Page 1

The official journal of the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa

Promoting integrated resources management

Waste Management


Increasing postJohannesburg reduces, consumer waste reuses and recycles recycling

National Pricing Strategy spotlight

Cleaner Production Symbiosis offers savings

Providing environmental peace of mind

ISSN 1680-4902 R50.00 (incl VAT) • Vol 17, No 2, May 2015


Waste Legislation

Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa


Hot Seat

A-Thermal Retort Technologies’ MD, Nicolas Eleftheriades, explains how the company’s environmentally sound solutions deliver world-class results. P14

is printed on 100% recycled paper

YES, Milk and Juice Cartons

can be Recycled

YES, cartons are being recycled in South Africa at Gayatri Paper Mill, based in Germiston, Gauteng.

Waste management and collection companies are encouraged to collect, bale, and sell used cartons to the Paper Mill for recycling.

HOW? Recycling takes place through a hydro-pulping process which separates the paper fibre from the polyethylene and aluminium (polyAl). The

recycled fibre is then used to make a range of paper and cardboard products. The polyAl component is separated for aggromulation and pelletisation for use in plastic injection moulded products.

WOW! Carton packaging is made mainly from paper board, a natural renewable resource, which gives our packaging a low carbon footprint versus other types of liquid packaging.

When the contents are gone,

let the carton live on!

For more more information informationabout aboutcarton cartonrecycling, recycling, visit www.tetrapak.com/za or www.mywaste.co.za visit www.tetrapak.co.za or www.mywaste.co.za


GAYATRI PAPER MILLS 1 Power Str, Germiston, Gauteng Tel: +27 11 821 8600


Waste Management

www.3smedia.co.za ISSN 1680-4902, Volume 17, No.2, May 2015 The official journal of the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa

Promoting integrated resources management



Increasing postManagement Johannesburg reduces, consumer waste reuses and recycles recycling

Waste Legislation

Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa

The RéSource team stands firmly behind environmental preservation. As such, RéSource is printed on 100% recycled paper and uses no dyes or varnishes. The magazine is saddle stitched to ensure that no glues are required in the binding process.

Cleaner Production

National Pricing Strategy spotlight

Symbiosis offers savings

environmental peace of mind ENVIROSERV Providing

ISSN 1680-4902 R50.00 (incl VAT) • Vol 17, No 2, May 2015

Cover Story


EnviroServ Waste Management provides a company overview revealing how it has become one of the African continent’s largest and best-known waste management solution providers. 7

Hot Seat

A-Thermal Retort Technologies’ MD, Nicolas Eleftheriades, explains how the company’s environmentally sound solutions deliver world-class results. P14

is printed on 100% recycled paper

RéSource offers advertisers an ideal platform to ensure maximum exposure of their brand. Companies are afforded the opportunity of publishing a cover story and a cover picture to promote their products and services to an appropriate audience. Please call Tazz Porter on +27 (0)11 465 5452 or +27 (0)82 318 9308 to secure your booking.


Waste Beneficiation

Regulars President’s Comment


Hammarsdale’s tool for change


Editor’s Comment


Food waste for worms


Waste Management Johannesburg Waste Summit 2015 8

Landfill Is ‘zero waste to landfill’ realistic? 10

Hot Seat


A-Thermal’s Nicolas Eleftheriades explains how the company’s thermal desorption technology provides top results.

Waste to Energy Biogas fuels a revolution

Green Buildings Building around the energy crisis 33

Cleaner Production Symbiosis offers savings


Waste Legislation Waste tax looms


Waste Beneficiation

Company News

Recycling Increasing post-consumer recycling 16

Global talent, local service

in association with infrastructure news






Event Watch ReSource May 2015 – 1


Dispose of your used oil here...

...and you could end up here. Up to 15 years imprisonment.

So for peace of mind, contact a NORA-SA approved collector or recycler to safely dispose of your used oil. Call 0860 NORA-SA (6672 72) for a collector in your area.

President’s Comment


What to expect March was a busy month in the waste sector, with waste summits being held in White River, Mpumalanga (by the Department of Environmental Affairs), and in Johannesburg (by Pikitup).


HE MAIN message taken from both summits is that waste has value as secondary resources and that the resource potential of these materials must be maximised through collective efforts by government, industry and society. We all generate waste and, therefore, every individual has an obligation towards waste minimisation and waste separation at source to grow the recycling economy in South Africa. Equally important, though, is the need for the strengthening and development of off-take markets for recycled goods, through innovation, to increase recycled content or the development of new high-value goods using recycled materials. The Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) was invited to do a presentation on behalf of the waste industry at the DEA Summit in White River. However, this request came at a very late stage, which made it impossible for IWMSA to oblige, but the DEA’s intentions are acknowledged. The outcomes of the summit are summarised in the Summit Resolutions, which are published on the DEA website. (www.environment.gov. za/sites/default/files/docs/wastesummit_ resolutions2015.pdf) There are a few issues of discomfort around the Summit Resolutions and how

they were handled at the summit – as raised by members – which I have brought to the attention of Mark Gordon, DDG: Chemicals and Waste Management in the DEA. From the IWMSA council side, I am happy to report that our membership numbers are increasing and stand at a healthy 919 members. Please remember to pay your membership fees, if you have not yet done so, to avoid losing your membership benefits. The streamlined approval process for new membership applications is working well and has resulted in a shorter turnaround time. A subcommittee looking at membership has been formed and is headed by Kobus de Meyer, the chairperson of the central branch. The objectives of the planned membership drive are: • to create awareness of the IWMSA • be current, relevant and add value to our members • build credibility for the IWMSA • increase membership and retain current members • increase diversity with a focus on recruiting municipal, organisational and student members. As mentioned previously, the constitution of the IWMSA is up for review to ensure alignment with changes in tax law. This will serve to remove ambiguity as it relates to

IWMSA welcomes new Patron member VW

There are a few issues of discomfort around the Summit Resolutions and how it was handled – as raised by members.” Suzan Oelofse, president, IWMSA  nominations onto branch committees and voting rights of committee members, and to provide for special or interim elections in cases of resignations by office bearers. A committee of past presidents has been formed to oversee this task and I would like to express my sincere thanks to Peter Davies, June Lombard, Peter Novella, Stan Jewaskiewitz, Hennie Neethling, and Shirleigh Strydom for their assistance in this regard. We look forward to an improved constitution that will serve the needs of the members. You are reminded to support Landfill 2015 on 15 and 16 September in Tulbagh, as well as the Eastern Cape Mini Conference, which is also planned for later in the year.

Patron members of the IWMSA

ReSource May 2015 – 3

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Editor‘s Comment Publisher: Elizabeth Shorten Associate publisher: Nicholas McDiarmid Editor: Frances Ringwood Tel: +27 (0)11 233 2600 Head of design: Beren Bauermeister Design consultant: Frédérick Danton Designer: Ramon Chinian Chief sub-editor: Tristan Snijders Sub-editor: Morgan Carter Contributors: Linda Godfrey, Beatrix Knopjes, Anton Nahman, Suzan Oelofse, Wilma Strydom & Chris Whyte Client services & production manager: Antois-Leigh Botma Production coordinator: Jacqueline Modise Financial manager: Andrew Lobban Marketing specialist: Philip Rosenberg Digital marketing manager: Esther Le Roux Distribution manager: Nomsa Masina Distribution coordinator: Asha Pursotham Administrator: Tonya Hebenton Printers: United Litho Johannesburg Tel: +27 (0)11 402 0571 Advertising sales: Tazz Porter Tel: +27 (0)11 465 5452 Cell: +27 (0)82 318 3908 tazz@connect.co.za

Publisher: No.4, 5th Avenue Rivonia, 2191 PO Box 92026, Norwood 2117 Tel: +27 (0)11 233 2600 Share Call: 086 003 3300 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 The Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa Tel: +27 (0)11 675 3462 Email: iwmsa@telkomsa.net 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 expressed in the magazine do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher, editor or The Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa, but those of the author or other contributors under whose name contributions may appear, unless a contributor expresses a viewpoint or opinion in his or her capacity as an elected office bearer of a company, group or association. © Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

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From the ground up


HE MAY EDITION of ReSource throws light on those parts of resource conser vation typically regarded as more esoteric, such as green buildings, cleaner production, and soil conser vation. While these may appear less crucial to core concerns of creating landfill space, solid waste management, and logistics, it is actually through these peripheral concerns that the biggest impacts can be achieved.

Soil Managing soil as a resource has massively contributed to reducing waste to landfill, creating green jobs, stimulating the green economy, and prevents groundwater contamination at landfills. The ar ticle ‘Food waste for worms’ on page 26 looks at beneficiation of food waste using worm excrement – or vermicompost, as it’s known in polite company. Healthier crop yields produced via this method has been successfully shown to encourage entrepreneurs to sell or use valuable ‘worm wine’ either as individuals or collectives. The value of soil as a resource doesn’t stop there – it can also be used as an environmentally friendly building material! In the stor y ‘Hammarsdale’s tool for change’ on page 20, USE-IT managing director Chris Whyte describes how the main building of the Hammarsdale waste beneficiation centre is going to be constructed using compressed-ear th blocks, from available soils and recycled rubble. The product’s advantage over cement and brick blocks is that it reduces carbon dioxide emissions by between 50% and 80%.

Water This month’s Green Buildings feature looks these and other methods for counteracting water scarcity through buildings in Southern Africa. Morevover, Water scarcity and a consequent focus on better wastewater treatment and recycling have inspired a number novel thinkers to look beyond the liability of wastewater to a future where even wet waste becomes an asset, this is one of the primar y concerns driving a ‘Waste-to-Energy breakthrough’ described on page 31.

Energy Also concerning waste-to-energy, ‘Biogas fuels a revolution’ on page 30 demonstrates how a local company is capable of recovering as much as 50% of a sewage treatment plant’s energy needs from methane. As the need for increased energy efficiency in South Africa continues, local suppliers and scientific institutions are promoting the development of new methods for conver ting both wet and solid waste into energy. These technologies will not only contribute towards reducing landfill use and making wastewater treatment footprints more hygienic, they are also likely to save municipalities a great deal on the electric bill.

Frances Ringwood ReSource May 2015 – 5

If you scratch below the surface of a well-run landfill site you should find waste analysed under the SANAS system. The waste should be classified for the chosen site. The site should have a functioning Monitoring Committee with relevant external stakeholders. As leaders in responsible waste management we encourage you to scratch below the surface before you choose a landfill site. For the answers you should get go to www.enviroserv.co.za and win peace of mind.


Cover Story

ENVIROSERV WASTE MANAGEMENT Boasting 35 years’ experience, the company has secured its place as one of Africa’s largest and best-known waste management solutions providers.

Aerial view of Holfontein H:H disposal site, one of the facilities where EnviroServ assists in the environmentally responsible management of waste streams

Providing environmental peace of mind

to provide analysis, classification, and planning and control of hazardous and non-hazardous waste treatment and disposal.


ITH BOTH technological and social advancement, there will, inevitably, be an increase in waste generation. Industrial development and innovation are directly linked to the production of waste. EnviroServ is a pioneer in the waste management industry and manages the potential harm waste would cause to human health and the environment. The various divisions and business units that operate to deploy EnviroServ’s marketleading services include: • Solid Waste, consisting of Commercial Solutions; On-Site Waste Management; Logistics Solutions; Treatment and Disposal Solutions; Plant & Equipment, and Tailings. • International, catering for the development of new and existing markets outside South Africa. • Waste Beneficiation, providing an opportunity to unlock value from waste products.

Commercial Solutions EnviroServ’s sales team engages with its customers to find solutions that meet their individual requirements. These trained professionals coordinate the right skills and technologies from across the EnviroServ group of companies to provide solutions that are economical and sustainable.

On-Site Waste Management On-Site Waste Management provides trained staff who are based permanently at clients’ premises, to classify waste into the correct categories; i.e. recyclables (paper, cardboard, plastic, glass), hazardous, and general waste. The programme offers a solution that is

both cost-effective, and provides clients with detailed reports that enable them to track and monitor the volume of waste that is recycled, as opposed to what is landfilled. Comprehensive reporting such as this assists users to identify areas for improvement.

