operate

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• climate risks, such as flooding and other extreme weather events •  quality risks, relating to competency (in design and maintenance) and emergency preparedness. Rose believes climate risks are among the most pressing, as around 42% of tailings dam failures globally since 2012 have been related to climate issues such as exceptionally high rainfall. However, the Brazil disaster and others have created a higher level of awareness around tailings storage facility standards, both within the mining fraternity and the general public. As a result, several organisations are exploring global best practice standards. “We are moving in the right direction. There is a new set of global tailings storage facility standards

coming, which I think will be prescriptive,” says Rose.

Dry tailings Wet tailings are the slurr y resulting from the mining process after the target product has been extracted. The slurr y is typically pumped to a tailings storage facility, where some of the water in the tailings feed will be recovered, but most will be left to evaporate. To produce dr y tailings, several steps must be added, including thickening and dewatering (generally through filtration). The typical result is a tailings cake with a moisture content of less than 18% that can no longer be pumped. This cake can be conveyed or trucked to an impoundment facility that replaces the traditional tailings dam.


MINE WASTE

Pros and cons Adopting a dr y tailings approach mitigates the risk of catastrophic dam failure, especially in seismic areas. In addition, Rose notes that one of the biggest benefits is the opportunity for water reuse. Some mines are able to achieve water recover y upwards of 90% – water that would typically have been evaporated on a tailings dam. This is especially useful in water-scarce areas. Another benefit is a smaller footprint. Typically, around 95% of what is mined goes to a tailings storage facility, meaning tailings dams require vast amounts of space. Facilities that adopt dr y tailings procedures are also easier to close and rehabilitate because they are smaller, and the tailings are easier to reconstitute. On the downside, the dr y tailings process is more expensive due to higher capital and operating costs. However, Rose stresses that it is always dependent on the context. For example, in instances where tailings need to be pumped over a long distance, dr y tailings may be more cost-effective. Some sites may also require additional infrastructure, such as

stormwater drainage, to keep the tailings storage facilities dr y. In ver y wet environments, it could create a management problem around haulage and compaction. Dust generation can also make it unattractive for mines with surrounding areas of high habitation. “At the moment, it is economical for smaller mines – operations of 20 000 to 30 000 tonnes per day. That is fundamentally because of the size of the filtration plant. However, we are seeing new technology with higher efficiency being brought into the market ever y day, which increases the attractiveness of the dr y tailings solution,” says Rose. “When it comes to the pros and cons, one size doesn’t fit all – it is purely context dependent.”

Current adoption Globally, 5% to 8% of mines use a dr y stacking process. This is expected to increase as water scarcity becomes a greater concern. It is often adopted in colder climates, such as Canada and Alaska, but closer to home, Eskom presents a good example. “It is a good option for most mines. It may not be the

most capital-efficient way of doing it, but it certainly reduces your water footprint, which is absolutely a good thing. We’ve even seen Anglo American publicly state that its long-term goal is to move towards dr y tailings worldwide, with an eventual goal of reusing over 80% of the water from operations – that’s huge,” says Rose. Encouragingly, he notes that feasibility studies are now exploring options such as dr y tailings rather than only the traditional process flow. This is largely enabled through tools such as global benchmarks and equipment prices reaching parity. Rose concludes: “In almost ever y case, we now conduct trade-off studies to determine the most economically viable option, the best technical option, and the solution that best meets the sustainability needs of the mine and surrounding communities. This provides the opportunity to select the best-fit option for the mine, in its specific operating environment, while staying true to the principles of good environmental practice, longevity and value creation.”

Specialist Waste Management Consultants • • • • • •

Waste Collection Optimisation Waste Transfer Station design General Waste Landfill design Hazardous Waste Landfill design Landfill Rehabilitation Landfill Auditing and Monitoring

Contact Numbers

Telephone:+27 (0)21 982 6570 Fax:+27 (0)21 981 0868

• • • • • •

Landfill Closure Leachate Treatment Regional Waste Studies PPP Involvement in Waste Management Alternative Technologies for Waste Reduction Integrated Waste Management Plans

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P.O. Box 931, Brackenfell South Africa, 7561

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MEDICAL WASTE

Handling medical waste

DURING A PANDEMIC The Covid-19 pandemic has seen an unprecedented increase in medical and hazardous waste generation. To protect human health and the environment, it is impor tant to ensure the safe handling and disposal of such waste. By Nombulelo Manyana

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edical waste companies have thus had to adjust their normal operating procedures to better handle the increased volume and ensure proper disposal of coronavirus medical waste. Thashnee Budram, GM: Healthcare at Averda Waste Management, says Averda has had to ramp up collection and prioritise isolated Covid-19 waste collection. “We respond quite quickly on collection to safeguard staff, waste generators and the public. This includes now operating during weekends to ensure we reach all clients and we have recently started offering evening collection services for facilities that can accommodate us after hours,” says Budram. Budram adds that Averda adheres to strict protocols as per the guidelines issued by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD). This includes temperature checks, contact tracing, social distancing and sanitising. Samantha Immelman, national sales manager at Compass Medical Waste, echoes the same sentiments as Averda, adding that revised operational procedures have allowed for a seamless adjustment when dealing with the increased waste collection, treatment and disposal requirements. “We own and operate our own fleet of vehicles and are therefore able to assist our customers by

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providing additional collections, outside of normal service, for their Covid-19 waste. The operating hours of our treatment plants have also been extended to manage the increase in waste, thereby ensuring Covid-19 waste is treated promptly and within our licence timeframes and conditions,” says Immelman. Immelman goes on to say that Compass’s contingency plan is such that the challenges brought about by the pandemic have not had any adverse impact on the company’s daily operations and customer service. “Throughout our supply chain management, we have had the ability and flexibility to continue to provide our customers with their additional stock requirements and collections with minimal disruption.” Compass Medical Waste has been providing medical waste solutions throughout South Africa for well over 20 years.

Is SA equipped to deal with high-risk medical waste? Budram explains that South Africa already has an established hazardous waste management system in place, which is compliant with global standards and has had its competence tested by previous outbreaks of other viruses. Hospitals have also consulted with waste management

experts to ensure that their internal standard operating procedures (SOPs) are up to date and applicable to the risk at hand. Immelman points out that although Covid-19 is ‘new’, as with other viral outbreaks, extreme measures are taken to ensure safe handling and disposal. And since Compass has been dealing with FED (formidable epidemic disease) waste since the inception of the business, the company’s processes and procedures have merely been extended to include the correct handling of Covid-19 waste. Compass owns and operates autoclaves – an environmentally friendly alternative to treating medical waste – in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. With seven autoclaves in operation, with the capacity to treat more than 3 000 tonnes per month nationally, they are able to meet, treat and dispose of Covid-19 medical waste timeously. In the case of Averda, this kind of high-risk waste is packaged in multiple layers of thick plastic and boxes and sterilised twice during the process. Assigned vehicles then transport the waste to one of eight hazardous waste sites around the country. Averda is currently carrying out all the incineration for quarantine sites around South Africa. Its healthcare incinerator in Klerksdorp has the capacity to incinerate up to 28 tonnes of waste per


MEDICAL WASTE High-pressure autoclave sterilisation systems with high-volume processing capacities of up to 3 000 tonnes

Specialist Averda high-risk medical waste staff in full PPE to receive Covid-19 contaminated waste

day – more than twice that of other incineration facilities in the country. Averda also has two incinerators, which were initially used to treat the Covid-19 waste stream. Coupling this with recent modifications made at the high-tech non-burn electrothermal deactivation facilities in City Deep, Johannesburg, and Killarney Gardens, Cape Town, has created sufficient capacity to ensure the safe destruction of Covid-19 waste. The company’s vehicles are tracked by GPS as they travel to the incinerator site and are not permitted to stop en route. The receiving team is notified of a vehicle’s arrival in advance and incinerator staff clear the loading bay of people. Only a small number of specialist staff stay on hand, in full personal protective equipment (PPE) suits, to unlock and offload the cargo, which is immediately incinerated. The process that Averda has established at the Klerksdorp site for dealing with such cases is based on the company’s previously established standards in preparation for Ebola and Congo fever. Averda was also responsible for the incineration of the majority of waste relating to the listeriosis outbreak of 2018. “We have handled waste like this on numerous occasions, with the same SOPs as we are using for Covid-19. We are in communication with the Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Affairs and we report to them on a monthly basis, offering advice and training if and when they are setting up new quarantine sites,” says Budram. While hospitals are already equipped and their staff trained to deal with the realities of handling high-risk medical waste, other sites such as hotels and airports need to use appropriate waste management practices and services as they are pressed into service. However, Budrum is clear that South Africa has both the expertise and disposal facilities required.

