In 2017, Cape Town successfully diverted a quarter of its waste from landfills. Although the statistics for 2018 have not yet been released, it is likely to be a similar outcome for Cape Town’s waste management.
The City of Cape Town has set aside just under R119 million for its current waste minimisation campaigns. These include recycling and composting initiatives in various parts of the city.
“One of the City’s aims is to be a world-class, clean and resource-efficient city which protects its natural environment and enables a more prosperous future,” reads a recent statement issued by the City of Cape Town. “As such, a number of interventions are in place to reduce illegally dumped waste and also to divert as much waste as possible from landfill sites,” it continues.
Steps taken by Cape Town to divert waste
One of the interventions mentioned in the City of Cape Town’s statement includes opening new waste drop-off sites. These new facilities should reduce the occurrence of illegal dumping and litter, as well as increase the amount of collected waste for proper processing.
Recyclables and organic waste are separated from other waste items. The recyclables are sent to recycling plants to be processed and reintroduced into the market. Organic waste is used for composting or as a biogas for electricity production. Only non-biodegradable and non-recyclable waste is sent to landfills from these waste drop-off sites.
Currently, Cape Town has 24 waste drop-off sites. Each facility is within a 7km radius of the next, meaning that residents don’t have to drive far to drop off their waste. Further collection services are being investigated by the municipality.
Citizens becoming more aware of lifestyle choices
Many Capetonians are becoming more aware of their lifestyle choices and waste-producing habits. Citizens are starting to re-evaluate how much waste they produce and how to minimise their impact on the environment. Household composting and recycling is an increasing occurrence in the city.
“This is increasingly becoming the new lifestyle choice of so many consumers,” says the City’s mayoral committee member for informal settlements, water and waste services; and energy, Xanthea Limberg.
“Expansion of the City’s network of drop-off sites enables this kind of responsible waste disposal by making it affordable and progressively more convenient to recycle and otherwise divert waste from landfills,” she says.
The city is on-track to improving its current waste diversion statistics. Residents play a key role in enabling the city to keep organic and recyclable waste out of landfills.
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