Logistics Solutions Logistics Solutions provides safe and efficient solutions for moving both liquid and dry waste from clients’ premises to disposal sites, while remaining mindful of what approach will have the best outcome for the environment. This business unit has an established track record in the specialised removal of hazardous waste Moreover, this arm of the business offers hazmat services, which cater for planned spill response services on land and sea. Logistics Solutions’ areas of specialisation include asbestos removal and clean-up, fire decontamination, bio-remediation, incident management, and risk assessment. Industrial cleaning is also part of Logistics Solutions’ responsibilities, comprising highand ultra-high-pressure cleaning and surface preparation, cold cutting, and transportation of hazardous and non-hazardous waste streams. For cleaning intractable materials, Logistics Solutions offers absorbent spill products, which provide the market with a variety of spill absorbents for oil and chemical spills. Clients can also request on-site assessments, as well as customised spill kits, instructions and training.

Treatment and Disposal Solutions Clients can benefit from EnviroServ’s Treatment and Disposal Solutions’ expertise

Plant & Equipment

EnviroServ owns and manages its own fleet of yellow plant and equipment, used extensively in its operations.

Tailings In addition, the company has an in-house Tailings service that specialises in the construction, operation, and maintenance of mine tailings disposal facilities.

Waste Beneficiation In order to complement EnviroServ’s holistic approach to waste management, the company provides waste beneficiation services. These provide an opportunity to unlock value from waste products. An example of one such solution is Tube City IMS South Africa’s slag processing and metal recovery procedures. Using pioneering technologies, EnviroServ is assisting this valued partner to process slag – a by-product of steelmaking – into useful, environmentally beneficial aggregate products. Applications for slag include road construction, asphalt, readymix concrete, cement, railway ballast, mining, filtration, and agriculture. Another example is EnviroServ’s recycling of truck tyres to produce rubber granules for the manufacturing of playground and sport field surfaces.

Future vision EnviroServ’s corporate vision is to remain the leader in environmentally responsible waste management. The company aims to achieve this by offering effective and economically viable waste solutions.

ReSource May 2015 – 7

Waste Management

Reduce, reuse, recycle The Johannesburg Waste Summit 2015 aimed to get stakeholders together to discuss ways to proactively manage the City of Johannesburg’s waste through ‘transformation, innovation and sustainability’, to create a liveable and sustainable city. BY BEATRIX KNOPJES


ELD IN THE last week of March, and hosted by the City of Johannesburg and Pikitup, at the Sandton Convention Centre, the summit aimed to

Art made from recycled food waste (bread) demonstrating the resourcefulness of Johannesburg's recycling entrepreneurs

bring together business, labour and civil society to address the monumental challenges of the waste management sector. Presentations from local and international experts examined innovative ways to reduce the amount of waste currently being diverted to landfill sites. An overarching theme that permeated the event was the potential that recycling opens up for job creation, essentially killing

8 – ReSource May 2015

two birds with a single stone. The people of Johannesburg produce in the region of 6 000 tonnes of waste per day, most of which is directed to the city’s four active landfill sites, which are managed

by Pikitup. The city is running out of landfill space and Pikitup, as the implementing agency for the city, has committed to significantly reducing the amount of waste generated that ends up in landfill sites by 2030. This can only be done through a compact between the residents of Joburg. Speaking at the launch of the Joburg Waste Summit, member of the Mayoral Committee for Environment, Infrastructure and Services Department, councillor Matshidiso Mfikoe said, “What is required from us as the city,

and every member of the public, is a change in behaviour. A move away from irresponsible generation of waste and its disposal, to one that acknowledges that waste management is an acute concern for each one of us.”

Mayor’s speech In his key note address, executive mayor Mpho Parks Tau said that too often we “go back to old habits – going back to the norm rather than achieving what it is we set out to achieve… Old habits do not easily die, unless we do something about it.” He also stressed the importance of waste as a platform for socio-economic change. By empowering individuals to use waste as a revenue resource, we will be better able to

Waste Management

for a sustainable city Exhibitors demonstrating their products and services at this year's Johannesburg Waste Summit

change the perception that waste is something to be discarded at the city’s expense and to the detriment of all. “For the mayoral committee of COJ, waste has been seen as an opportunity to access the people of Johannesburg. Our vision for Joburg 2040 is to create a resilient, liveable city. There are a number of things we have to do, dependent on partnerships we have to develop between the city, citizens, NGOs and businesses. All stakeholders are needed to build this into a world-class African city,” said Tau. Tau continued by saying that waste collection and sorting is an opportunity to create local jobs and enterprises with low skill-level requirements. To do this, “we need to change our waste management practices. “In that way we can establish local enterprises and create local jobs and contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas, depending on how we choose to dispose. Waste has now become a resource. Using different methods of disposal, we can reduce the emissions generated by trucks used to collect waste. “Through Pikitup, we can mobilise the citizens of Johannesburg to make changes at the most basic level in the households,” he concludes.

An overarching theme that permeated the event was the potential that recycling opens up for job creation, essentially killing two birds with a single stone

Polluters should pay Dr Trish Hanekom, newly appointed chairperson of Pikitup, speaking at the summit, emphasised that the City of Johannesburg is responsible for producing 6 000 tonnes of waste every day. She went on to say that the principles of “reduce, reuse, recycle” are more pertinent now than ever, as landfill space is fast running out. She stated that Pikitup employs 5 000 people who work tirelessly through the night to collect, separate and recycle waste. She said, “Waste annoys us, it attracts cockroaches and negatively affects our water resources. There is a finite amount of air space in our

landfills and the city’s job is immense.” She went on to say that waste is the responsibility of the producer of the waste. The polluter should pay, if one is going to waste, one must pay the fair value for the waste that needs to be removed. Klaus Merzeder gave a presentation on the effectiveness of incineration technology for waste management. He stated that, with moderate investment, these highlyefficient incinerators are able to produce heat, steam or electricity in a manner that is not harmful to the environment. Stacy Davidson spoke on behalf of Redisa. She emphasised the importance of legislation to drive recycling. She also said, “Products manufactured must be recyclable and environmental ratings need to be established.”

Exhibitors Alongside the speeches and presentations, a number of role players exhibited at the waste summit. The Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa was there to inform potential new members and to promote a

clean and healthy environment. Other exhibitors included the CSIR, Redisa, The Rose Foundation and the City of Johannesburg. EnviroServ was there to educate people on the importance of dealing with hazardous waste safely and according to legislation. There were also exhibits by artist working entirely with recycled material as a medium. Pharma Pedal Power, a company dedicated to providing the informal waste sorter with a means of generating their income that's safer than an overloaded trolley in the streets, was also there to promote its tricycles and trailers.

Conclusion The Johannesburg Waste Summit aimed to engage in proactive debate to deal with the growing problem of waste management in Johannesburg. With an ever burgeoning population, this is arguable an issue that will only intensify unless swift action is taken. The best way to do that is through education and upliftment, and through working hard to change the attitude of the citizens of Johannesburg so that they deal with their waste responsibly.

ReSource May 2015 – 9


Is ‘zero waste to landfill’ realistic?

chats to Andrew Fleming to find out why Cape Town has a shot at the elusive ‘zero waste to landfill’ ideal.



hile South Africa enjoys considerable international prestige, it bears asking whether we are in line with international trends of green economic development. The term ‘circular economy’ is frequently used to discuss a model where virtually all waste is seen as a future resource, to be reused and remade into a new commodity. This is far preferable to the alternative of creating more and more landfills, which take up precious space and may cause environmental damage. Is the ‘zero waste to landfill’ idea really feasible in South Africa? ReSource speaks to Andrew Fleming, senior researcher for the Cape Town Central City Improvement District, to explore more about the possibilities behind green economic growth.

AF For business owners, part of it is about saving money. Of course, the fewer resources you use, the less you have to pay for them. As you reduce your reliance on things like electricity and resources, your overall costs will start to go down. The more waste is recycled and reused, the less that people have to pay for resources, full stop. It’s also about marketing, particularly for businesses:

overall, customers prefer shopping at green retailers and companies.   For the larger city, the advantages to energy reduction and waste elimination are enourmous. According to the Cape Town Partnership’s 2014 ‘Lowcarbon Central City Strategy’, commercial buildings account for 44% of Cape Town CBD’s overall carbon emissions. Can you imagine what it would be like if all of the offices, hotels, and retail outlets in the CBD started to reduce their energy

Even seemingly small things, like having a pot plant on a balcony, contribute towards a city’s greenness but there are more striking options too, such as green roofs

10 – ReSource May 2015

What ideas have inspired you on your own international travels? One of the biggest


What are the challenges and opportunities of working towards zero waste?

use collectively? We would be a much more resilient city. Coupled with the idea of waste reduction, we would be able to spend less on importing primary goods, and could produce our own goods with our own recycled products. This idea bodes well not only for the environment, but also for the economy, where jobs and skills development opportunities could be created in the conversion of waste to usable products.

sources of inspiration for me has been seeing cities that produce what they consume, and use waste to regenerate supplies of food, fuel, and other resources. It reduces reliance on raw materials having to be brought in, and reduces waste being taken out of cities. By supporting the concept of a closed-loop urban ecosystem we can all benefit from more cyclical thinking. Internationally, this is where more and more cities are heading. It’s often pointed out that things that are meant to help us protect the environment (such as organic food, biodegradable soap and solar energy) are expensive, while everything that is bad for us and the earth is

often cheap. How do we get around this issue? That is definitely a challenge, particularly when it comes to healthy eating and locally produced food. For those on lower or no incomes in our city, it is very difficult to access healthy eating options that match up with affordability, quantity and health targets all in one. More and more though, it’s getting cheaper to go green, whether for food or consumables. Many stores are starting awareness campaigns to demonstrate when organic products are priced at the same levels as non-organic products, which helps consumers make better choices. Solving this challenge will take new ways of thinking about design, price points, inputs and other factors of production for actual goods made, and awareness campaigns to promote the benefits to communities for buying local. Food produced in the Cape Town suburb of Phillippi, for instance, stands to benefit the local area through healthy eating, on-site employment, education for young students and more. Initiatives such as community gardens are also a big possibility. In the Cape Town City Bowl area (of which the CBD is part), we have the Oranjezicht City Farm and Tyisa Nabanye

Landfill – both non-profit projects which grow and celebrate local food, culture and community through urban farming. The city has also recently established a fruit and vegetable garden in The Company’s Garden in the middle of the CBD. There’s a wave of these types of community gardens now starting to emerge across the urban landscape and we ask people to support these. Or subscribe to the Harvest of Hope project. Or start to grow your own – even an apartment balcony can accommodate a few pots. Be mindful of your waste and recycle – or start a recycling project in your office, apartment building or street. These things create and help to integrate communities and stimulate the ‘sharing economy’ so critical towards achieving a zero-waste society.

The Mother City is making great strides towards going green; home to the Green Building Council of South Africa, the tourism haven was also World Design Capital 2014

What is the ‘tipping point’ that will influence general opinion that it’s time for zero waste? At this point in South Africa, going green is still largely a financial decision for most. The moral component is growing, but it’s not yet substantial enough to make people say, “We have to do that.” The rands and cents still need to add up. More and more, however, we’re starting to see developers

and operators taking advantage of incentives such as SARS’s Urban Development Zone tax incentive programme to retrofit their existing buildings to be more sustainable. Building owners are starting to see that going green can attract new types of tenants who care more about the work environment that their employees operate in. From better air circulation to better lighting and material

use, green buildings can provide their users with a healthier overall environment. Companies are also increasingly willing to pay more for this, which can benefit strategic developers in the highly competitive South African office space marketplace. The City of Cape Town is also running some really great programmes to incentivise people to shift towards lower waste and energy consumption, such ReSource May 2015 – 11

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The concrete used for infrastructure and commercial buildings is the second-biggest carbon culprit after vehicle emissions

as new rates that let people feed into the electricity grid with their personally generated solar power. This goes hand-in-hand with the idea of increased densification – by bringing more people to live in one place together, we can help create ‘returns to scale’ of local consumption and renewable production. In other words, to be a more sustainable city we need to use the

These ideas always sound great for wealthy nations, but do they work in Africa, where developing nations don’t have the same resources to work with?

government is operating some amazing programmes that work to boost and benefit the idea of local consumption and a closed urban metabolism. In the built environment for example, if you look all across the board, local and provincial government offices are doing that with localised energy metering and monitoring. This supplements their consumerdriven programmes and initiatives that help citizens better equip their homes with devices like solar water heaters. On a national level the newest buildings that the national government is constructing are just fantastic in terms of their environmental credentials and other innovations.