Staff safety “From a health and safety perspective, we do daily toolbox talks with our staff to ensure safety

and Covid-19 protocol is prioritised. All staff hospitals started with elective surgeries again in are equipped with PPE and SOPs are followed Level 3, we saw tonnages picking up and directly to ensure the safe handling of Covid-19 waste impacting our revenue streams,” adds Budram. collection and transportation,” says Budram. Innovation and digitalisation Averda has also set out detailed guidelines to all its clients on how Covid-19 waste should be Innovation and technology have taken a front seat for many industries. Beyond just using it for social packaged prior to the arrival of the teams to collect media, technology is also being used to reduce the waste. “The drivers and assistance are rather diligent; the spread of the virus by tracing infections and disseminating information to the masses. when the Covid-19 waste is not packaged as Compass Medical Waste owns and operates its own fleet per the guidelines set of vehicles out, the protocol is to leave the waste stream at the waste generator until packaged correctly, upon which we will then retrieve.” Immelman adds that in addition to the toolbox talks, Compass has also increased training via its Safety, Health, Environment and Quality Department. Averda implemented a driver management system, “Our HR team engages constantly with our which is a networked digital device that allows employees, providing education, tips, suggestions, its drivers and assistants to log fuel, mileage etc. on keeping safe and how to deal with and pickups in real time, offering tracking and Covid-19,” says Immelman. traceability during transportation of the waste streams. This also assisted with minimising the Financial challenges touch points on manual documents, which aided Immelman says that the additional waste needing with a reduction in the spread of coronavirus. to be collected and treated has increased Phase 2 of the implementation of this system operational costs, due to additional collections, will allow for seamless integration into the PPE requirements and extra packaging needed. financial module, enabling seamless billing once “The major challenge is the high volume without the waste has been treated – eliminating the a corresponding increase in weights of this waste. physical element of handling documentation. This This has impacted our business, particularly in will also ensure billing accuracy. respect of our distribution department, in that less Phase 2 will offer functionalities like quotations, light waste is being collected and transported at ordering of consumables or service collection, the same cost levels.” transportation, destruction and invoicing. Moreover, Immelman says providing additional Immelman concludes, “Taking into PPE to distribution and treatment teams that are consideration the need for remote working, handling the Covid-19 waste directly has also come Compass’s customised and well-established at an unexpected cost. online customer portal allows for customers to “At Averda, we certainly did see a downward turn access all the information they require remotely on our revenue during Level 5 lockdown. When the and conveniently.” AUGUST 2020

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The central atrium along the north-south axis interlinks the two office towers

GREEN BUILDINGS

An iconic green development The iconic 144 Oxford Road office development in Rosebank, Johannesburg, is aiming for a 5-Star Green Star Design Cer tification from the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA).

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eveloper Growthpoint Properties appointed Zutari (previously Aurecon) in 2017 for the 35 000 m² premium-grade office development, completed at the end of 2019, which aims to capitalise on the demand for office space in the popular precinct. Zutari worked closely with Growthpoint Properties, Paragon Group as architect, and the professional team through the various iterations of the building’s design to ensure that the mechanical services and sustainability objectives were aligned seamlessly with the ultimate design. A facilities manager was actively involved during the design phase to ensure that the operational intent of the sustainability initiatives was implemented effectively following the commissioning of the building services.

Sustainability features The main façade consists of double-glazed unitised façades, incorporating a dark grey glass. The outermost façade of the northern building features a secondary offset glazed ‘skin’ with raking sides. The high-performance glazing used on the project had to be factored into the cooling load, explains Brandon Huddle, technical director, Zutari. The glazing has been coated and baked with a variety of chemicals to reflect heat. This means that, while it allows natural light to enter, heat wavelengths are reflected out of the building. One of the key sustainability features of this project is the air-conditioning system

The total cooling load is 32 MW, serving 17 AHUs that cater to different thermal zones

based on four 800 kW CIAT chillers. The total cooling provided for is 3.2 MW, serving 17 air-handling units (AHUs) that cater for the different thermal zones in the building. Each AHU handles roughly 12 m3 to 18 m3 of air, which makes for a highly cost-effective design. Each AHU is fitted with an intelligent control valve with a built-in energy meter, so that the precise R/kWh can be calculated. The CIAT chillers have variable-speed condenser fans for increased energy efficiency, supplying can be accessed via an app water at 6˚C, which is returned from the building in order to determine energy at 12˚C. consumption, flow rate, and The AHUs also have dampers that can shut valve positioning. In addition, off the return air flow if the external ambient there is BMS-addressable energyconditions are below that of the return air efficient lighting throughout, watertemperature, which typically provides the saving sanitary fittings, a rainwater maximum benefit between 12˚C to 18˚C. This harvesting system, extensive glazing allows for natural cooling of the building, taking to maximise external views and natural advantage of the ideal Johannesburg climate, lighting, and water-efficient landscaping. especially in winter, spring, autumn, and cool “A visionar y client, a strong summer mornings. professional team, and commitment As long as the external temperature is lower to best sustainability practices led to than the temperature of the return-flow air, the a landmark development that will offer air-con system operates in economy mode. The additional green prime office space entire HVAC system, in turn, is integrated with in Gauteng,” concludes Yovka Raytchevathe building management system (BMS), which Schaap, associate, Zutari. schedules the air-con system to operate from 05:00 to 19:00 as determined by The nine-storey 144 Oxford Road office development for Growthpoint Properties the landlord. The roof-level AHUs are covered in order to protect the ducting from solar heat gain, which saves additional costs such as additional insulation and cladding. “If you add up all of these extra costs and the operational benefit, it is well worth the investment. An added benefit is that it facilitates any maintenance needed to be carried out by technicians,” Huddle points out. Another first for the project was the use of Siemens intelligent valves, which

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M AT E R I A L S R E C O V E RY FA C I L I T I E S

Innovative construction solution for Coastal Park The City of Cape Town’s Solid Waste Management Depar tment identified the need for another materials recover y facility (MRF) to ser vice the South Peninsula area in the early 2010s, following the success of the Kraaifontein MRF. By Byron Mawer, Richard Emery, Jan Norris, Mncedisi Mbopa and Margot Ladouce*

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ecyclable waste in Cape Town can form between 20% and 30% of the waste stream by volume. Successful diversion to an MRF can result in a landfill airspace saving of close to the same percentage. Not only does this extend the landfill operating life, making waste disposal more economical, but it also promotes sustainable reuse of recyclable waste products in the waste economy. JG Afrika was appointed in late 2017 to plan, design and manage the construction of the Coastal Park MRF, in three separate construction contracts. A clean MRF, such Coastal Park, accepts clean, recyclable materials that have already been separated at source from municipal solid waste (MSW) generated by either residential or commercial sources. In Cape Town, the Think Twice Campaign has been progressively rolled out in select suburbs, where residents are requested to separate their recyclable waste.

Coastal Park site The City of Cape Town (CoCT) obtained a waste management licence to construct and operate an integrated waste management facility (IWMF) at the southern portion of the existing Coastal Park Landfill site. The IWMF will include a refuse transfer station (RTS), an MRF, a greens chipping facility, and a public waste drop-off. A key element of the IWMF is the inclusion of an informal waste management area, where the informal waste industry such as landfill waste salvagers would be provided access to certain waste

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streams, and allow areas for sorting, storage and distribution. A balance was struck between mechanical and labour-based interventions and, based on the current design, the MRF has the potential to create up to 400 permanent jobs, with additional downstream jobs for the delivery and collection of waste. These jobs are all aimed at unskilled workers, including waste salvagers, sorters and delivery drivers. Constructing the IWMF on the Coastal Park Landfill site provides numerous advantages, including: • Existing waste collection and disposal routes could remain unchanged, as all waste would continue to be delivered to Coastal Park, even after the landfill’s closure scheduled for late 2023. This gives certainty on costs for the future, as routes remain unchanged. • It is in close proximity to the local informal waste sector, which is already established in the area due to the presence of the landfill. • It could make use of existing municipal-owned land, already designated as unusable for other developments due to the site being a landfill. •  The site has established solid waste management operations, including operations staff, weighbridges, and administration offices.

