The South African government recently implemented local legislation to ban all liquid and hazardous waste from standard landfills. Only those facilities certified to handle liquids and hazardous refuse, such as Averda’s Vlakfontein Class A Landfill, can process these types of waste.
This legislation, passed by the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF), signifies a large shift in the environmental views of the national government. It places greater importance on the effective management of landfills and the disposal of dangerous refuse by waste management companies. It also places a greater emphasis on the certification of waste management companies to handle liquids and hazardous substances.
New laws are next step in sustainability
This is just the next step in the government’s efforts to improve the disposal of waste and the management of landfills. Other laws have been passed in recent years to restrict certain types of refuse from entering landfills. Now, no liquid waste may be disposed of in regular landfills and hazardous waste with a calorific value of less than 20MJ per kilogram must be sent to a certified facility.
It is vital that the waste management industry embraces these laws as they are designed to benefit the environment and the health of workers at these facilities. Waste management companies need to ensure compliance with these new laws and make an effort to get certified if they wish to handle liquid and hazardous waste. The laws will pave the way for a more efficient industry and a more sustainable economy.
New liquid waste regulations
Previous laws started to restrict the disposal of liquid waste in landfills from 2017. Refinery waste, chemicals, paint, hydrocarbon-contaminated liquids, sludges and solvents were all banned from standard landfills in South Africa. This new legislation places a total ban on all liquid waste, such as oils, acids, recyclable liquids, gas lamps and batteries.
Section 5(1)(a-u) and Section 5(2)(a–c) of the National Norms and Standards for the Disposal of Waste to Landfill (GN R 636 of 23 August 2013) provides a non-exhaustive list of waste types that are banned from regular landfills in South Africa. These restrictions show that the national government is increasing its focus on the diversion of waste from landfills.
Legislation encourages innovation
These new laws not only benefit the environment and the safety for humans living and working near landfills, they also encourage innovation in the waste management industry. There are already numerous examples of businesses that have taken advantage of these laws and are making a profit through the sustainable use of waste materials.
For example, certain hazardous waste liquids can be repurposed into fuel sources for electricity generation and energy production. Some of these liquids must be viewed as valuable resources that can be used to drive businesses and boost the economy. It will also help to replace our dependence on fossil fuels and oil-based sources of energy.
These businesses just need to ensure that they are certified to handle hazardous waste and are able to dispose of the byproducts safely and responsibly. Waste management companies also need to prepare themselves for further legislative changes that promote sustainability and environmental protection. They need to ensure that they can recover, treat and recycle liquids and hazardous waste materials in order to remain competitive.
Averda is a leading waste management provider with over 50 years of experience across three continents. Through growth, transformation and engagement, we strive to find new ways of managing waste while protecting the community and environment.
By pairing international expertise with local insights, we have secured our position as one of South Africa’s most respected providers of waste management and industrial cleaning services. We also operate in the recycling, pipe inspection, CCTV, infrastructure inspection, hydro-demolition, high-pressure water jetting and catalyst handling industries.
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