Here in South Africa, green investment still comes largely from the private sector; although, having said that,

Does Africa have an advantage over wealthier nations when it comes to reducing waste?

land more effectively than we currently do.

Whereas a lot of countries that look towards green development have to find ways to keep warm in the winter, South Africa has the opposite problem: how to keep cool in the summer. By activating our resources and innovation in design, South Africans can lead the way in building greener and cooler buildings that can actually use the environment to their advantage. South Africa is joined by a growing number of other African nations, like Ghana and Mauritius (often bundled as an African island in financial analyses) which are also finding new ways to stay green in hotter climates. Together with others from across the continent, South Africa can showcase a new type of building design that can be applied in places with similar climates around the world.

12 – ReSource May 2015

Specialist Waste Management Consultants


Tel: +27 21 982 6570



Jan Palm Consulting Engineers


Site sorting cuts costs Fuel and trucking costs in solid waste management can quickly get out of hand if not properly managed by municipalities. FRANCES RINGWOOD explores how a smart approach to sorting for reuse and recycling, at landfills, could assist manage the risk.


HE COUNCIL FOR Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR’s) easily accessible Municipal Waste Management – Good Practices guide emphasises the costliness of transport in the municipal waste management valuechain. This aspect of solid waste management can be particularly challenging from a management perspective, given its complexity. It’s costliness also ultimately impacts budgets, which need to be reconciled and audited to determine if a local government entity is managing its legally mandated functions effectively. Geography, community structures and differing constituted municipal structures all have significant impact on how municipalities manage their waste transpor t. For example, ser vice levels in South Africa encompass kerbside pickup, organised transpor t to central collection points, community collection and super vision of private disposal (for example, on farms). Types of vehicles employed in the collection process var y too, and these include obvious waste transpor tation vehicles, such as compactors and cage trucks, as well as the less obvious, such as tractor-trailer combinations and bush trucks. In the CSIR’s Good Practices, donkey-car ts, hand-pushed trolleys, bicycles and wheelbarrows are even added to the mix!

more considered and careful management of fleets in order to ensure optimal costs and benefits for the end user. The CSIR’s research suppor ts this, advocating that transpor t vehicles be put to the best use by, for example, weighing the costs of cer tain routes; exploring alternative transpor tation types; dividing fleet duties; and keeping up regular ser vice inter vals. There exists a wide variety of technologies, products, ser vices and software that can assist in the goal of optimal fleet management. However, one of the best ways to

2008) requires that collection systems be equipped for separation of different materials. Many municipal trucks continue to require adaptation for this purpose, but cost is a pressing consideration – even large metropolitans struggle to meet this requirement. This focus on the need to reduce the amount of waste being taken to landfill is something South Africa’s national government, via the Depar tment of Environmental Affairs, has star ted taking extremely seriously, as was stated by minister Edna Molewa in her March Waste Bicycles offer a Management Summit unique opportunity for communities address at White River. to participate in separation at Innovative thinking source initiatives All aspect of waste manto reduce waste to agement will usually landfill loads intersect at some point. For example, incentivising communities, where members own bicycles, to assist separation at source initiatives is a good way to get communities involved in recycling. This method not only lowers transportation costs, but also helps control the space used at landfills, so that local government isn’t faced with as many problems due to a scarcity of air space and attendant cost concerns arising from landfill expansion. reduce transpor tation costs would be for A new method being pioneered, under better separation procedures to be intro- the banner of a number of brilliant techduced at source sites across the whole nologies, is that of waste-to-energy sysof South Africa (and nor th of its borders) tems which conver t solid waste directly in order to lessen vehicle loads and the to energy. While these systems need to be weighed number of trips taken. by government representatives on the Separation at source basis of their overall cost and environmenA fact that many waste professionals tal benefits, the undeniable advantage know, which has not yet penetrated the of such a system is that it will cut down majority of other sectors, is that South waste transpor t cost drastically, while also African law (Waste Act, Act No. 59 of creating separation-related jobs.

Vehicles using fossil fuels increase waste management costs and are impacted by fluctuating petrol and diesel costs

Fuel costs Vehicles using fossil fuels increase waste management costs and are impacted by fluctuating petrol and diesel costs. Fleet management professionals often advocate

ReSource May 2015 – 13

Hot Seat


Beyond compliance

The A-Thermal team

Local and international firms seeking peace of mind when it comes to responsible hazardous and chemical waste management can rely on A-Thermal Retort Technologies. MD Nicolas Eleftheriades explains how A-Thermal’s environmentally sound solutions deliver world-class results.


N 1996, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) scientist Dr Christos Eleftheriades had a dream: to provide a thermal destruction service to the hazardous and toxic waste management market that would reach the highest global standards of environmental compliance. He believed that the first responsibility of waste management was to “do the job once and correctly”. Today, this legacy lives on through Dr Eleftheriades’ son, Nicolas, who is steering the business into an exciting future where the need to preserve human and environmental health has never been more pressing. What underpins the company’s operation is Dr Eleftheriades’ vision of ethical excellence, which continues to motivate the company’s talented engineering and technical team to deliver a service that meets and exceeds the highest standards for destruction of hazardous and toxic waste.

14 – ReSource May 2015

“In order to maximise gains from our existing accomplishments, we continue to grow the business exponentially. This includes undertaking plant upgrades and looking at ways to treat new waste streams, as well as maintaining our strength as a company with the capacity to develop new technologies in-house,” says the younger Eleftheriades.

Technological difference “A-Thermal has been involved in specialised waste treatment and waste recovery technologies for many years. My father started developing numerous technologies for projects, the first being a soil rehabilitation exercise undertaking for a major petrochemical company. Specialised technology was developed for this project and Dr Christos expanded this technology to the state-ofthe-art treatment plant that is used today to

treat dangerous hazardous and toxic waste in Olifantsfontein,” he continues. At its present capacity, A-Thermal’s thermal desorption plant in Johannesburg treats hundreds of tonnes of hazardous and toxic waste per month, which otherwise would have been incinerated using traditional methods, sent to landfill, exported, or simply dumped. Using desorption technology, also known as pyrolysis, to treat hazardous waste is considered to be far more environmentally friendly and effective when compared with incineration. A-Thermal’s unique technology has a lower carbon footprint when compared to incineration, releasing lower carbon emissions to the atmosphere and preserving air quality. “Our process is better than incineration because we don’t produce the same amount or types of off-gases. When simply burning waste to reduce its mass, carbon

Hot Seat and water are produced; but by applying pyrolysis techniques to waste (i.e. heating in the absence of oxygen), our in-house developed technology results in proven destruction efficiencies that meet the most stringent international standards for waste treatment,” explains Eleftheriades. As a result, the process ensures a mass reduction of original waste stock ranging between 33% and 99%, dependant on water content. The process also boasts a destruction removal efficiency of 99.9999% for rendering the hazardous waste non-hazardous. The reduced residue is free of leachable organic and metallic contaminants and, therefore, conducive to general landfill or it can be utilised as a solid carbon fuel source for coal substitution. “We create a carbon product from our residue. That carbon product can be used as a fuel source, and we are currently investing in research and development to find other reuse channels. And, most importantly, this product is now non-hazardous,” says Eleftheriades. Thermal desorption is not the only technology offered by A-Thermal. The company boasts a range of other tailored plant, chemical, logistical and combination solutions to its clients, including fluidised bed technology – used at the KwaMashu Wastewater Treatment Works in Durban for sewage sludge incineration – as well polychlorinated biphenyl and mercury handling, and treatment plants.

Leading African technology A-Thermal boasts leading, possibly even the best, hazardous and toxic waste management technologies and engineering talent on the African continent. The company has a dedicated team of seven highly qualified engineers on each site. Additionally, the company’s drive, in reducing waste to landfill, will also put it in line for considerable benefits and opportunities as the new amendments to the National Environmental Management: Waste Act (No. 59 of 2008) are effected in the coming year. During March this year, Minister Edna Molewa, of the Depar tment of Environmental Affairs (DEA), announced the DEA has created a vehicle for better waste policy direction called the Committee on Waste Management. The committee’s first order of business will be to discuss ways to encourage separation at source, saving valuable landfill space. Thermal desorption

our clients time and money by providing a solution that promotes business sustainability through long-term risk management. We remove liability so that any company we partner with, or offer our waste treatment services to, can be assured that they won’t face heavy fines or public censure for its waste management practices. “Fur thermore, because A-Thermal’s compliance meets global standards, as opposed to local standards, clients will not need to continuously keep up with the latest legislation changes to be compliant. They can rest assured that we are continuously working to protect the environment and our future. All clients receive certificates of destruction, and A-Thermal can be audited by the client. In addition, our resident pharmacist gives clients expert technical support for medical and pharmaceutical waste products, as Our technology well as overseemeets the criteria of the ing destruction United States of pharmaceutical waste,” says Environmental Eleftheriades.

meets this requirement while also adhering to the strictest environmental regulations for handling hazardous and toxic waste. “When one mixes hazardous and toxic by-products with other inert materials, such as lye (potash), to reduce the volume of the hazardous component, this mixture might pass all the right tests in order to qualify for it to be disposed of at a normal, less expensive landfill facility, as opposed to a specialist facility. However, the fact is that waste continues to contain harmful materials and so it is not the most ethical or environmentally friendly method available; the solution to pollution is not dilution!” explains Eleftheriades.

Meeting global standards

South Africa’s standards for disposing of hazardous and toxic waste are often much more relaxed compared to international standards and environmental regulations because it takes into account cost constraints typical of developing countries and its less mature markets. But, with so many mulProtection Agency, one tinational companies of the highest sets of Fulfilling doing business in South Africa, as well as local standards in the world.” a vision of excellence companies marketNicolas Eleftheriades, MD, ing themselves on the “By taking a A-Thermal Retort Technologies basis of their environlandfill-centric mental stewardship, A-Thermal has identified approach, entities wanting to deal with the market need for a South Africa-based serhazardous waste are only moving hazardvice provider capable of consistently meeting ous substances around so that these global standards. will become someone else’s problem in “We are a fully certified ISO 14001 comthe future. pany and we are affiliated to South Africa’s “At A-Thermal, we permanently destroy Chemical and Allied Industries Association. toxic and hazardous waste, completely Also, we have embarked on the developremoving the danger that waste poses ment of a fully integrated management to human health and the environment,” system, aimed for implementation by the says Eleftheriades. end of this year, which will add compliance Ultimately, partnering with A-Thermal is a to ISO 9001 and OHSAS 18001 standards guarantee of a higher standard of hazardous and toxic waste managers, providing and requirements to the current ISO 14001 total compliance assurance when it comes compliance criteria. to measuring corporate and municipal enviBeyond that, our technology meets the ronmental impacts. criteria of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, one of the highest sets of standards in the world – which is also comparable to the European specifications,” explains Eleftheriades. Danie Goosen +27 (0)71 480 9342 “Yes, our services may be more expensive www.athermal.co.za • +27 (0)11 316 1800 in the short term but, ultimately, we save

ReSource May 2015 – 15


Increasing post-consumer

1000 Post-consumer packaging recycling rates 21% 900 18% are generally repor ted800 as a percentage of 700 recovered materials (Graphs 1 to 3). The 600 non-recycled por tion of 500recovered material may be an indication 400 of poor-quality recy300 clables, which are not 200 suitable for recycling due to contamination.100 Alternatively, it may 0 be an indication of a lack of processing '05/'06 '06/'07 capacity, or suitable technology options, to process the recovered materials. Kilotonnes of glass


ECENT STATISTICS on recycling of post-consumer packaging suggest that South Africa recycled 50.5% of all post-consumer packaging waste in 2012. As with most developing countries, these encouraging recycling figures would not have been achieved without an active informal sector. An estimated 70-90% of packaging waste recycled in South Africa is sourced by the informal sector, while only 3.3% urban households are reported to recycle a fair amount of recyclables on a regular basis.