Design challenges Designing industrial-scale buildings, including mechanical plant installations and roadways for heavy vehicular loading, in a constrained site over an existing waste body, was a unique challenge for the design team. Approximately 60% to 70% of the site was underlain by a 5 m to 6 m thick

MSW deposit. Not only is MSW not a well understood geotechnical material, the waste deposit is highly variable by nature over the entire development area. The threat of not only differential settlements but also long-term mechanical breakdown of the organic content of the waste body posed longterm settlement risks to any infrastructure built within or upon it. The generation of landfill gases such as methane also poses a fire and explosion risk throughout the infrastructure’s life cycle unless managed. A separate challenge was the presence of large builder’s rubble stockpiles overlying more than 40% of the site area. The stockpiles consisted of variable construction waste, including large rocks, concrete, and building materials within a soil matrix. The stockpiles were approximately 450 000 m3 to 550 000 m3 and 20 m high in magnitude and, due to existing space constraints on the site, there was no alternative area on the site where the stockpiles could be moved to in order to clear the site for construction. In addition, the stockpiles could not be moved to another landfill site without incurring significant additional costs. Existing electrical supply to the site was also limited to that required to run the administrative offices and weighbridges, and an upgrade would be required in order to power the MRF facility, as well as the future RTS installation. In addition, the client tasked the team with designing a facility that would mitigate the effects of loadshedding and power outages as much as would be feasible. With the nearest substation 1.5 km away, alternative thinking was required to minimise the costs of the additional infrastructure required, as well as provide a reliable power source to run the operating plant in a sustainable way.

Foundation design The geotechnical engineers immediately ruled out supporting any of the main structures directly on a stiffened waste body. Any conventional foundations would need to be founded on the underlying unconsolidated aeolian and beach sand deposits. However, these would not only be under the water table, but the OH&S risk


M AT E R I A L S R E C O V E RY FA C I L I T I E S

of trenching 5 m through municipal solid waste material was not an acceptable solution. It was decided to support the building structure using single

Bulk earthworks contract close to completion

TABLE 1 Improvements in MSW due to dynamic compaction (adapted from Zekkos et al. (2013))

Improvement in:

Level of Improvement:

Depth of improvement (D)

4.0 m – 9.0 m

Induced immediate settlement (δ)

5% – 30%

Increase in stiffness (Fs)

2.8 – 24 x

Note: Improvements realised for applied energy of between 150 t/m/m2 and 300 t/m/m2 600 mm diameter Franki piles in each footing position, as part of a piled foundation solution. However, this did not solve the problem of supporting heavy vehicle traffic, ancillary structures, and services. After researching possible solutions, it was found that success has been achieved around the world in densifying and stiffening MSW deposits in preparation for construction using a dynamic compaction ground improvement technique. Based on a study by Zekkos et al. (2013), among others, the performance of dynamic compaction in improving the in situ properties of MSW was assessed across 56 MSW sites in the USA, EU and Asia. The study ascertained that depending on the amount of applied energy during treatment, improvements in MSW properties could be realised as summarised in Table 1. Along with the resultant increase in stiffness, the study also recorded improvements in the bearing capacity of MSW bodies of

up to 10 times in supporting permanent structural loading. The treatment was supported by the CoCT, and the dynamic compaction was included in the bulk earthworks contract in order to improve the engineering properties of the waste material (see Figure 1). All MSW sites are unique, and a trial compaction process was required in order

to assess the level of energy needed in order to achieve a particular stiffness or bearing capacity. This is assessed through trial and error on-site during the preparation for the dynamic compaction treatment. JG Afrika prepared a performance specification for the dynamic compaction, which required the appointed contractor (JVZ/SR Civils JV, using Franki as a specialist subcontractor) to achieve a bearing capacity across the entire site of 150 kPa, with a stiffness modulus (E-modulus) of at least 35 MPa to be verified post compaction by plate load test, and continuous surface wave testing. The dynamic compaction contractor was able to ascertain the energy requirements required to meet the design specification, with the

FIGURE 1 Dynamic compaction under way at the Coastal Park Landfill site


M AT E R I A L S R E C O V E RY FA C I L I T I E S

per formance specification having been met by the contractor to date. Due to the variability of the waste, the dynamically compacted waste is not relied upon alone, with the ear thworks design including a 500 mm engineered fill cap over the compacted waste, as well as a single layer of high-strength geogrid to help distribute loading across the platform and help mitigate any differential settlements. This is followed by the road or platform subbase and base course.

Beneficiating rubble stockpiles Aligned with the principles of reuse, the large rubble stockpiles on-site were beneficiated into a product that could be used in construction. This was achieved by specifying that the builder’s rubble be crushed, screened and processed into an engineered fill product and

FIGURE 2 Crushing and screening of rubble stockpile at Coastal Park Landfill

used in the layer works and bulk ear thworks. A quality study was conducted, which found that, by carefully selecting and prioritising cer tain areas of the stockpile, up to a G5 quality material could be produced. Beneficiated processed rubble was also used to cap the existing landfill embankments. A total of 81% of the available rubble material is projected to be used on the site itself, leaving a stockpile only 19% of the original size to be used as capping material as and when required (see Figure 3).

This approach saved the CoCT millions of rand in transpor t costs and in procuring material from traditional commercial sources.

Landfill gas management Landfill gas has been actively extracted from the Coastal Park Landfill since March 2018 and is currently flared on the southern portion of the site. As part of a separate project, a gas-toenergy turbine is being planned. By planning for a dedicated electrical switchgear as part of the MRF electrical substation, the MRF (and later the RTS) will receive preferential supply of the electricity produced from the gas turbine, allowing the facility’s mechanical equipment, lights and HVAC systems to be powered predominantly by landfill gas. Any surplus energy will feed back into the grid. During load-shedding, the facility will be able to partially or fully run based on the electrical supply available from the gas turbine. In order to ensure that landfill gas does not build up, an innovative gas vent system has been designed that incorporates drilling relief wells across the site, allowing a preferential path for gas release. The wells are linked by a collection pipe just beneath the surface of the dynamically compacted waste, which leads to a typical ‘whirly bird’ extraction fan. There is also an option to extend this to the gas collection system, should the gas yield be strong enough to warrant it.

Conclusion

FIGURE 3 Projected use of processed rubble in construction (by volume)

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The CoCT has identified the stimulation of the recycling and waste industries as a key part of a sustainable economy, and the construction of the Coastal Park MRF is a key statement of this intent. Any design for such a facility would


M AT E R I A L S R E C O V E RY FA C I L I T I E S

need to reflect these principles, and JG Afrika was able to produce innovative and sustainable solutions to this unique and interesting engineering challenge. This project is due for completion in late 2023.

*Byron Mawer is an engineer, Richard Emery an executive associate and Jan Norris a director at JG Afrika. Mncedisi Mbopa is a senior professional officer and Margot Ladouce the manager: Disposal Solid Waste at the City of Cape Town. Reference: Zekkos, D; Kabalan, M; Flanagan, M. (2013). Lessons Learned from Case Histories of Dynamic Compaction at Municipal Solid Waste Sites. Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, Vol. 139, No. 5, May 1, 2013. ©ASCE, ISSN 1090-0241/2013/5-738–751

Position of the waste body and rubble stockpiles on-site


B I O R E M E D I AT I O N

Microbes – also called microorganisms – have provided a fer tile field for both scientific exploration and practical application for decades, and are key par tners in progress being made locally in bioremediation. By Michelle Pienaar and Sathisha Barath

T

hese miraculous, micron-sized creatures are so plentiful and diverse that it is estimated only a tiny fraction have been cultured and identified by scientists. Even so, the varieties catalogued already outnumber the diversity of species of other living organisms put together.1 Among the most useful applications of some microbes has been their ability to break down harmful industrial chemicals such as chlorinated hydrocarbons (CHCs). This is a group of chemicals including solvents, degreasers, tars and heavy fuel oils. These CHCs are also classed in the category of dense non-aqueous phase liquids (DNAPLs), which are highly recalcitrant and difficult to treat. They differ from light non-aqueous phase

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Bioremediation strides a boon for SA groundwater liquids (LNAPLs) like petroleum insofar as they are heavier relative to water, so they sink rather than float.

The DNAPL challenge

various substrate forms – for example, vegetable oil in an emulsified form.

