Although the ‘Think Twice’ pilot waste recycling project removed approximately 7500 tons of saleable and recyclable domestic waste from the City’s waste stream last year, the City is not extending the project. “There are still lessons that the City is learning from this pilot project, and there are initiatives that the private sector (which includes the waste industry, manufacturers and retailers) should contribute to,” said Alderman Clive Justus, Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services.
The Think Twice’ pilot is currently being undertaken in the South Peninsula, but Alderman Justus says a further roll-out will be delayed as “the City does not have the resources at present to grow the project”. The City excuses their lack of supporting for door to door collection of recyclables by saying that the delay will allow for the finalisation and evaluation of viable alternatives – a process apparently being undertaken as part of the National Environmental Management Waste Act and the Consumer Protection Act. It seems that in the business as usual model, recycling is not paying its own way – and is seen as an added cost by the authorities rather than a cost saving. This is not likely to change until either the raw materials become a lot more expensive or the environmental cost of producing packaging and products is included in the price. In the meantime we are running out of landfill space and resources – fast.
The Department of Environmental Affairs and, amongst others, the packaging industry, are working hard to develop an industry waste management plan to determine the responsibility of industry. Identifying industry responsibility is a good move in keeping with the polluter pays principle. However, this process is expected to take a very long time because of the consultation process required. Consumers should apply pressure wherever they can to speed up the reduction of packaging – even going as far as leaving excessive packaging at the store.
In an attempt by the City to get the public / consumers to be part of the waste management solution and not part of the problem Alderman Justus reminds the public that “… there are various drop-off sites situated throughout the city.” and that the public can contact the Solid Waste Department on 0860 103 089 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for info. about their nearest drop-off site or schools with a recycling programme.
In addition, various retailers have some recycling initiatives. Pick n Pay encourages the return of CFLs (energy-efficient lamps) and also has in-store container bins for batteries and ink cartridges to ensure reuse or safe disposal. Woolworths is also rolling out a large recycling initiative in partnership with selected Engen Service Stations. For info see http://www.engen.co.za/home/apps/content/Media_Centre/press_releases/corporate/30oct09_2.aspx
Enquiries about the Think Twice project can be directed to : Alderman Clive Justus, Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services, Tel: 021 400 1206 or Cell: 083 628 4136 or Barry Coetzee, Manager: Technical Strategic Support, Utility Services, Tel: 021 400 2992 or Cell: 083 232 2861