A CSIR team* has prepared a study on the growth potential of packaging recycling in South Africa. The findings are presented below.

Separation at source Increasing recycling of post-consumer packaging waste will depend on increased 26% of households in waste sepapar ticipation 40% 24% 35% ration at source initiatives. The actual, and perceived, barriers to household recycling Recycled must be addressed, in order to facilitate the required behavioural change to achieve Not recycled better par ticipation rates by households. Municipalities, as the custodians of municipal solid waste, must create an enabling '07/'08 08/'09 09/'10 10/'11 environment for collection of source-separated recyclables from households, while

Figure 1 Glass packaging recycling and recovery rates 2005/6 – 2010/11 (Source: Urban Earth, 2013

GRAPH 1 Glass packaging recycling and recovery rates 2005/6 – 2010/11 Source: Urban Earth, 2013

GRAPH 2 Paper recycling rates in South Africa as a percentage of recoverable paper and cardboard Source: PRASA, 2013









Not recycled







Million tonnes of paper

Kilotonnes of glass


1000 900 800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0


58% 57.5%




Recycled Not recycled

1 0.5 0 2008





Figure 2 Paper recycling rates in South Africa as a percentage of recoverable paper and cardboar (Source: PRASA, 2013) Figure 1 Glass packaging 16 – ReSource May 2015 recycling and recovery rates 2005/6 – 2010/11 (Source: Urban Earth, 2013)


waste recycling ensuring that the needs of households are addressed. However, improved collection of recyclables will not, by itself, achieve the goal of improved recycling rates in the absence of end-use markets for the recovered materials. The market demand is highest for pure recyclates that fit into existing manufacturing processes. A demand for increased recyclable and recycled content of consumer goods needs to be created throughout the value chain. An assessment, to estimate the economic value of the resources currently being recovered through recycling in South Africa, found that R8.2 billion wor th of resources are recovered and recycled back into the economy (based on 2012 data). This value could increase to R25.2 billion, if all the recyclable material going to landfill could be recovered.

In South Africa, R8.2 billion worth of resources are recovered and recycled back into the economy

The trend in the developed world is to move away from refillable or reusable packaging, to one-way alternatives in suppor t of the latest lifestyle trends – convenience and consumption on the move (i.e. smaller pack sizes). A comparison of post-consumer packaging recycling rates achieved by different countries is provided in Graph 4 as this

Thousand Tonnes of plastic

Global trends in packaging and recycling

provides an indication of what could reasonably be achieved in South Africa, provided that the barriers are removed. Key issues facing increased recycling and recover y, globally, include: • increased efficiency in material recover y and recycling • i mproved feedstock management, including increased access to recyclables (quantity) and to clean recyclables (quality) 1 600 • design for dismantling and1recycling, in 400 17.8% 200 response to the increasing 1complexity of 1 000 products and related wastes.


A global trend – and an issue which 200 has now emerged in South Africa – is 0 2009 that of resource efficiency and the value of waste as a secondar y resource. The recover y of waste and reintroduction

*Compiled by Suzan Oelofse, Linda Godfrey, 2010 2011 2012 Anton Nahman and Wilma Str ydom

For a full list of references, please contact the editor at frances@3smedia.co.za. Figure 3 Plastics recycling and recovery rates for 2009-2012 (Source: Plastics|SA, 2013)

GRAPH 4 Comparison of recycling rates between countries

Post-consumer packaging waste recycling rates 2010/2011 Note: Metal figures provided for Brazil and Australia only refer to aluminium cans Adapted from: EUROPEN [2014]; USEPA [2010], APC [2011]; BMI (2013); Chagas and Neto [2011]


1 600 17.8%




80 70

1 200 1 000


% Recycled

Thousand Tonnes of plastic


Conclusions and recommendations

GRAPH 3 Plastics recycling and recovery rates for 2009- 2012 Source: Plastics|SA, 2013

1 400


of these resources back into the South African manufacturing sector provides significant oppor tunity for local economic growth. However, recycling rates are influenced by the quality of recovered materials and the economic viability of recycling operations. Increasing recycling rates in South Africa requires inter ventions on both the supply and demand sides of the recycling value chain. That is, inter ventions aimed at both securing an economically viable supply of recylable materials, and at ensuring demand for recycled materials. On the supply side, it is essential to ensure a steady stream of recyclable materials as a feedstock to the recycling process. The following will be required to achieve this: • investment in collection infrastructure • creation of entrepreneural oppor tunities, for example in collection and sor ting of activities • policies and incentives driving separation and collection system at the household and municipal levels. 19.9% On the demand side, 18.4% 18.9% innovation is required in developing uses for recycled materials within the domestic economy. This canRecycled be achieved by replacing virgin materials with recyclate within existing products, or Not theRecycled development of new products altogether.

60 50

EU -15 (2011)


EU -12 (2011)


USA (2010)



Australia (2011)



800 600

Not Recycled






South Africa (2011)

0 Paper

Figure 3 Plastics recycling and recovery rates for 2009-2012 (Source: Plastics|SA, 2013)

Post-consumer packaging waste recycling rates 2010/2011





Brazil (2010)

EU-15 = Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the UK EU-12 = Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria ReSource May 2015 –


Figure 4 Comparison of recycling rates between countries. (Adapted from: EUROPEN [2014]; USEPA [2010], APC [2011]; BMI (2013); Chagas and Neto [2011]) Note: Metal figures provided


Recycling more than plastic Waste industry nonprofit association Polyco, the Polyolefin Recycling Company, has had a successful year, growing resources with smart financial work.


T POLYCO’S AGM held in April this year, CEO Mandy Naudé addressed board members, the media, and other stakeholders, sharing recent successes and Polyco’s plans for meeting even greater heights in future. “Our work over the past year has resulted in consolidation and growth. We focused on putting essential business processes and infrastructure in place, establishing a small but effective team to bring Polyco’s message to industry,” she explained. “Once that was achieved, we focused on implementing our project funding support programme, communicating the positive impact of polyolefin recycling, establishing networks within industry and government, and facilitating the linking of collectors and recyclers in order to grow recycling volumes,” said Naudé.

Recycling 2, 4, and 5

Polyco Board: Polyco CEO Mandy Naudé (centre-left) and chairman Jeremy Mackintosh (third from right) standing with the board members

recycling levy funds are required. When Polyco funds a project, we either provide a grant or an interest-free loan that must be paid back over a three-year loan period. While recycling HDPE, LD and LLDPE and PP, we are also able to recycle these repaid loan funds. In 2015, we wil be able to reinvest R2.5 million of repaid loan funds and by 2020 this will have grown to R25 million. Polyco’s funding for projects has grown and, now that

all local and imported polymer purchases, by making this compulsory and no longer voluntary. Such measures would prevent free-riders from benefiting from the goodwill of other packaging industry members. The same view is held by Packaging SA (previously Pacsa). Naudé points out that South Africa’s material responsibility organisations (MROs) will all be affected by the proposed legislation. MROs, including the likes of Polyco, Petco, PCSP, Collect-a-Can and Prasa, have demonstrated a successful track record over the years, achieving the highest recycling rate of 51% for paper and packaging. Their management of the levies has proved successful and it would make the most sense to build further on this success so as to capitalise on existing hard-won market confidence.

“Since inception, we’ve invested R17 million into recycling value-chain projects that will divert 48 000 tonnes of plastic polymers 2, 4, and 5 from landfill.”

Three years ago, Polyco was established by the polyolefin packaging industry specifically for the purpose of growing the recycling of plastics identified with the 2, 4, and 5 polymer identification codes. These codes designate high-density polyethylene (HDPE), low-density and linear low-density polyethylene (LDPE and LLDPE), and polypropylene (PP) respectively. They include milk containers, plastic bags, and yoghurt receptacles. “Since inception, we’ve invested R17 million into recycling value-chain projects that will divert 48 000 tonnes of plastic polymers 2, 4, and 5 from landfill, over the next three years, and create 558 formal and 3 750 informal jobs,” she said. Polyco has implemented a five-year tool to operationalise project implementation to reach the Industry Waste Management Plan target of recycling 238 000 tonnes in 2020. “Our projections indicate that we may even exceed that target but, to do this, sufficient

we have been registered as an NPC with SARS and are not subject to income tax, we are able to invest even more funds into new projects to be able to collect and recycle greater tonnages,” explained Naudé. The money that Polyco collects fom the polyolefin packaging industry is continually ploughed back into recycling and green jobs – growing while doing good.

National Pricing Strategy Recently, government mooted its new National Pricing Strategy legislation, asking for comments from industry. Polyco’s strongly held position is that government needs to continue with its industry-managed recycling levy on packaging converters for

Path ahead Polyco will be calling for collection funding proposals from 24 April 2015 until 29 May 2015 and applicants will be extensively evaluated before the successful projects will be announced in August this year. Polyco will also be on a drive to recruit new supporting members from brand owners and retailers. If brand owners and retailers insist their suppliers pay the current voluntary sustainability levy, all MROs will benefit, greater recycling volumes will be achieved, the secondary recycling economy will grow – creating employment opportunities – and South Africa will take a significant step towards to becoming a greener, more sustainable nation.

ReSource May 2015 – 19


Waste Beneficiation

Hammarsdale’s tool for


The main building medium to be used in the construction of the facility is the compressed earth block materials developed by USE-IT for sustainable building

one of the available industrial sites in the Hammarsdale area, considering the number of textile factories that had closed down. However, after extensive property searches in the area, by eThekwini municipality and USE-IT, by the end of 2011, a suitable site had still not been secured. Some industrial sites had sub-let portions of their factory space to smaller industries and it would not have been possible to locate a recycling centre adjacent to them. Other industrial building owners had signed WHYTE* leases with schools, community centres, churches, and creches, simply to ensure some tenure on the property to stop the extensive ransacking and stripping of abandoned sites, which was common in the area. When USE-IT got involved in the planning, at the early stages of the project, it was aware of the financial constraints impacting other community buyback centres in the greater eThekwini area that were closer to the markets for the recycled materials. Considering the spatial isolation of the Hammarsdale region from these markets, it was realised that the financial viability of a similar centre in this region of the city would be even more affected by costs of storage and transportation. At this stage, the thinking turned to local beneficiation of recycled materials to increase the value of products before transportation to secondary processing centres, to increase the financial viability of the recycling sector in the area. From this point, the concept changed from the development of a buyback centre to a more robust Waste Beneficiation Centre.

The Hammarsdale Waste Beneficiation Centre in KwaZulu-Natal is a public-private partnership case study for creating green economic . development hubs for the recycling industry, writes CHRIS


NE OF THE flagship projects currently being developed by Durbanbased section 21 company USE-IT, with R30 million funding from the Green Fund, is the Hammarsdale Waste Beneficiation Centre (WBC). The concept of this project is to develop a completely green industrial centre for processing waste. Public sector funding is leveraged to create a green hub, attracting private sector investment and operational capacity. The concept is to build the entire facility as green as possible, the main structures being built with environmentally-friendly materials and recycled products. The primary focus for the site is to address plastics, e-waste and glass recycling, and assist in the City of Durban’s source-separation programme. USEIT is building a training centre and an incubation centre that will be used to house community-based waste upcycling and recycling projects, whose products will be distributed through the site’s showroom and shop. The Hammarsdale WBC is a first-of-itskind showcase to illustrate how publicprivate partnerships can unlock green economic development.

Hammarsdale and Mpumalanga township areas of eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality. With the demise of many of the textiles industries located in this region, there were a significant number of skilled individuals unable to find work. There are still other industrial sectors here that create significant waste volumes, which cause more economic pressures in the area, considering that there is no local waste disposal facility. Storage, handling and transportation costs of waste further strain the private sector development in the area. The initial thinking for the area involved the development

The project idea started in early 2011, due to the need to address waste issues and the unemployment problems in the Hammarsdale and Mpumalanga township areas of eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality

Project background The project idea started in early 2011, due to the need to address waste issues and the unemployment problems in the

20 – ReSource May 2015

of a small waste buyback centre to help alleviate some of this pressure. Proposals were submitted to the Corridor Development Fund, managed by the KZN Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (KZN CoGTA), to develop the buyback centre, and the project was awarded R1.2 million, in the third quarter of 2011 for minor infrastructural costs, and a further R3.3 million for operational costs and education campaigns. The idea was to use

Concept development Considering the many other projects that USE-IT had developed in creating recycled, green and sustainable building products, the concept grew into a greenfield development, where the goal was to build the entire facility

as green as possible. The main structures are to be built with environmentally-friendly compressed earth blocks, and many conventional building materials will be replaced with recycled products, including door and window frames, ceilings, insulation, guttering and facer boards, roof tiles, cornicing, skirting, batons, and purlins. This can be further enhanced with storm-water attenuation systems, rainwater harvesting, biodigesters – providing methane for water heating, solar lighting, rooftop photovoltaic power, on-site composting and more.