Innovating in situ solutions

Treating DNAPL-impacted land brings a range of Several chemical carcinogens are known special challenges, as these contaminants are DNAPLs and render them of particular concern denser than water and migrate deep into soil as a potential groundwater contaminant. This and rock under their own weight. They are also group of chemicals is currently being treated able to move through any gap or fracture that successfully by bioremediation technologies is larger than one-hundredth of the thickness in South Africa. This is made possible by a of a human hair. Once it has permeated rock group of microbes that ‘breathe’ chloride – layers underground, of course, it then becomes rather like humans breathe oxygen. Essentially impractical to remove mechanically. It must be living off the pollution, this microbial species treated where it is. This is why in situ remediation can be encouraged or enhanced to degrade technologies have become so crucial and hold the chlorinated hydrocarbon it encounters by such valuable potential for conserving our providing it with substrates – either vegetable or environment and scarce water resources. Nearemulsified oil – as a food source. surface soil contamination may present an The bioremediation process involves using the microbes that are present in the contaminated area and enhancing them in situ to boost their ability to degrade the CHCs in the groundwater. The microbial life is already adapted to its host geology and geochemistry. This in Satisha Barath, Michelle Pienaar, situ bioremediation (EISB) senior hydrogeologist, principal hydrogeologist and enhances the microbial SRK Consulting contaminated land scientist, SRK Consulting mass by introducing


B I O R E M E D I AT I O N option for ‘ex situ’ remediation, where material can be economically excavated for treatment elsewhere – either off-site or stockpiled at another position on the same site. Where DNAPL impacts bedrock, though, an in situ solution is required. The source area, such as a workshop, is the point where solvents may have been disposed of in a sump or drain over a long period of time – usually over decades. An important factor to note is the concentration of DNAPL within close proximity to the source, which may be too high for the microbes to effectively function. The conventional wisdom previously was in fact that DNAPL concentrations at source would be too high for bioremedial treatment. A parallel treatment method or treatment train approach may then be required to lower the source concentrations. Alternatively, the plume can be targeted, as it is usually assumed that plumes have lower concentrations than the source. However, we have encountered plumes with concentrations almost at source level – at a site involving chlorinated ethenes and at a site with chlorinated ethanes. With our only option being to treat very close to the source, we were still able to effectively establish a bioremediation system in extremely high concentrations of over 1 mg/litre.

A four-part series South Africa is seeing valuable innovations in the use of bioremediation to treat industrial sites impacted by chlorinated hydrocarbons such as solvents. This groundbreaking work is particularly urgent as the country makes more use of groundwater resources – a receptor that is vulnerable to contamination from surface sources of pollution. In this four-part series, SRK Consulting discusses the current advances it is making locally and how these will benefit efforts to clean up legacy impacts in the subsurface and protect the environment. Part One provides an overview of why enhanced in situ bioremediation (EISB) is an effective option for degrading chlorinated hydrocarbons. It will be followed in subsequent editions with a second article on the use of emulsified vegetable oil as substrate for EISB, and a third piece on the practical implementation of the EISB technology in two case studies. The fourth and final article will focus on monitoring the EISB system and identifying key goals to evaluate its success. A schematic illustration of a biobarrier configuration for EISB treatment. The circles indicate the injection points of the emulsified vegetable oil used to create the bioreactive zone, but the circles overlap as their radius of influence at each injection point affects the neighbouring borehole, so that the treatment area is targeted and creates a permeable ‘curtain’ for groundwater to move through

Clear characterisation Using global guidelines as a starting point, it is vital to characterise the site accurately and in detail to find the most effective strategy for treatment. Plume interception involves the drilling of boreholes into an area between the source and the receptor to create a bioreactive treatment area – or bio-barrier. As the groundwater moves through the rock and soil in this zone, the microbes will start breaking down the DNAPL contaminants into less harmful end products. The characterisation therefore needs to consider the source and the groundwater flow and movement down gradient. This is significant because plume treatment is often actually more feasible as a solution than direct source treatment to address the risks. Such characterisation is complex, and must include aspects related to microbes, geology, hydrogeology and chemistry – to understand the bioremediation environment as a living system.

Young technology It is worth remembering that the application of bioremediation to DNAPL-impacted areas only began in the late 1970s, DNAPL when experimentation started in pooling at the base the US. While this represents of the vial, perhaps four decades of showing that scientific attention, the field is the oil phase is denser arguably still relatively young. than water and will sink

In South Africa, large sites of DNAPL impact started to be identified and characterised in the late 1990s, with SRK being involved from the start with a number of these. At that stage, foreign experts and toxicologists were engaged, sharing important expertise on which local professionals could build. Since the early 2000s, several large sites in South Africa have been investigated and considerable information gathered on DNAPL sources and plumes. This has contributed to a growing knowledge base and awareness in the industry that can be drawn upon locally.

References: 1 Source 1 – Harvard Magazine: “Life on Earth, Woese’s model showed, is overwhelmingly microbial. In fact, the extent of microbial diversity is so great that scientists have difficulties estimating its actual size. Some estimates place the number of microbial species in the range of billions, exceeding the number of species of “large” organisms by several orders of magnitude.” https://www.harvardmagazine. com/2007/11/the-undiscovered-planet.html Source 2 – New York Times: https://www. nytimes.com/1996/10/15/science/ear ths-dominant-life-form-is-also-its-smallest-themicrobe.html

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S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y | O P I N I O N

Recycling is not a waste solution When it comes to waste management, we need a greater focus on the waste hierarchy: first reduce, then reuse, and only then recycle. By Gavin Heron*

C&R2020_resource_210x148.5mm_P.pdf

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1

W

hile at a Pikitup seminar last year, a debate arose between a trolley-preneur and a member of the DA’s mayoral committee at the time. The issue was quite simple: the waste collector saw Pikitup’s household separation programme as a threat to his and his colleagues’ business, while Pikitup’s view was that plastic waste would now be easier to collect (nothing precluded this from happening). And in reality, only 8% of all plastic waste in Johannesburg was recycled anyway – so there was plenty for all. What was interesting for me was that, after all these years, we recycle very little. And now, during the Covid-19 crisis, nothing at all. Additionally, our recycling facilities can’t handle the recyclables we throw out, which is why China closing its doors to waste was such a crisis. And where we have good recycling facilities, they can’t handle all recyclables (hence Woolworths’ ‘not currently widely recycled’ icon on much of its plastic packaging).

2020/08/19

20:36

Producer responsibility Manufacturers, not consumers, need to develop minimisation or reuse strategies for their packaging and products. An amendment to the Waste Act (No. 59 of 2008), which extends producer responsibility for their waste, is currently on the table and is nearing the end of its consultation phase. Walmart, the global retail behemoth, has an active programme to help suppliers reduce packaging waste. Other large FMCG players are participating in the Loop programme to develop reusable packaging. My pet hate is the Nespresso pod. A recent analysis indicated that if Nespresso’s recycling programme was working to plan, 12 600 tonnes of pods would still end up in landfill every year. Some experts estimate that only 5% of these pods are actually recycled. Recycling needs to be seen as the last resort for waste. Just because something is recyclable doesn’t mean that it is recycled. This is why the waste hierarchy starts at reduce, then goes to reuse and only then to recycle. *Gavin Heron is the co-founder of Earth Probiotic.


CLEAN-UPS

ECO HEROES

wear masks

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his year’s Clean-Up & Recycle SA Week is scheduled to take place from 14 to 19 September 2020, culminating in National Recycling Day on Friday 18 September and the International Coastal Clean-Up Day/ Let’s Do It World Clean-up Day on Saturday 19 September 2020. “Unfortunately, early indications are that the Covid-19 pandemic will be forcing a change in our plans to host our annual beach and community clean-ups,” says Douw Steyn, director: Sustainability, Plastics|SA. He says South Africa finds itself in the same uncertain situation as countries around the world. Large public gatherings are prohibited, and beaches are closed to prevent the spread of the disease. “The International Coastal Clean-up Day is the world’s biggest volunteer effort for ocean health. Over the past 24 years that South Africa has been participating in this global event, we have seen tens of thousands of people give up two hours of their time to help rid our beaches of litter. This year, however, we will be supporting the global call to avoid large group gatherings and maintain social distancing in the interest of everybody’s health and safety,” Steyn says.

Calling all citizens Instead of flocking to beaches or gathering in groups for clean-ups, Plastics|SA is spreading the message that, this year, every South African should be an eco-warrior… one who wears a mask, maintains social distancing, and makes a difference in their immediate area. In the same way the health pandemic has forced individuals

to take responsibility for their health, the plastics and packaging industries are uniting their voices in calling on South Africans to also become responsible citizens when it comes to waste disposal. “Plastics|SA believes it is possible for us to turn the tide on ocean pollution if every person becomes conscious of their immediate surroundings and picks up the visible litter around their homes and neighbourhoods,” Steyn continues. “It is vital to recycle as much of our country’s waste as possible in order to reduce the strain on our country’s landfill sites.” Reusing and recycling plastic products reduces the material’s environmental footprint, as it uses less water, energy and other raw materials to create new products. In addition, more than 60 000 people are employed by the plastics manufacturing and recycling industries, making a meaningful contribution to the country’s economy. “Nature looks after us, and it is up to each of us to look after nature in return. During the first weeks of the pandemic, we saw first-hand how quickly the environment healed and restored itself when careless human behaviour was removed from the equation,” adds Steyn. “It is time we realise that every piece of trash that falls from somebody’s hand eventually finds its way into a stream or river and is then carried into our oceans. The issue of plastics in the environment is a human behaviour problem, and the solution therefore also lies with changing human behaviour. Even the smallest act by one individual can end up making a huge difference!” he concludes.

Ever y September, the local plastics industr y welcomes the arrival of Spring by encouraging ever yone to come together to combat litter. Covid-19 calls for a fresh approach to eradicating plastics and other litter from South Africa’s neighbourhoods, watercourses, beaches and oceans.

Visit www.cleanupandrecycle.co.za for updates on whether public, coordinated clean-ups will be allowed, pending government announcements.

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EXTENDED PRODUCER RESPONSIBILITY

Greater responsibility

FOR PRODUCERS South Africa generates approximately 108 million tonnes of waste per year. As much as 90% of this waste (with an estimated value of more than R25.2 billion) is dumped or disposed of in landfill sites across the countr y that are rapidly filling up and approaching closure. By Francois Joubert and Julia Rushton*

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he state has a duty, in terms of the National Environmental Management: Waste Act (No. 59 of 2008; Nemwa), to put measures in place to minimise the amount of waste that is generated and to ensure that waste is reused, recycled and recovered in an environmentally sound manner before being safely treated and disposed of. In accordance with this duty,

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on 26 June 2020, the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) published the draft Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Regulations as well as the proposed EPR schemes for the lighting, electronic equipment, paper and packaging sectors for public comment. The publication of these notices by the minister illustrates the DEFF’s intention to put measures in place that address the way in which waste is handled at the post-consumer stage of a product’s life cycle. The notices have been published in terms of section 18 of Nemwa, which provides that the minister may, in consultation with the Minister of Trade and Industry, identify a product or class of products in respect of which EPR applies. This means that the producers of those particular products are responsible for the products until the post-consumer stage of a product’s life cycle and may be required to take certain waste-related measures in respect of that product or class of products. EPR measures are far-reaching and may include requiring producers to collect, reuse, recycle and responsibly dispose of their products in the post-consumer stage. This has the potential to significantly reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfill sites.

Draft regulations The draft EPR Regulations set out the proposed framework for the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of EPR schemes by producers and will apply to the waste streams that are identified by the minister in separate notices. The draft EPR Regulations seek to encourage and enable the implementation of a circular economy initiative by extracting as much value from resources as possible through reuse and recycling in order to eliminate waste. Producers of the products identified by the minister will be required to register with the department and establish, implement and finance an EPR scheme or join an existing one. So far, the minister has published the proposed EPR schemes for the lighting, electronic equipment, paper and packaging sectors. The notices include a list of the types of items within each of these sectors that are subject to the EPR scheme requirements. The producers of the items listed in those notices will be responsible for developing and implementing an EPR scheme. The sectors that have been identified by the minister are responsible for much of the waste that ends up being dumped or disposed of in landfill sites. If the producers of lighting products, electronic equipment, paper and packaging implement effective EPR schemes, as proposed in the notices, it should drastically reduce the amount of waste that enters our landfill sites each day. Electronic waste alone accounts for roughly 350 000 tonnes of the waste generated in


South Africa each year and only about 35 000 tonnes are recycled. Many of the chemicals that are released from electronic waste are harmful to human health and the environment – so it is essential that electronic waste is disposed of in a responsible manner. South Africa also generates a vast amount of plastic waste and it is almost impossible to buy anything from a grocery store that is not packaged in plastic. The definition of packaging in the proposed EPR scheme for the paper and packaging sector is particularly wide and includes “any material, container or wrapping, used for the containment, transport, handling, protection, promotion, marketing or sale of any product or substance, which may be primary packaging, containing the actual product or secondary packaging, typically containing products already packaged in primary packaging”. At this stage, the following are not included in the definition, but may always be added by the minister in a subsequent notice: • packaging made out of timber and textile • plastic pallets and industrial bulk containers (with a capacity exceeding 1 000 litres) •  shipping containers used solely for the transportation of any consumer commodity in bulk to manufacturers, packers or processors, or to wholesale or retail distributors.

What to expect According to the proposed EPR schemes for the lighting and electronic equipment sectors, existing producers of those products will be required to prepare and submit an EPR scheme to the minister within six months of the publication of the notice. Lighting and electronic equipment producers that start operations after publication of the notice, on the other hand, will be required

to either: (i) prepare and submit an EPR scheme to the minister within six months of commencing operations; or (ii) subscribe to an existing EPR scheme within three months of commencing operations. At this stage, the notice in respect of the proposed EPR scheme for the paper and packaging sector does not provide the time period by which the producers of products listed in that notice will need to submit their EPR scheme to the minister. It is anticipated that the department will determine these timeframes prior to the final publication of the notice. In addition to the submission of an EPR scheme, the draft EPR Regulations provide that producers must determine the fee that they will pay to fund the EPR schemes. The appropriate fee payable by producers must be determined in consultation with the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, and be based on the weight and recyclability of each item. This essentially gives effect to the ‘producer pays’ principle of environmental law. If the draft EPR Regulations come into effect, they will be very far reaching, as producers will also be required to: • develop and maintain a system to collect the EPR fees • tender and contract for the collection, recycling and recovery of waste •  implement mandatory take-back of products that have reached the end of product life •  document collection, sorting, recycling and recovery of waste • develop and manage the data collection system •  submit data to the South African Waste Information System regarding the amount of waste that is generated, collected, diverted away from landfill (through reuse, recycling, recovery or refurbishment), exported and disposed of

• conduct internal audits and make these audit reports available to the department upon request •  utilise new and existing infrastructure across schemes in a collaborative manner where feasible • promote small businesses • develop a BBBEE transformation charter within the waste sector of the products identified in the notices published by the minister in terms of section 18(1) of Nemwa. In an attempt to minimise the amount of waste that is generated, the draft EPR Regulations also require producers to conduct a life-cycle assessment in relation to their products, in accordance with the relevant SABS or ISO standards. Producers will then be required to factor the results of the lifecycle assessment into the design, composition or production process of a product. This should result in a reduction in the consumption of natural resources, increased production of more environmentally friendly products and a reduction in the amount of postconsumer waste. If producers are required to collect, reuse and recycle their products after use, they are likely to be more inclined to ensure that their products last longer and are less toxic and easier to recycle. It is important that South Africa recognises the employment opportunities and economic potential that the collection, reuse and recycling of waste holds, not to mention the positive impacts on the environment. The draft EPR Regulations and proposed schemes introduced by the minister, if properly implemented, will have wide-ranging impacts on a number of categories of waste in South Africa, reduce the burden on landfill sites and will help South Africans to appreciate the value of waste. *Francois Joubert is a partner and Julia Rushton an associate at Fasken. AUGUST 2020

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EQUIPMENT

Selecting the right equipment pays for recyclers Local equipment exper ts are increasingly being called upon to find customised solutions to effectively deal with waste streams for reduction or recycling. Deciding on the optimum setup requires specialist experience.

specification of equipment required to run a profitable reclamation operation. “No two waste streams are the same and even materials from the same site may change several times throughout the duration of a project. This makes the specification of equipment tough and requires careful consideration of all the variables, including feedstock and the intended end product,” Dickson explains. “All too often, we see projects, which are launched with the best of intentions, struggle and ultimately fail due to wrong equipment being used for the job. Whether as a result of low production volumes, high wear and tear, lack of spares and support, or other unforeseen circumstances, these types of failures can be avoided with the right amount of consultation and reliable suppliers,” he continues.

Local expertise

A

s the main supplier of crushing and screening equipment for these types of operations in Southern Africa, ELB Equipment has assembled a large range of crushers, scalpers and screens to deal with materials ranging from household waste to building rubble and demolitions waste. Its 26-year distribution agreement with the world’s best-known processing equipment brand, Powerscreen, has stood the test of time and is one of the longest-standing distributor agreements of its type in South Africa.

The South African environment is very different to other parts of the world where recycling has been practised for decades. Locally, there are no ‘free rides’ and operators who wish to establish this type of operation need to do so based on solid business principles with no assistance from authorities. This means that the equipment chosen must be reasonably priced, well supported, reliable and durable enough to operate in tough conditions for many years. That has largely been the success of Powerscreen in the local market, where the manufacturers’ crushers, scalpers and screens have earned a reputation for long-lasting quality.