Site selection Considering that city officials and the project team were unable to identify existing land and infrastructure for the project, an assessment was done to identify available land in the region for a greenfield development. A 4.3 hectare site was identified by eThekwini municipality in the Mpumalanga F township area that was adjacent to existing industrial developments and appeared suitable. Architects were then appointed and, by March 2012, we had the first

concept drawings of the site developed. The estimated cost for the development of the phased concept was R29.6 million, and the completion of the concept design and cost estimate coincided with the first call for proposals from the Department of Environmental Affairs’ Green Fund. USE-IT was shortlisted in the first call and, following a site visit from their projects assessment team, was informed that the funding application was successful. The WBC’s development is aimed at creating a hub where a phased approach is possible, allowing for future expansion and additional buy-in and collaboration from the private sector. The first phase of the project was to cater for the civil engineering, roads and platforming of the entire site to accommodate future expansion. First phase construction is to include the administration offices, showroom or retail centre, and all associated parking and facilities. The purpose of the incubators is, specifically, to address community development projects in upcycling – specifically manufacturing products from e-waste, glass, textiles,


Waste Beneficiation

Guttering made from recycled e-waste

and plastic. Having a showroom and retail centre would not only accommodate visitors expected at the site, but also allow for the creation of a shared market development and distribution centre. It is relatively easy to train people in the manufacturing of high-quality upcycled products, but marketing and distribution are often the downfall of these community development projects. USE-IT would work with its network of private and public sector organisations to develop green procurement options and corporate gifting concepts.

Green credentials The main aim of the project was not just to build a centre of green economic ReSource May 2015 – 21


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in the HOT SEAT “There is a major paradigm shift towards providing a sustainable one-stop solution for e-waste recycling.”

Malcolm Whitehouse, sales manager at Desco Electronic Recyclers

Email your details to subs@3smedia.co.za to recieve a copy of RêSource every quarter.

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is printed on 100% recycled paper

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When you dump used motor oil into drains, or dispose of it unsafely, you’re not only threatening the environment, you’re threatening your well-being too. Used oil is a hazardous waste that can contaminate drinking water. Always use ROSE approved collectors and recyclers to dispose of your used oil. For more information call the ROSE Foundation on 021 448 7492. Email: usedoil@iafrica.com or visit: www.rosefoundation.org.za



Beneficiation centres create jobs

development, but also to build it with green materials. When we started to look at the design issues, we addressed not only active and passive components of green building design, but also brought in a few outside-the-box concepts to really crank it up a notch. The main building medium to be used in the construction of the facility is the compressed earth block materials developed by USE-IT for sustainable building. Using available soils (and where possible spoil material from cut and fill operations to create a 100% recycled block) and a blend of 20%–30% crushed inert waste, such as ceramics and builder’s rubble, specially-designed equipment compresses the materials into blocks using hydraulic pressure. The blocks manufactured are three to five times stronger than conventional hollow concrete blocks (depending on the clay content of the soils) in terms of minimum compressive strength requirements of SABS standards. Compressed earth blocks reduce CO2 emissions created in production by 40% and 85% compared to cement blocks and bricks respectively and have 70% better insulation value than cement blocks. What this means is not only do you build with a lower carbon footprint, in terms of the embodied energy, but the high thermal efficiency means the heating and cooling costs of units built with these materials will be less, for the duration of the life of that structure, saving additional electricity costs and associated carbon emissions. Building the superstructure of the facility with environmentally-friendly blocks is only the start of the green development, as the intention is to replace a number of other conventional building materials with recycled products. For the administrative buildings and incubator/training centre, USE-IT hopes to replace concrete roof tiles with the recycled Cyclocor roof tiles, manufactured from sand and recycled plastics. USE-IT was instrumental in the implementation of this project development and is hopeful that, through its current restructuring, the production facilities will continue to manufacture. USE-IT has also assisted

recycled plastics extrusion companies that are manufacturing extrusion components, which are able to replace door frames, window frames, window ledges, skirting boards, pelmets, cornices, battens, purlins, facer boards, guttering components, water pipes, and other smaller components. The gutter systems, for example, are manufactured from the waste plastics from electronic waste, specifically the acrylonitrile butadiene styrene from old monitor casings. In addition to green materials replacements, USE-IT also plans to implement further greening components in the development, including, inter alia, permeable road and parking areas, to reduce stormwater runoff; rainwater harvesting with solar pump systems, to channel harvested water into the toilets and showers; grey water recycling systems; bio-digestor units processing the sewage from ablutions, to create methane gas for powering hot-water generation for the ablution showers; stormwater attenuation ponds, for impoundments of available rainwater to use in downstream irrigation of organic gardens and compost facilities; photovoltaic roof-top solar power generation systems; swale and permaculture systems and indigenous landscaping.

Coming soon The design of the site will have to be done concurrently with the environmental assessment, to ensure that we get the project back on track for breaking ground in mid-2015. USE-IT has already engaged with several partners for the site on these waste focus areas, but will also engage at a national level with responsible recycling bodies, such as The Glass Recycling Company, Plastics Federation and Petco, to actively participate in the project’s success. Ultimately the idea is to establish this centre as a key model to local development of local resources using local skills and unlocking the value chain in the recycling sector. *Chris Whyte is the managing director of USEIT: eThekwini Waste Materials Recovery Industry Development Cluster, Durban, South Africa. For the full version of this paper, contact chriswhyte@use-it.co.za.

ReSource May 2015 – 23

Megan – Transporter, PE

Pieter – Recycler, PTA

Midrand Depot


Midrand Depot

Our Waste Tyre Management Plan is proving to be a success, over and over again. Of the 200 SMMEs we’re required to establish within 5 years, 170 are already up and running. Add to that the impact we’re making on our environment and you could say it’s a win­win­win situation. For more of our remarkable achievements, statistics and stories worth celebrating, please visit our website

Johanna – Depot Manager, Mossel Bay

Lebogang – Transporter, JHB

Cutting tyres

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Waste Beneficiation

Food waste for worms Vermiculture is the process of naturally composting organic waste by using earth worms. It may hold the answer to diverting our food waste from landfill, creating jobs, feeding people, and mitigating the harmful effects of methane on climate change. BY BEATRIX KNOPJES


ESEARCH SHOWS that 9 million tonnes of food, which translates into 30% of agricultural production, goes into waste ever y year. The economical cost of this waste – coupled with the fact that 70% of South Africans live in conditions of food insecurity – is astronomical, however, this is secondar y to the real threat of methane gas that food waste produces in landfills. According to the CSIR, 30% of all food produced is wasted before it even reaches the consumer. Vermiculture, or worm farming, may be the solution. The process is simple; organic waste is layered in a tub with “brown” material such as shredded paper, wood chips or even dr y grass. This mixture is left for a couple of days to ferment and then fed to the worms. Red wiggler ear thworms (Eisenia fetida) are used because they process organic waste the most efficiently.

Vermicasting The worms recycle the organic food waste via a process of aerobic composting, or vermicasting. They are housed in worm bins manufactured from powder-coated steel and fine mesh, covered in shadecloth to ensure sufficient air flow. The bins have a front door and lid that allow the worms to be fed easily. The result is vermicasting, a natural compost rich in nutrients that boosts crop production.

26 – ReSource May 2015

Feeding the worms

Worm farms suit a range of applications, from small-scale urban farming to subsistence farming on small holdings. Most impor tantly, the process offers considerable cost savings for large commercial farms because the vermicasting entirely replaces conventional synthetic fer tiliser. The large-scale commercial vermicasting operation is capable of producing up to 800 kg of organic soil conditioner per four to six week rotation, and limitless amounts of liquid fer tilizer. The process is entirely self-sustaining; once the worm

farm is in place, all it requires is a supply of food waste, water, and mulch.

Job creation The scope for job creation is also significant. Food waste can be collected from restaurants for example and resold. It has been estimated that one tonne of organic waste has the potential to create three jobs. The gold mine of vermicasting lies in the potential it opens for organic farming, which has long been seen as expensive

Waste Beneficiation produce product for market. Local produce drastically reduces transportation costs and time. Also, because these kinds of agriculture are producing a range of crops rather than a specific one, the danger of crop failure is dramatically reduced.”

Legal challenge

A vegetable patch fed with vermicastings and the Food for Trees community garden Gina Shoemaker demonstrates how organic waste is fermented to feed the worms

and unsustainable on a large scale. Vermicasting is 100% organic, utilising natural decomposition processes to their full advantage for considerably less than commercial farming. According to Gina Shoemaker (owner of Green Earth Landscaping), who specialises in the manufacture and distribution of worm

farms, Afrigrow Development (a non-profit organisation) uses worm farms on a large scale and is able to employ up to 95 people per farm. She adds that manure can also be used as organic material to feed the worms. “With the correct strategies and cooperation in place, communities are able to not only feed themselves, but also

The problem, she says, lies in South African legislation: “If a farmer wants to market this type of produce as ‘organic’ they have to get cer tification from the European Union. This is a costly and lengthy process that involves quite a bit of testing to guarantee that the produce has indeed been farmed organically and is free of pesticides. But, the advantage is that, because the vermicast is so rich in nutrients and produces healthy plants faster, the need for genetic modification is eliminated.” According to the National Organic Waste Composting strategy: “Poor environmental management of composting and related organics processing facilities can typically result in one or more of the following environmental problems: air quality impacts, namely odours and par ticulate matter, potential hazards: fire and explosions, water and soil pollution, the presence of vermin in excessive numbers, excessive levels of noise from equipment (such as shredders and traffic), wind-blown litter, nuisances arising from par ticulate matter from deliver y trucks and ear thmoving equipment, and production of contaminated organic products.” Government has placed much emphasis on the need to diver t waste, such as tyres and electronic equipment, from landfills. The legislation surrounding organic waste diversion is still in its infancy and, yet, is arguably more urgent because decomposition of organic material produces methane gas in staggering quantities. ReSource May 2015 – 27

Engineering a Greener Future

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Waste Beneficiation

Feeding the grid


As a developing country, South Africa could benefit immensely from a concerted effort to reduce food waste to landfill.

ECENT LEGISLATION promulgated in Massachusetts has instituted a cap in limiting the amount of food that goes to landfill. In South Africa, and many other developing countries, no such cap exists, although these countries could benefit enormously from the increased energy and availability of nourishment that better food supply chain management would bring. Part of the South African government’s latest round of amendments to the National Environmental Management: Waste Act is to set guidelines for reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfill, encouraging reuse, recycling and separation at source wherever possible. This opens the way for numerous initiatives to promote a circular economy in South Africa.

and removing this contaminant could yield as much as £3 billion more value from recyclate.” If the result of feeding hungry people is that food is devalued then perhaps subsidies could be put in place to balance the difference in the agricultural supply chain?

Household food waste

Multiple intervention points

When it comes to food wastage, the idea that good food goes to landfill may seem counter-intuitive: surely only food that’s gone bad is thrown away? International research shows that sell-by dates are often more arbitrary than many believe, and manufacturers and distributors tend to err on the side of caution when labelling. Food banks are one repository where food that is still good, but past its sell-by date, can be distributed to those in need. The argument that this practice downgrades the value of foodstuffs for markets and farmers isn’t valid. As one British government study has shown: “Local authorities can realise significant savings by tackling food waste

That’s just looking at the problem from the household angle. Agriculture, grocery retail, food distribution, catering and hospitality, and food and beverage manufacturing are all areas ripe for targeted intervention. For example, sometimes food that looks unattractive or small is thrown away because it won’t look aesthetically appealing on supermarket shelves. Again, food banks could serve as a repository. In fact, about 50% of the food grown annually never even gets eaten. There are a variety of creative local solutions already in existence to tackle the problem. One such example is the SEED awardwinning Waste-to-Food project, which uses



Sometimes food that is perfectly good is thrown away because it doesn’t meet the aesthetic standards required for food packed on supermarket shelves

food waste from chain stores, combined with proprietary technology, earthworms and farmland, to create vermicompost which can be sold as a high-value additive to fertiliser manufacturers. At the same time, the initiative empowers local entrepreneurs from disadvantaged communities.