Experience matters

Developing trends

ELB is home to experts like Heath Dickson, national sales manager: Mining, who has 26 years of experience dealing with crushing processes and is widely regarded as a leading expert in the correct

“We are seeing a large number of operations being established, ranging from those that

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simply need to screen material, to those that scalp, crush and screen materials and produce a range of different sizes and grades of aggregate,” says Dickson. “We can also see trends developing, such as the popularity of horizontal shaft impactor crushers, which are becoming increasingly popular for rubble operations that require a significant reduction in size in the most efficient manner. These also have good production rates and are better able to deal with non-crushables, such as rebar and other obstructions, that may damage other types. However, in other applications, the company’s jaw and cone crushers may be used according to requirements,” he explains.

Different applications Size also matters in this industry and careful selection needs to be made depending on the stream type, throughput and grades of material that need to be produced. ELB Equipment stocks a wide range of crushers with throughputs ranging from 100 to 550 tonnes per hour. “Our customers also enjoy the ability to receive information via built-in telematics on every new-generation Powerscreen machine. This gives them access to productivity, usage, ser vicing and fault-finding information, and allows for remote monitoring to be conducted by ELB Equipment’s technical team,” Dickson concludes.


EQUIPMENT

Pelleting plants for waste fractions

Around 5000 flat die pelleting presses are in operation on the international market for the production of feedstuff, food, chemical and pharmaceutical products, and alternative fuels from various raw materials.

F

rom the beginning of 2021, four more flat die pelleting presses will be used by the industry for the production of alternative fuels from waste fractions – and all of them will be located

in Germany. Before the waste fractions, which consist of mixed plastic and cardboard fractions in a defined ratio, can be pelleted, they have to undergo conditioning through shredding to a particle size of <20 mm, with downstream screening, metal and impurity separation. Subsequently, the screened material is thermally dried to a residual moisture of <10%. The required heat is supplied by a combined heat and power plant that also supplies the entire plant with electrical energy. After drying, the prepared input material is fed into the pelleting plant. By means of belt conveyors and a central trough chain conveyor, the dried material is transported to the pelleting presses â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;in overflowâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. This ensures sufficient product supply for all four pelleting presses at any time. Excess input material is taken up by a proportioning bunker and returned into the feeding system in a controlled manner.

KAHL pelleting presses The four KAHL type 45-1250 flat die pelleting presses are fed by means of individual proportioning units, each consisting of a frequency-controlled proportioning wheel and a horizontal proportioning

screw. The material is fed into the press in free fall and without deflectors or forced feeding, thus trouble-free product supply is ensured, especially in case of voluminous, inhomogeneous products. The flat die pelleting presses have a die diameter of 1250 mm with a die perforation of 16 mm. The large pelleting chamber of the flat die pelleting press ensures an optimum feeding of the material to the rotating pan grinder rollers. Each pelleting press is equipped with an individual proportioning system so that the optimum quantity of material is fed into the machine. Due to the low speed of the flat die pelleting press and the resulting low circumferential speed of the pan grinder rollers, the product can be optimally de-aerated during the pelleting process and pressed into the holes of the die. This also significantly increases the service life of the bearings; and the smooth, low-vibration press operation significantly reduces the noise emission of the press. The hydraulic system of the press, with its automatic roller gap monitoring and adjustment, ensures optimum process control and product quality by automatically adjusting the process pressure and the thickness of the material layer on the die to possible product fluctuations during operation. The automatic central lubricating system of the roller bearings adds to the reduced maintenance requirements of the machines and thus increases their availability.

Thanks to their robust design, the pelleting presses are insensitive to the effects of impurities, which often occur in inhomogeneous waste fractions. The design of the machine and the easy access to the pelleting elements ensure a quick replacement of rollers and dies, which also improves the availability of the plant. After pelleting, the hot pellets are cooled and stabilised in a counter-current cooler using ambient air. Possible fines are separated via a downstream screening system before the pellets are conveyed to the storage facility for finished products. Those interested in a pelleting plant for the production of pellets from waste should not hesitate to utilise the in-house expertise of KAHL.

www.akahl.de info@akahl.de

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J O B C R E AT I O N

OPINION: Youth involvement post Covid-19 With unemployment likely to worsen as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is impor tant to explore possibilities to revive entrepreneurship in the waste management sector, especially among the youth. By Themba Sebolao Lecage*

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he formal and informal waste sectors are both vitally important; however, we need to find a balance between these sectors, which should ultimately be merged. If these two powerful spheres can work together, opportunities exist to create more jobs and benefit the economy in the long run.

Early experiences My early experiences with waste management projects highlighted the tremendous impact waste has on the environment, as well as the importance of recycling. I first got involved in waste management in 2009 while working on a contract to install street lights for the City of Tshwane in Soshanguve. We had problems installing copper cables in sidewalks due to large amounts of littered sidewalks and roads.

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After getting the go-ahead from the City of Tshwane to clean the area, we immediately got the community involved and together did a sterling job of cleaning the neighbourhood. The impact of this simple measure on the community and the difference it made to the people ignited my passion for the waste industry. This, and other experiences, changed my perception of the industry as a whole; people often donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t concern themselves with waste and littering until it becomes a problem in their lives. Unfortunately, there is a notion in South Africa that it is not our responsibility, but that of the government, to keep our environment clean. But, at the end of the day, waste is everyoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s problem.

Encouraging youth involvement The unemployment rate in South Africa currently stands at 29%, with youth unemployment expected

Themba Sebolao Lecage, managing director, Sebenza Engineering Projects

to be 58% by the end of 2020. Amid Covid-19, the problem is very likely to get much worse. Encouraging young people to become engaged in waste management could be a powerful contributor towards reducing the unemployment rate in some of the worst-hit areas. In the first stage of this strategy, transfer stations could be set up in as many townships as possible for the youth to sell off recyclable materials collected from households and the environment. It is often difficult for waste collection and recycling trucks to navigate through townships and informal settlements with poor infrastructure. This is where additional collectors could play an invaluable role. It is at this stage that they can earn an income for


J O B C R E AT I O N their efforts while keeping their environment clean and reducing waste to landfill. In the second stage, the recycled goods are weighed, bailed and packaged into square tonnages, transported and sold off to a recycling plant. Here too, young entrepreneurs can become involved in facilitating the process. The transfer stations can drive the creation of jobs for young people who are willing to work. Recycling plants established around urban areas will also create a ripple effect, creating jobs based on the products that can be manufactured with these recycled materials. The opportunities are extensive, including plastic asphalt for roads, plastic bricks for housing schemes, and accessories used for car manufacturing and clothing companies.

Schools are critical I believe that the most important way of instilling the discipline of appropriate waste management is through schools. Children should be taught from an early age how to handle waste. In areas with poor recycling infrastructure, children can be encouraged to bring recyclable materials from their homes to their schools. It is here that youth recycling companies can collect materials. At every stage of the process, the youth can get involved and earn an income, motivating them and giving them a purpose. This whole process can employ thousands of young

people who are willing to make a difference in their community. This process can also be transferred to highschool level where recycling initiatives can be organised – e.g. a neighbourhood clean-up by students, sponsored by various businesses. These experiences may even lead students to future work opportunities in the field, including landfill maintenance, refuse removal, composting and rubble removal. Appropriate waste management needs to be an ongoing behaviour rather than

a once-off clean-up campaign. There are large opportunities that lie in the waste industry, which is now experimenting more than ever with various innovative alternatives like waste-to-energy and upcycling. The real opportunity lies in our attitude and mindset towards waste and in thinking outside the box, which is what will be needed post Covid-19. *Themba Sebolao Lecage is the managing director of Sebenza Engineering Projects.

MACHINES AND PLANTS FOR THE PRODUCTION OF ALTERNATIVE FUELS Pellets or fluff as alternative fuels from domestic or industrial waste

AMANDUS KAHL GmbH & Co. KG Dieselstrasse 5–9 · 21465 Reinbek Hamburg, Germany · +49 (0) 40 72 77 10 info@akahl.de · akahl.de

Johannes Schuback & Sons (S.A) PTY Ltd. Sandton/South Africa T +27 11 70 62 270 · F +27 11 70 69 236 jsssa@mweb.co.za AUGUST 2020

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WASTE-TO-ENERGY

SA’S WASTE POTENTIAL for alternative fuel and energy

Refuse-derived fuel (RDF)

With 90% of South Africa’s annual waste ending up in landfills across the countr y, unlocking the energy potential of waste may help alleviate our national power crisis. By Kate Stubbs*

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iven the country’s estimated population of 59.62 million, it becomes important to acknowledge the direct correlation between an increasing population and waste generation surges. If not managed effectively, this will have a long-lasting impact on our environment, and our pockets.

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In fact, I would argue that we have a potential waste crisis on our hands, one that demands urgent attention, which is exacerbated given the dire energy crisis we face locally – and which is likely to last for a while. Take a simple example of rising electricity costs – which increased by almost 17% recently – and we then consider that almost 77% of South Africa’s primary energy needs are reliant on coal – this, together, with waste generation surges, means there is a valid case for the creation of alternative energy sources in South Africa using this very waste. And there really are so many unutilised opportunities for alternative energy creation. The easiest one is our ability to reuse and repurpose mounting waste to help with the much-needed energy supply. In fact, waste is no longer just waste, many businesses are already moving towards a zero waste to landfill target and examining ways in which they can then effectively repurpose waste into something useful, such as contributing towards energy inputs.

How can this be done? The waste-to-energy agenda goes far beyond traditional recycling, but is rather centred on the development of some of the most advanced technology to ensure waste-to-energy can be realised. Some great strides have already been made when we examine some of the following.

RDF was pioneered by Interwaste locally. We have been successful in taking a solid fuel source – which is recovered through the shredding and bailing of certain pre-sorted dry industrial non-recyclable waste – and created a fuel source that is very similar to A-grade coal and that presents a strong alternative to fossil fuel use. This alternative fuel can be used within sole/ co-feeding plants and even replace conventional fuels (e.g. coal) in production plants for power, steam and heat generation or any other suitable combustion installations.

Waste-derived fuel (WDF) In line with the National Environmental Management Waste Act (No. 59 of 2008), certain waste types, including liquid waste, have been banned from disposal at landfill. This has led to the waste management sector becoming more innovative and for wardthinking in how we manage the disposal of these wastes – to the benefit of the environment – as well ensuring value to clients. Interwaste has a blending platform and can repurpose certain liquid wastes for alternative industrial means. The facility receives, stores


and blends hazardous waste sludge (liquids and solids) with an inherent calorific value, to be used in the pre-calcining process, as a WDF. This product has been used to replace fossil fuels destined for cement kilns with WDFs, setting a global standard where waste management practices are concerned.

Natural gases and anaerobic digestion Natural gases, generated from biological, naturally occurring processes such as landfills and anaerobic digestion are produced as a by-product from bacteria eating and breaking down any organic matter, which we know is rich in methane and therefore combustible. However, this type of gas presents a key opportunity where, through sound waste innovations, waste management

companies can flare this gas to ensure it is not hazardous to the environment or ozone. Furthermore, this type of gas flaring can also be financially beneficial given that carbon credits can be claimed or traded. This is an essential saving for businesses as government institutes carbon tax. Through anaerobic digestion, waste can form a fundamental part of the fuel value chain, reduce reliance on coal-powered electricity (for smaller entities) and ensure a more sustainable model for electricity supply. As a country with a heavy reliance on fuel and energy to not only provide the basics, but to maintain and grow GDP, there is also the opportunity to unlock the fuel potential of waste in support of this. There are non-traditional solutions that work well, which can absolutely assist our country in moving towards the use of alternative fuels; this will not only alleviate our waste crisis, but our energy one as well. *Kate Stubbs is the director: Business Development and Marketing at Interwaste.

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WASTE-TO-ENERGY

Towards affordable biogas production

Biogas technology has the ability to greatly diversify South Africa’s energy mix by adding electrical and heat energy to the grid, while offering a viable, clean method for the disposing of organic waste.

T

o showcase the potential for biogas in South Africa, renewable energy and waste disposal solutions provider Global Energy has constructed a fully operational biogas demonstration plant on a cucumber, tomato and herb farm, between the towns of Malmesbury and Wellington in the Western Cape. The R1.2 million plant uses locally manufactured technology that has been designed to be more cost-effective, reliable and simpler to operate and maintain. The demonstration plant currently produces biogas for the generation of electricity using organic produce from the farm as feedstock and is fully scalable up to 1 MW. The electrical power produced is used to supply the farm borehole and irrigation pumps.

Did you know? An estimated 13.24 million tonnes of global methane emissions can be avoided annually through the anaerobic treatment of animal waste and energy use of the gas produced. The plant serves to demonstrate the capabilities of Global Energy’s technology, which has been specifically developed for application in Africa. “Global Energy has taken well-proven European technologies, adapted and customised them for the

Massive potential

Souther n African market, and produced hybrid solutions that deliver reliable, cost-efficient energy, as well as environmentally sound organic waste management,” explains Henry Thomson, director, Global Energy.

Biogas potential in SA The success of the demonstration plant has led to Global Energy developing biogas plants for several other projects in the Western Cape farming and food processing industry. This includes designing and constructing a biogas plant for a dairy farm, two piggeries and a food processing factory, with a number of other projects in the pipeline. Discarded organic waste from the farms, including animal manure, will be used as feedstock for a biodigester to produce biogas that can be used to generate electrical and heat energy. Although South Africa’s biogas industry is still in its infancy, Thomson sees significant potential. While not necessarily the cheapest method of generating electricity, its combined benefits of waste management and diversified energy production make biogas a worthwhile investment for many private sector industries. And by using local technology, materials and equipment, Global Energy has been able to significantly reduce the costs associated with biogas plant installation and upkeep. The company’s business model centres on processing organic waste at the waste generator’s site, to provide effective waste management, and supply energy back into their business process.

The potential feedstock for biogas production is immense. Biogas can be produced from most biomass and waste materials, including: • manure • b y-products like straw and green mass from cash crops • food waste • energy crops • o rganic fraction of municipal solid waste • b iodegradable fraction of industrial waste • abattoir waste • sewage sludge. “Our facility is thus sized according to the available waste and the end-user’s power requirement, allowing us to eliminate the need for waste transportation and avoid the complications of operating as a net electricity exporter,” explains Thomson. “The cost of electrical power supplied by our biogas plants is highly competitive with Eskom and municipal rates, and provides many added advantages, including organic waste beneficiation and value-added by-products.” As Global Energy strives to become the leading supplier of biogas plants smaller than 1 MW, Thomson expects the company’s solution to disrupt the renewables sector, by making renewable energy continuously available and more affordable than ever before.

GLOBAL ENERGY

The Sustainability Institute | Lynedoch | Stellenbosch info@globalenergy.co.za +27 (0)21 020 0752 Global Energy Biogas (Pty) Ltd Reg: 2016/522289/07

www.globalenergy.co.za


RENEWABLE ENERGY

Driving a just recovery from Covid-19 While Covid-19 is exacerbating existing developmental issues like access to energy, a new repor t shows that Africa is slowly planning a future powered by renewable energy.

T

he report, titled Renewable Energy in Africa: An opportunity in a time of crisis, was commissioned by climate justice activist organisations 350Africa.org and WoMin African Alliance prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, it is highlighting the need to develop renewable energy as part of a just recovery from the pandemic.

Renewables uptake The report shows that by 2030, renewable energy installations are projected to go up to over 77 GW. This is a massive increase from the less than 15 GW currently operating; however, by 2030, coal will still have a 43% share of installed energy capacity in Africa. In the context of the global climate, ecological and health crises, more ambitious plans are needed from African governments to leapfrog dirty energy and secure people’s access to clean energy. The report, which maps renewable energy projects across 10 African countries – Botswana, DRC, Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda – shows that issues that have been encountered with renewable energy so far have largely been due to the implementation of the projects.

A just transition

constructed, it should be done in a way that The hugely detrimental impacts of the operation of reduces negative impacts. fossil fuel plants on people and the environment are “In constructing renewable energy, we need absent. However, problems in the implementation to be sensitive to the ecological and community of large renewable energy projects can mirror impacts – particularly those on women, and to those of fossil fuel projects. ensure the benefits are shared equitably. We also The report, therefore, highlights the importance need to be wary of blindly following an industrial of: community participation and consent in the model of renewable energy development, which planning of the project; agreement on community involves massive destructive mining of minerals benefits, including having access and right to the for components. Different models should be energy produced; and the opportunity and ability explored,” she says. of the community to own all or part of the project. Globally, there has been a significant push to “Renewable energy is already well suited move to renewable energy, as it has the potential to Africa. Many people live out of reach of of not only transforming the lives of millions but centralised grids; however, in a continent rich is kinder to the planet. But in order for renewable in wind, hydro and solar resources, energy to be truly transformative, it they should be easily deployed needs to reach the energy and to meet the needs of these economically poor. The move unserved and underserved to 100% clean energy should For renewable populations,” says Landry avoid the old models of energy to be truly Ninteretse, regional team energy generation that have transformative, lead, 350Africa.org denied people access to it needs to reach Trusha Reddy, head: energy and have resulted in the energy and Energy and Climate land grabs, environmental economically poor Justice Programme, WoMin, destruction, pollution and, adds that where renewable above all, the fuelling of energy projects are sited and climate change.