Energy from food With South Africa’s latest round of loadshedding, another potential method for diverting food waste before it reaches landfill is to use it for energy. This can be achieved by using local wastewater treatment works’ anaerobic digestion to process foodstuffs along with sewage. This method causes the release of methane, which can be captured at the works and converted to energy for use by that plant for its machinery. If food waste goes to landfill on the other hand, that methane is released into the atmosphere and becomes a harmful greenhouse gas. Food waste is the biggest contributor to landfill volumes, costing governments billions to store waste on land that could be used more profitably. Ultimately, there are many ways to begin tackling the problem, and, with the South African government’s new emphasis on creating a green economy, now is the most opportune time to start these initiatives.

ReSource May 2015 – 29

Waste to Energy

Biogas fuels a revolution The first cost-efficient biogas-to-energy municipal wastewater project in South Africa in recent memory has been effective for more than two years. Jason Gifford* tells FRANCES RINGWOOD about this unique achievement. What first inspired WEC projects to take on cogeneration in wastewater treatment? JG WEC has worked in the water and wastewater sector for many years. Part of this work has included the upgrading and refurbishment of existing anaerobic digesters and the supply of new mechanical and electrical equipment for new digesters in wastewater treatment works. It was a natural progression to move into the use of biogas.

How much of the Johannesburg Northern Wastewater Treatment Works, where WEC was awarded its first cogeneration contract, runs off its own power? Do you need to store energy ever? The Northern WWTW’s three generators are capable of supplying just under 15% of the works running electrical demand. Ultimately the CHP facility can supply up to 55% of the works own power requirement, once all of the anaerobic digesters have been upgraded and all sludge is Jason Gifford looks at an engine inside one of the two CHP generators at the Driefontein WWTW. Plant operator Sydney Makwinji, who has extensive electrical and mechanical training, stands by

30 – ReSource May 2015

treated anaerobically. Energy is stored as biogas in the gas holder, however, this storage only acts as buffering capacity and not significant storage.

view our world leading water technologies to assess whether these can assist economic growth among our SADC neighbours and beyond.

In Nhlanhla Nene’s most recent budget speech, he announced that energy prices would be adjusted to become more cost reflective – how will the changes to South Africa’s electricity tariff structure aid the uptake of CHP technology?

The Johannesburg WWTW is such a case study. Is there scope for other African countries to benefit from WEC’s CHP methods? Have you done research into supplying your services outside our borders? There is a lot of

This means that the price of energy will increase, which benefits the economics of biogas CHP and other renewable energy plants greatly.

scope for many more of these types of plants across Africa. WEC is looking at various opportunities in Southern and East Africa.

What could the national benefits be, if cogeneration were used at more wastewater treatment plants around the country? WEC estimates that

What new developments will WEC be introducing to its portfolio as a result of the company’s experience?

the potential saving, from large WWTWs only, is in the region of 30 MWe. If CHP plants were built at the large WWTW, the energy displaced by these plants would be available for use in the area surrounding the WWTWs. South Africa’s neighbours frequently send delegates to

WEC is actively pursuing biogas projects in South Africa and neighbouring states as far afield as Kenya. These projects are not restricted to wastewater treatment works only, but include food processors, the agricultural sector and municipal solid waste.

Although the Northern WWTW is a fully operational plant, it is also a ‘pilot’ in a sense – how will Driefontein function as WEC’s new flagship plant? Driefontein will generate significantly more power relative to the running demand of the works. The Driefontein project is more typical of a CHP installation at a WWTW, in that all of the sludge is treated by

anaerobic digestion as opposed to the Northern WWTW, which is currently refurbishing existing digesters to increase the total volume of sludge treated anaerobically.

While Driefontein is being commissioned only later this year, would you be prepared to share some detail about the project? The plant consists of two 376 kWe Guascor gas engines with full heat recovery. The CHP plant has been designed to accommodate the future expansion of DWWTW. The gas conditioning system is supplied for the future demand and will not require upgrading. The balance of the plant has been designed to accommodate a third identical engine. The plant utilises all of the thermal energy available to heat not only the digesters in the adjacent complex, but also the biological desulfurisation process.

The waste-to-energy sector is generally aware of WEC’s incredible accomplishments from a technological point of view; do you have checks in place to measure the company’s environmental contribution and how does a concern for resource scarcity drive your processes? WEC is actively developing projects around renewable sources such as sewage sludge and industrial waste products – whether in the form of food processing waste or from agricultural projects, among others. These various projects, once commissioned, will significantly contribute to South Africa’s green economy. *Jason Gifford is the contracted head:Biogas-to-Energy for WEC Projects

Waste to Energy


breakthrough South Africa is developing its own local technology to turn waste into electricity. The cost-recovery opportunities of such a project are compelling – including saving landfill capacity, producing a valuable commodity and minimising pollution. FRANCES RINGWOOD gets the story.


ANY PEOPLE are unaware that the South African government has legislation in place that says citizens and private companies must separate their waste for recycling. The reason for this is because we need to reduce waste to landfill,” asserts Garth McFarlane, founder of PlasWEn, a recently established, wholly South African owned company that has established its own proprietary plasma-based technology for turning solid and wet waste into energy. He adds that perhaps a more important reason to want to separate waste is because mixed waste streams result in a far greater likelihood that toxic compounds enter the country’s groundwater. “If you think about a tin of baked beans, for example, we decant those beans into a bowl to store them in the fridge rather than leave them in the tin because, once a tin is opened, the food inside is exposed to oxygen. The mixture of oxygen, food acid and tin forms a chemical reaction that will contaminate the food if it’s left in the tin. If that food is eaten after 24 hours, it will cause diarrhoea. After 72 hours, that food could cause ptomaine poisoning and you would need to be rushed to hospital. When empty tins such as these are thrown in the rubbish bin in conjunction with food waste, that same chemical reaction will occur, with those poisons going to landfill,” he explains. When rain falls on landfills, this and other toxic substances from unseparated waste has the potential to penetrate groundwater reserves linked to the country’s potable supply sources.

Better landfilling As a result of past leakage impacts, the Department of Water and Sanitation has closed a large number rubbish dumps in South Africa over the last seven years, prior to new legislation being introduced. This has resulted in a massive problem for the country, in that it lacks adequate landfill space. When countries overseas were faced with similar problems, the answer was usually incineration, as well as a number of waste-to-energy systems. Up till now, there has not been an adequate, locallydeveloped technology built specifically for reducing waste to landfill by converting waste-to-energy – until the invention of the PlasWEn system. “PlasWEn” stands for “plasma waste-toenergy”. The idea of using plasma-driven

technology to turn waste into energy first came about as a result of McFarlane’s business with the City of Cape Town Municipality, when his other business, Sinkmaster, was consulted to supply food disposal units to manage the city’s surplus of rotting food left over at its farmers’ market. “In an effort to better manage finances, municipal officials wanted to explore if there was some way to get rid of this rotting food. What happened was, when there were disruptions to transport, food had to be delivered to market to show that an order had been filled. This was the case even if there had been delays on route and that food was rotten. Food dumping costs are massive, particularly when it comes to the logistics of moving it. At the time, the city was dumping about 12 tonnes of food waste per day. “Most food waste consists of about 15% fibre and 85% food waste. Our food disposal units can liquidise such waste and send it down the drain. Usually, this is good for wastewater treatment because the bacteria that feed on sludge feed on the same stuff in food waste, and also the fibre in food waste helps clean fatty deposits out of sewerage pipe networks. However, we had to refuse that contract because Cape Town is an extremely flat city and the sewer lines might have been blocked had we tried to pump such a large amount of food waste through the system,” explains McFarlane.

Problem solving Shortly thereafter, McFarlane read a case study in a local newspaper where the PlasWEn technology is applicable for converting wet and solid waste to energy for the private and public sectors – engine capacities are 100% scalable

ReSource May 2015 – 31

Waste to Energy University of the Witwatersrand and a scientist from the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) were launching a system capable of converting vegetable matter, paper and other forms of municipal solid waste into a syngas. Syngas, or synthesis gas, is a fuel gas mixture consisting primarily of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and, very often, some carbon dioxide. A syngas can potentially be run through a biogas system, and this creates a synfuel. “After reading about the case study, I approached the Necsa scientist with Cape Town’s food waste difficulty in the back of my mind. At that stage, the Necsa scientist, Dr Izak Jacobus van der Walt, who had developed the intellectual property for Necsa’s plasma technology, and I began discussing the idea. At the time, I was engaging with a number

of municipal clients marketing Sinkmaster products,” explains McFarlane. Overseas, the technology is already well established, on a large scale. However, foreign technologies don’t meet the local need for job creation and skills development. Van der Walt and McFarlane recently had a breakthrough in the development of their plant, and launched it to the public for the first time, just over a month ago. “At a demonstration held at Necsa’s Pelindaba facil-

Environmental Affairs, Gauteng Provincial government and representatives from local metropolitan municipalities as well as members of industry. Over two days, we demonstrated how the technology can be used to convert a number of different waste streams. There was interest from both the City of Johannesburg and the City of Tshwane. The City of Cape Town could not attend but requested I do a demonstration at their offices, which I did,” says McFarlane.

“Not only can the technology handle classic landfill problems, like used nappies, but I recently came across a further way the plant might be effective for the disposal of municipal sludge.”


When creating any kind of waste-to-energy, or in this case syngas-to-energy system, not all components of a plant need to be developed in-house, and there are a number of extremely reliable suppliers, both locally and internationally, that provide technology purpose-built for plants. PlasWEn has assessed a number of technology providers and is currently in the process of sourcing: • a Cummins Energy Solutions Business LeanBurn gas-fuelled generator • a Siemens SGT500 industrial gas turbine. The first plant will very likely be built in Tshwane; if that plant increases cost, carbon and energy efficiencies, there is scope for many more such plants to be built, particularly at landfills, in future. For landfill application, material recycling facilities need to be set up to separate tin cans and glass. Everything else can be shredded and fed into the system.

ity, we successfully converted a number of different and combination municipal waste streams into energy,” says McFarlane.

Wastewater application “Not only can the technology handle classic landfill problems, like used nappies, but I recently came across a further way the plant might be effective for the disposal of municipal sludge,” he adds.In South Africa, municipalities often deal with sludge by dispersing it over fields for drying. This can be an unhygienic process if not managed correctly, and, due to factors like staff turnover and difficulties with skills transfer at municipal wastewater works, the process is often not handled in the best way. A further downside to this method is that it requires land, which could otherwise be put to more commercially productive use. “At the Pelindaba demonstration, members from all three tiers of government were in attendance – from the Department of

How it works

At the heart of PlasWEn’s innovation is plasma, which burns at 1 600°C. As a result of this incredibly high temperature, the process produces no air pollution and there is no waste produced after matter has been processed. The plasma torch’s heat burns at 8 000°C in its chamber. As a result, if a larger particle goes through the mechanism and isn’t vaporised instantly, it is exposed to turbulence inside the chamber until it is completely disintegrated.

Case study While not new to the international market, plasma technology is new locally, and municipalities tend to be wary of implementing new technologies. However, it looks like the Tshwane’s Rooiwal wastewater treatment works may possibly be the first site where a PlasWEn plant becomes fully operational On the day that the first plant starts working, McFarlane has promised to share the full story with ReSource. If the first pilot does go ahead at Tshwane, PlasWEn might just be the answer to a capacity challenge which could transform the works into a beacon of productivity.

32 – ReSource May 2015

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Green Buildings

Building around the energy crisis Menlyn Maine is an example of an entire green precinct, built to meet high international environmental standards

Rising energy costs are set to provide further fuel to grow South Africa’s green buildings industry; writes FRANCES RINGWOOD.