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C A R B O N TA X

Carbon tax vs carbon trading

In pursuit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, various countries have adopted the practice of carbon trading, while others – like South Africa – have implemented a carbon tax as a corrective means to make carbonintensive industries more environmentally conscious. By Eckart Zollner

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B

oth frameworks are intended to compel enterprises to acknowledge their effect on the environment and encourage change; but does one system work better than the other? It is impor tant to acknowledge that while both have their advantages and disadvantages, they’re both sides of the same coin. As such, it is imperative to focus on how organisations can ensure that they’re realistically transforming their operations to lower their emissions instead of getting distracted by which is the best theoretical way to do so.

Defining the differences Carbon trading works by setting a blanket limit or cap on the quantity of emissions allowable from significant carbon sources. Once this overall limit has been determined, governments then issue permits for the limit that act as credits. These credits can be traded with other companies in the sector. And by reducing its own carbon output significantly, a company can then trade the excess on its permits. However, where a company is unable to cut down its emissions, it may have to purchase additional permits

to account for the dif ference. Part of the appeal of this framework is that as the limit is gradually reduced, the number of credits is reduced, which will compel companies to adjust their operations to pollute less. On the other hand, carbon tax is a form of carbon pricing that sees a tax applied to carbon fuels or the output of carbon-intensive processes, placing a financial burden on entities that pollute. In this framework, companies have a choice: pollute and pay the tax or reduce emissions to avoid tax.

South Africa’s Carbon Tax Act To meet our obligations in terms of the Paris Accord, the South African government has begun implementing the Carbon Tax Act (No. 15 of 2009), which makes provision for a phased rollout of tax liability for carbon-intensive industries. One of the advantages of using carbon tax is that it represents a quantifiable source of revenue generation that can be controlled by government, along with providing an incentive to avoid the tax by reducing emissions. Fur thermore, by making businesses and consumers alike aware of the environmental costs of production, consumption and investment decisions as they relate to


C A R B O N TA X emission initiatives, enterprises can be encouraged to adopt cleaner technologies and consumers can make more sustainable choices in how they spend their money. The Carbon Tax envisages an incremental approach to imposing carbon tax liability, which is divided into three phases. In the first phase (which runs until the end of 2022), scope 1 emitters will be liable to pay carbon tax for direct emissions from an owned or controlled source, such as emissions produced during the burning of fossil fuels. While the Act imposes a tax liability, it also provides relief in the form of emissions allowances that range from 60% to 95% in the first phase. For example, there is a permissible basic tax-free allowance of 60% for all activities. For companies that use carbon offsets, it is possible to reduce their tax liability by up to 10%, and a further 5% budget allowance is given simply for meeting

the Act’s reporting requirements. A further 10% allowance makes provision for trade-exposed sectors that might be liable to pay a carbon levy on import/export transactions.

Quantifiable thanks to technology When it comes to quantifying carbon output, it is no longer a guessing game. Thanks to locally developed carbon tax analytics software, it is possible for organisations to accurately calculate and visualise their carbon footprint. In order to evidence compliance with the Carbon Tax Act, a carbon analytics tool can be used to generate an automated, accurate report that details emissions by source. All it takes is for someone to input the process or emissions data into the software, in order to obtain an exact tax liability amount and a clear picture of the carbon footprint of the entire organisation.

Once enterprises have a clear understanding of where their major carbon tax liabilities lie, they’ll be able to strategise on implementing carbon reduction frameworks across the value chain in a manner that properly acknowledges the urgency in reducing the carbon footprint of ever ything manufactured, traded, transported and consumed around the world.

Eckart Zollner, head: Business Development, EDS Systems

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EVENTS

Upcoming EVENTS and beyond AFRICAN UTILITY WEEK & POWERGEN AFRICA Venue: Virtual Date: 24 to 26 November 2020 Website: bit.ly/3fQuuQ6 The 20th edition of African Utility Week and POWERGEN Africa, scheduled to take place from 24 to 26 November 2020, is set to be a fully fledged digital event featuring world-class speakers, live discussions, virtual networking and product showcases. African Utility Week and POWERGEN Africa offers a meeting place for the entire power, energy and water value chain and – although the (digital) show will go on – African Utility Week and POWERGEN Africa will take place again in person in Cape Town between 11 to 13 May 2021, with the added opportunity to also engage a digital audience.

POWER & ELECTRICITY WORLD AFRICA 2020

WISA 2020

Venue: Virtual Date: 4 to 5 November 2020 Website: bit.ly/3344b33 Coming to your screens on 4 to 6 November 2020, Power & Electricity World Africa will be a three-day virtual conference and exhibition providing viewers with great content and unlimited learning and networking opportunities. Built on 23 years of history, Power & Electricity World Africa is about innovation, investment and infrastructure – energy for the people! The conference focuses on global trends and practical innovative energy applications, as well as how market players can capitalise on business opportunities across the continent. This is the place where the energy community finds solutions to its challenges.

ELECTRA MINING AFRICA 2022

Venue: Virtual Date: 7 to 11 December 2020 Website: wisa.org.za Despite South Africa’s lockdown, WISA is forging ahead with the 2020 WISA Biennial Conference and Exhibition, which is now expected to be 100% virtual, better, and more exciting than ever before. Taking place from 7 to 11 December, #WISA2020 will incorporate everything that a traditional conference offers, while adding a host of additional opportunities and benefits that only the virtual world can offer.

WASTECON 2020

Venue: Johannesburg Expo Centre, Gauteng Date: 5 to 9 September 2022 Website: www.electramining.co.za

Venue: Emperors Palace, Ekurhuleni, Gauteng Date: 9 to 11 February 2021 Website: www.wastecon.co.za

The next edition of Electra Mining Africa will now be held from 5 to 9 September 2022 at the Johannesburg Expo Centre. The largest show of its kind on the continent, Electra Mining Africa is a unique platform for the mining, manufacturing, automation, electrical and power industries to connect, innovate, learn and grow. The organisers have promised more value-added show features for 2022 in addition to the usual industry conferences, free-to-attend seminars, skills development zone, inward buying mission, business match-making and live demonstrations.

The IWMSA will host its 25th flagship conference and exhibition, WasteCon, from 9 to 11 February 2021 at Emperors Palace in Gauteng. The conference will take place over a period of three days, with plenary, parallel and workshop sessions. The exhibition floor and outdoor exhibition, which will be open to the public, will showcase the many innovative products and services that service providers to the industry have to offer.

INDEX TO ADVERTISERS A-Thermal Retort Technologies IBC AKS Lining Systems 22 Amandus Kahl 37 CSIR/NCPC-SA OBC Earth Probiotic Recycling Solutions 25 Envitech 39 Global Energy 40

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G&W IWMSA

27 2, 12

JG Afrika

IFC

JPCE

19

Plastics|SA

30

Power & Electricity World Africa

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environmentally responsible

SPECIALIST SERVICES Chemicals Division

The A-Thermal chemical division is able to treat the following hazardous waste through thermal destruction: laboratory waste chemicals pesticides expired pure organo-chloride and organosulphide waste permanent destruction of persistent organic Pollutants (POPs) cyanide waste decontamination of containers used in the chemical and pesticides industry sludges and wastewater/liquids contaminated with organo-chlorides heavymetal contaminated waste such as mercury waste

safe thermal treatment

of hazardous and toxic waste

Pharmaceutical Division

The A-Thermal pharmaceutical division specialises in permanent, secure destruction of pharmaceuticals. Waste treated includes: finished pharmaceutical products (expired and discontinued) intermediate products raw materials quality assurance retention samples natural, homeopathic or complimentary medicine clinical trials laboratories in pharmaceutical industries medical devices cosmetic industries schedule 5 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 6 drugs (overseen by full-time on-site pharmacist)

CONNECT NOW 28 Keramiek Street | Clayville | Olifantsfontein | 1665 t +27 (11)316 1800 | f +27 11 316 4999 | e info@athermal.co.za

www.athermal.co.za


ProďŹ t

CO2

Sales

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Jobs

Use of virgin resources

Utilisation of assets

Water usage

Innovation

Hazardous waste

Knowledge transfer

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Profile for 3S Media

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