N MINISTER OF FINANCE Nhlanhla Nene’s recent National Budget speech, he announced that South Africans’ access to cheap electricity will likely be curtailed as Eskom works with the National Energy Regulator of South Africa to ensure cost-reflective tariffs. Since 2011 the South African Bureau of Standards has had regulations in place to enforce more environmentally sound building practices across the board. The most notable of these is SANS 10400 XA, which requires all new building projects to comply with rigorous resource conservation measures. With appropriate legislation in place, green building is here to stay.

Brian Wilkinson, CE of the GBCSA, has said that his organisation’s official estimates for energy saved on green buildings amount to 34% compared to an old-fashioned edifice. Moreover, gains set in motion through dimin-

sector and contribute towards the government’s goal of creating five million jobs by 2020. Moreover, going green isn’t only good for the job creation bottom line; it’s also good for consumer buy-in. News outlets from the New York Times, Huffington Post, and the Atlantic are hitting on the fact that Millennials and generation-Y consumers gravitate towards brands and products which reflect environmental stewardship and a sense of ecological responsibility. Case studies abound showing businesses that have profited from building greener head offices and moving to green precincts. Standard Bank’s 5 Green Star-rated office building in Rivonia is a case in point. Other South African brands which have experienced the benefits include Vodacom, with its 6 Green Star office in Midrand, and the GBSA’s own office building in Cape Town, featuring carpets made from recycled nylon and fishing nets. Most encouraging of all, South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs is taking the lead in green buildings, having opened the doors to its own 6 Green Starrated building late last year.

Green precincts Whole green precincts are being built, including Menlyn Maine in Pretoria and Century City in Cape Town.

Most encouraging of all, South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs is taking the lead in green buildings, having opened the doors to its own 6 Green Star-rated building late last year

Building green The Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) defines green building as “energy efficient, resource efficient and environmentally responsible. It incorporates design, construction and operational practices that significantly reduce or eliminate the negative impact of development on both the environment and occupants.” However, compliance need not be a strain on either time or resources; one of the most frequently commented upon aspects of green building compliance is that it lowers lifecycle costs by reducing energy use.

ishing operational costs are set to become even more pronounced in future.

Green economy Speaking at a South African Bureau of Standards convention in Midrand, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said green jobs would boost the manufacturing Government has shown its green building support, with its own GBCSA 6 Green Star-rated building


Green building that conserves precious resources, such as energy and water, is a growing business, supported by coherent legislation and set to gain further impetus through government’s ongoing response to South Africa’s energy challenges and the increasing global climate change pressures, more generally. A vast number of businesses, locally and abroad, are responding positively to the trend, each company wanting to show its own commitment to the project of creating more sustainable living and working spaces.

ReSource May 2015 – 33

Cleaner Production

Symbiosis offers savings reports on how a government programme is supporting industry through the latest in its offerings of resource efficiency and cleaner production services.



HE NATIONAL Cleaner Production Centre, South Africa (NCPC-SA) – the national resource efficiency programme of the Department of Trade and Industry – supports industry to save on resources such as water, energy, and input materials through a range of subsidised resource efficiency and cleaner production (RECP) services. In addition to its RECP assessments, industrial energy efficiency project, and internship programme, the NCPC-SA has now added industrial symbiosis to its list of flagship initiatives, through the Industrial Symbiosis Programme (ISP). The NCPC-SA is managing the Gauteng ISP and the KwaZulu-Natal ISP in partnership with the Gauteng and KZN provincial governments and various metros. It supports Western Cape agency GreenCape in the delivery of the province’s ISP project.

companies for the exchange of resources and to identify possible synergies. In the United Kingdom, business networking of this kind is facilitated by the National Industrial Symbiosis Programme (NISP), a free programme established by industrial ecology solutions firm International Synergies Limited. NISP UK provides a webbased platform and other social networking tools and workshops to foster collaboration. Any business can benefit from the initiative, from one-man entrepreneurs to large corporates. The programme has been repli-

Numerous business owners attended the GISP workshops, wanting to learn more about how industrial symbiosis can assist to grow their enterprises

What is ISP? Henry Nuwarinda, NCPC-SA project manager and champion of the ISP programme nationally, defines industrial symbiosis as a business opportunity approach where unused or residual resources (materials, energy, water, waste, assets, logistics, expertise, and similar) of one company are used by another, resulting in resource efficiency gains. “Through the industrial symbiosis (IS) programme, the NCPC-SA engages separate industries in a collective approach to promote competitive advantages involving the physical exchange of materials, energy, water and companies’ by-products. “The key to a successful IS interactive process is to ensure the exchange of resources and information in a collaborative way that results in cost savings and an increase in profits.” The NCPC-SA has hosted a number of workshops, which are a platform to match

cated in over 20 countries, but South Africa is aiming to be one of the world leaders.

Henry Nuwarinda, NCPC-SA project manager and champion of the Industrial Symbiosis Programme

The first KZN workshop, hosted by Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal and the NCPC-SA, involved around 30 companies and identified about 166 resources for exchange, creating 319 potential synergy matches. In the second GISP workshop, hosted in Vanderbijlpark, during March 2015, four companies participated, over 223 resources were discussed, and 590 potential synergies captured. The first workshop (November 2014 in Ekurhuleni) attracted around 50 companies and 244 potential synergies were identified among the participating companies. Even though the programme is still in its infancy, there is a pipeline saving of 298 000 tonnes of waste diversion with R94.8 million private investment and

WISP, KISP and GISP Taking a page out of the NISP’s book, the Western Cape coordinated a programme funded by the Western Cape Depar tment of Economic Development and Tourism, and 200 companies are now part of the network with 1 000 underutilised resources and an estimated cost savings of R2.57 million identified.

THE GISP is just one of the many

subsidised RECP-related services available to NCPC-SA clients at little or no cost.

R37.8 million of cost savings yet to be realised, after follow-ups are made with four out of forty-four companies that attended a GISP workshop.


Already, ISP in South Africa is showing positive results – and great potential for the future. In the Western Cape, WISP has a number of success stories. For example, one of the synergies brought about has been the pairing of a label manufacturer and pharmaceutical manufacturer where the underlined problems identified were that waste was incorrectly characterised and a better separation process at the source was needed. This partnership resulted in 180 tonnes of waste diverted, cost savings of R1.3 million, additional revenue of R1.9 million and the creation of four jobs. The recycling of pallets by waste management companies, a plastic pallet recycler and wood pallet recycler, is another WISP success story that resulted in pallets being reused and the wood pallet refurbisher converting the business model to only use recycled pallets and reinvesting the savings in new equipment and staff. The waste diverted in this instance was 132 tonnes, which equates to cost savings of R282 000, R47 000 additional revenue and three new jobs, with a possible ten jobs envisaged for the future.

ReSource May 2015 – 35

Cleaner Production Small-end bush machining at Metric Automotive Engineering’s facility


HEN CUSTOMERS look for engine remanufacturing services, they need to audit the status and suitability of the remanufacturer’s equipment to determine if it is capable of machining new generation engines. This is because new generation engine components require far tighter machining tolerances and advanced machining methods during the remanufacturing process. The positive impact of using skilled engineering and high-quality engine parts is

Engine focus

Rebuilding engines, or ‘remanufacturing’, is a way to extend the useable life of engines used to power vehicles and equipment in a broad swath of industries; but can remanufacturer’s keep up with the high specifications of new engines?

not usually evident in the first thousand hours of vehicle operation. Factors such as these become evident later, when the engine starts to log extended machine hours. Furthermore, modern engine designs are more complex than standard mechanical models of the past – these changes have been predominantly driven by the

ReSource05+1115-Tyres-Kahl_ReSource-Tyres 05.01.15 10:17 Seite 1 36 – ReSource May 2015

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Cleaner Production need to improve fuel efficiency, coupled with higher emission standards, explains Andrew Yorke, operations director at Germiston-based heavy diesel engine and component remanufacturing company Metric Automotive Engineering.

Engine innovation

original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) share basic engine designs and simply adjust these to suit their own requirements. “It cannot be assumed that because the engines look the same, the same parts

equipment or skills in-house, it can affect quality and turnaround time, as well as adding to the overall cost and even impact the warranty terms. “Remanufacturers must have access to the correct engine parts. This means that such companies must have critical information – for example: the engine serial number, model number and VIN code – on hand. Although differences in parts may not be obvious, fitting the incorrect parts will affect performance significantly,” Yorke warns. “An engine is not just an engine anymore. Remanufacturers can no longer supply a part simply because of its similarity to the original part. There are critical differences and, if you do not work within these parameters, the engine will never run as intended. There are no more quick fixes in such a scenario because, once the vehicle is back on the road, it will be extremely difficult to identify why it is not running optimally,” Yorke concludes.

Remanufacturers can no longer supply a part simply because of its similarity to the original part. There are critical differences and, if you do not work within these parameters, the engine will never run as intended

“The engines currently being installed into new vehicles are highly sophisticated, not in their major elements, but in the minor components – those parts so critical to performance and emissions efficiencies. Moreover, while the primary elements have stayed the same, when it comes to engine rebuilding, machining tolerances and clearance tolerances have become a lot tighter. “This necessitates far higher skill levels among remanufacturing engineers, even compared to the recent past, as well as more accurate equipment, because there is far less room for error,” Yorke explains. He adds that some fleet owners, plant managers and foremen are unaware that the major engine

can be used. Certain engine models are being shared by up to five different OEMs. The engine block is the same, but there are small size variations in the componentry, with subtle variations even within a single OEM’s range of engines,” says Yorke.

Correct skills? Engineering and artisan machining skill levels are also critical. When remanufacturers outsource certain elements of the process, because they lack the necessary

ReSource May 2015 – 37

Environmental Technology Forum Africa

IFAT Environmental Technology Forum Africa September 15-18, 2015 Johannesburg Expo Centre, South Africa Water, Sewage, Refuse and Recycling Solutions for the Mining and Construction Industry

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Co-located with

www.ifatforum-africa.com/online-registration.php September 15-18

Waste Legislation

Waste tax looms The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) has suggested the establishment of a waste management bureau and the new National Pricing Strategy. This could have far-reaching implications for the waste sector


OUTH AFRICA is estimated to generate 108 million tonnes of waste annually (as at 2011), of which 98 million tonnes (or 90%) is disposed of to landfill. “With a value of at least R25.2 billion per year, these secondary resources are mostly lost to the South African economy. Recycling figures vary for the different waste streams, from less than 20% for tyres, plastic and waste electrical equipment to in excess of 80% for metals and batteries. “By international standards, certain waste streams generated in South Africa have achieved encouraging levels of recycling through voluntary programmes, while other waste streams are lagging behind that of other developed and developing countries.

• reduce the generation of waste • increase the diversion of waste away from landfill towards reuse, recycling and recovery • support the growth of a Southern African (regional) secondary resources economy from waste. Following the publication of NPSWM, members of the waste management industry were asked to comment by 2 April this year. The full NPSWM can be viewed in full at http://sawic.environment.gov.za.

Taxes and levies South Africa currently has both mandatory and voluntary waste management charges in place. Mandatory environmental charges are

National Pricing Strategy On 11 March this year, at the Ingwenyama Conference Centre in White River, Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa cited these figures as indicating that South Africa is a ‘throwaway culture’, and she declared a bold new ‘War on Waste’, which has been encouraging to some while leaving others feeling somewhat embattled. One of the minister’s first orders of war has been to give notice of her intention to establish the National Pricing Strategy for Waste Management Charges, under Section 13A read with Sections 72 and 73 of the National Environmental Management: Waste Act, 2008 (NEMWA). According to a notice published in the Government Gazette (38438 of 2 February 2015), the objective of the National Pricing Strategy for Waste Management (NPSWM) is to implement economic instruments as part of a basket of policy instruments, which will: • mainstream the extended producer responsibility (EPR) as intended in the NWMS

38 – ReSource May 2015

FIGURE 1 Value chain: Examples of economic instruments along the productwaste value chain

levied on certain plastic bags, waste tyres, electric filament lamps, electricity generation using non-renewable or environmentally hazardous fuels (for example coal, gas, nuclear), and motor vehicle carbon dioxide emissions. The new legislation seeks to implement possible economic instruments (Els), or waste management charges, which can be applied, as alternative policy instruments, in achieving the objectives of the NEMWA. According to the gazette notice, “Els provide incentives for manufacturers, consumers, recyclers, and other actors along the chain to reduce waste generation and seek alternatives to final disposal to landfill (such as reuse, recycling or recovery).”

To understand the range of potential economic instruments that can be used to address costs and benefits not incurred by those they affect along the waste value chain, it is useful to think of each step along the chain as involving market transactions, and of actors along the chain as having a choice to make at each stage (see Figure 1).

Who pays? The notice is clear that double taxation will be avoided. It further guarantees that charging both upstream and downstream is not appropriate. As to whom taxes will apply, a choice will have to be made as to where along the value chain a charge will be levied. This choice will usually depend on whose behaviour is being targeted for intervention. That is – who has the ability to make decisions that ultimately affect outcomes with respect to waste generation and recycling? Often it is decisions made by producers (for example, with respect to input or material use, recycled content or recyclability) that have the most significant impact on waste generation and recycling; while in other cases it may be more appropriate to target the behaviour of waste generators.

Some responses Already, organisations relying on levy funding are making vehement calls that waste levies be maintained and preferably made mandatory for purchasers. Private waste disposal companies have also called for clarity on how the new legislation will affect their businesses, especially considering the valuable services they provide in managing hazardous waste – a service that no one can afford to have undercut.


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Company News

Global talent, local service In April this year, global waste management company averda announced that it had acquired a majority stake in local waste management company, Wasteman Holdings. FRANCES RINGWOOD talks to averda CEO Malek Sukkar and Wasteman CEO Jan Labuschagne about partnership synergies. waste processing and disposal, as well as breakthrough processes in operations and logistics, into the market, and averda is well positioned to assist Wasteman in this direction. averda CEO Malek Sukkar

What was the reason for the acquisition and how will it further strengthen Wasteman’s already considerable offering? MS Wasteman is already one of the largest waste management companies in South Africa, so I believe this investment will enable us to enter into the South African market in a significant way, within a short period of time. We believe the time is right to introduce new technologies in

Can you provide more detail about how the partnership is structured? We have acquired a majority share in Wasteman, which means both businesses can leverage from each others experiences. averda operates across a variety of countries, cultures and business sectors, so we can bring that experience and knowhow to help support Wasteman’s growth plans.

Please tell ReSource readers a little more about Wasteman’s other big milestone which your company recently celebrated?

JL The Wasteman group recently celebrated its 35th year in the South African waste industry, growing from a base in the Western Cape to a fully integrated waste management company with a national footprint, offering solutions to a range of clients in the industrial, commercial, and domestic sectors.

Wasteman CEO Jan Labuschagne

40 – ReSource May 2015

our group’s position in Africa, in line with our global growth targets. Finally, it’s a platform for further product development and innovation in the region.

How will averda’s experience enhance the services Wasteman delivers to the local market? averda operates in over a dozen countries, across three continents, managing the waste collections and cleaning in some of the largest, complex and growing cities in the developing

What are the corporate values of averda and Wasteman, and how do they complement one another? Our values are simple and threefold: deliver, care, inspire. These values are rooted in everything we do. We deliver our promise to the customer, no matter the challenges. We care for our community, inside and outside the company. We inspire ourselves and others to go the extra mile, and aspire to a higher purpose. Our

Our values are simple and threefold: deliver, care, inspire. These values are rooted in everything we do.”

What will the benefits of this agreement be for averda? I think it benefits us in three key ways: Firstly, it enables us to help enhance waste management services for the people of South Africa. Secondly, it strengthens

world. Our experience of understanding the envirornment, both in terms of the practical challenges, as well as behaviours and attitude towards waste, has been built over many years. Whether it is the latest technology in trucks or the deployment of bin sensors, I am confident that our expertise will benefit and enhance Wasteman’s operations. We have recently rolled out our operation in Casablanca, which is a city of seven million people, and that experience can be mapped quite favourably with the rapid growth of Gauteng. In addition, our operation in Ireland may be useful for creating more service-focused operations that business customers will find more appealing.

values drive us to do the right things every day, for the right reasons.

What is the two players’ shared vision for the future of Wasteman? Can you talk to the future of averda? We see Wasteman going from strength to strength, and we are excited to work together on the development of some key new initiatives. In terms of the future of averda, our commitment is to continue to clean cities to make them healthier, happier and safer places to live. Our goal is to be the leading intergrated waste management company for developing markets across all five continents. We are delighted to have Wasteman on this journey with us.

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Company News

Skip the fuss

When Francois Du Toit founded rubble skip removal company SkipRent, last year, he never could have dreamt of the fledgling company’s runaway success. How did SkipRent's story begin? FDT After the birth of my

How did you grow the business? I started advertising

first child, I was inspired to look for a way to give her everything she deserved. An entrepreneur at heart, I researched a few options and finally decided to start a waste collection service by buying a mini skip unit that was already on the market. As a trained mechanical engineer, I saw ways in which the skip’s design could be improved and then thought, “Why don’t I build one myself, based on the skip trucks that have been in operation for years? There must be a rea-

and from there it just grew exceptionally. The next four units I also finished in my garage and from there I rented a factory. To date, we have sold more than 50 units and I employ 15 full-time people.

What is the full range of SkipRent’s offering? How does the company respond to market drivers? We are also developing add-on products. Moreover, the company strives to provide the best quality at an affordable price.

to small-scale markets, we have also provided other entrepreneurs with the opportunity to start their own successful waste collection services that can be profitable, while at the same time creating desperately needed jobs.

What is it about SkipRent that sets it apart from other organisations operating in the same sector? We never thought that there would be such an incredible demand for our product, but the enthusiasm from the market has been undeniable: one.

Typically, people don’t want to have to walk long distances to dispose of heavy skip waste such as rubble. This presents a huge problem in waste management as many people would rather dump waste anywhere than walk to a skip that is placed two blocks away.

Can you provide a case study where several of your skips are being used effectively in a municipal setting? Breede Valley municipality in the Western Cape is using these smaller skips with great success and residents have complemented the municipality on its efforts, remarking how tidy their neighbourhoods have become since using smaller skips. The added benefit is that the skips can be serviced with a trailer that can be pulled by a one-tonne bakkie. This eliminates the need for trucks that are expensive to maintain, or special driver’s licences, because these vehicles are less manoeuvrable than a bakkie and a trailer.

WHY SKIPRENT • Mini skips make refuse collection and removal simpler • Because multiple smaller skips can be positioned within an area, waste producers have a greater incentive to dispose of waste correctly • Smaller skips lower transportation costs, road wear and are easier on the environment son why their design hasn’t changed in the last decades and it would be a challenge to see if I can make it work. So I started building one in my garage. It took six months of working evenings after work and on weekends to get the unit working optimally. When it was finished in January last year, a colleague saw it and told a friend. That friend asked me if he could buy it and I thought: “Why not sell it? I can just build myself another one.” The rest is history, and my factory is now capable of producing four to six units every month.

42 – ReSource May 2015

We see all feedback as positive and, with the help of our clients, we’ve managed to improve our core product. Through this process, we strive to be the leader in the South African mini skip manufacturing market. Our units use a hydraulic power pack that is driven by a Honda petrol engine, making skip collection easy and time-effective. The unit was designed to be operated by one person, reducing operating costs. Our product fills a gap in the market that called for skips smaller than 6 m3. By catering

A retired municipal manager saw the unit and said that he thought all municipalities could benefit from the technology and that it has the potential to dramatically improve solid waste management services. The advantage of the smaller skips is that they can be placed at more frequent intervals than the standard 6 m³ skips, due to their lower cost and smaller size. Municipalities and other waste management entities can now place three 2 m³ skips in the same area making skips easier and more accessible for residents over a larger area.

The combination of the bakkie, trailer, and skip weighs far less than the big trucks needed for the larger skips, alleviating the damage that heavy vehicles cause roads and paving. In addition, smaller vehicles lower fuel costs, thus reducing carbon output.

How do you manage your South African distribution? We deliver units across the country and can also deliver skips outside South African borders. Our unit has also been approved for export to Australia.

Event Watch


ARINE DEBRIS is an international concern. It washes up on beaches and shorelines worldwide, and can be transferred from one country to another. This year’s 2nd African Marine Debris Summit aims to discuss ways in which Africa can tackle this concern. From space, the world’s oceans, combined with its atmosphere, make the planet appear blue, inspiring the title of Carl Sagan’s wonderful ‘Pale Blue Dot’. Oceans cover 71% of the globe’s surface and comprise 1 386 million cubic metres of water. Marine environments support numerous ecosystems and life forms, from coral reefs and shallow coastal pools, to the dark places of the deep sea, harbouring bioluminescent life like vampire squid (Vampyroteuthis infernalis) and the humpback anglerfish (Melanocetus johnsonii). Some of the stranger examples of marine life include microbial mats of microorganisms that perform their metabolic processes using chemical energy at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, while the deep-sea Plastics|SA marine debris ad 210x148,5_PATHS.pdf

Fighting marine debris

shrimp (Rimicaris hybisae) lives at the edge of volcanic vents – in waters over 400°C – deep in the Caribbean Sea. Our oceans are so vast, containing so many as yet undiscovered secrets, that it beggars belief that human beings could have an impact on them...but we do. And affected ocean space around Africa is growing. A lack of local understanding about ways of combatting marine debris, and the need for a unified plan to tackle the problem on the continent, will be high on the agenda during the forthcoming 2nd African 1


3:10 PM

Marine Debris Summit, which takes place from 3 to 5 June this year in Kirstenbosch, Cape Town. Hosted by Plastics|SA, in conjunction with the United Nations Environment Programme and the South African National Biodiversity Institute, this year’s summit aims to establish a Southern African network that will increase research and awareness around the topic of marine debris, as well as launch new actions that quickly and dramatically reduce the amount of pollution found in the oceans.

ReSource May 2015 – 43

Event Watch




CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoriaalive2green.com/events/ sustainability-week

20–22 May 2015

t +27 (0)21 447 4733

Gallagher Convention Centre, Midrand

Durban International Convention Centre, Durban




t +27 (0)11 783 7250

t +27 (0)21 658 2776

15th Annual International Waste Management and Landfill Symposium



20–22 May 2015

14–20 September 2015

SA Industry and Technology Fair (Indutec)

Whole of South Africa

5–9 October 2015 Forte Village, S Margherita di Pula (CA), Italy www.sardiniasymposium.it Adelia Pressuti: info@eurowaste.it

AFRICAN UTILITY WEEK AND CLEAN POWER AFRICA 12–14 May 2015 Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town www.african-utility-week.com t +27 (0)21 700 3509

SA Industry and Technology Fair (Indutec)

Gallagher Convention Centre, Midrand www.exhibitionsafrica.com t +27 (0)11 783 7250


21–22 July 2015

www.cleanup-sa.co.za t +27 (0)11 314 4021

EWASA NATIONAL E-WASTE COLLECTION DAY 19 September 2015 Whole of South Africa www.cleanup-sa.co.za t +27 (0)11 314 4021

Antwerp, Belgium iswa2015.org/iswa@iswa.org

INDEX TO ADVERTISERS African Utility Week 35 Amandus Kahl 38 A-Thermal Retort Technologies 14 Barloworld Equipment 11 Duncanmec IBC EnviroServ OFC Envitech Solutions 23 IFAT Forum Africa 39

44 – ReSource May 2015

Jan Palm Consulting Engineers 12 Kaytech Engineered Fabrics 32 Mills & Otten 33 NCPC 36 Otto Waste 4 Plastics | SA 43

Polyco 18 Redisa 24 Rose Foundation NORA 2 Rose Foundation 22 SkipRent 41 SRK Consulting 28 Tetra Pak IFC Wasteman/Waste Giant OBC

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Profile for 3S Media

Resource May 2015  

Monitor latest developments in waste management and cleaner production through the official magazine of the Institute of Waste Management of...

Resource May 2015  

Monitor latest developments in waste management and cleaner production through the official magazine of the Institute of Waste Management of...

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