The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment is making the management and processing of organic waste much easier by removing the requirements for expensive and drawn-out waste management permits.
New norms and standards for composting and the treatment of organic waste, signed into law in 2022, will make establishing processing facilities much cheaper and the process quicker than through the previous requirement for a permit.
“It is estimated that there are 3 million tons per year of organic waste in the Western Cape that need to be diverted from landfill and capacity to process this waste needs to be greatly increased,” says Organics Recycling Association of South Africa (ORASA) Chairperson, Melanie Ludwig.
“The new norms and standards for composting will help to remove barriers to establishing new composting facilities, which will significantly assist in increasing processing capacity in light of the organic waste landfill ban that will come into effect in the Western Cape in 2022.”
Entrepreneurs who are looking to enter the organic waste recycling industry will now find it much easier to establish organic waste processing facilities using several different technologies. If the facility processes under 10 tons of organic waste per day only registration with the provincial Department of Environmental Affairs is required along with the duty of care to protect the environment.
If the threshold of 10 tons per day is exceeded, then the Norms and Standards apply to that facility and need to be followed. The Western Cape (Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning) and Gauteng (Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Environment) have already published the application forms for the registration of facilities under this new legislation and have started conducting site visits.
“ORASA has been contacting the responsible departments in other provinces, but we have not been successful in identifying how a facility would go about registering under the new regulations,” says Melanie Ludwig. “We hope that these new regulations will open up the organic waste industry and see many more processing facilities being established so that tons of organic waste can be saved from the landfills, creating enterprises and jobs in South Africa.”
“By amending the regulations Environmental Affairs has made it much easier for businesses to establish composting facilities and achieve the required diversion targets,” says Ludwig.
“This is great news, especially at a time when our employment levels are at such drastic lows!”
A recent release sent out by the City of Cape Town about the success of their Langa Organic Waste Diversion Project, has shown just how successful this initiative can be not only in protecting the environment, but also in creating employment for the local community. More than 10 tons of organic waste has been collected and turned into compost that is helping to nourish community food gardens as well as creating much needed employment.
The new norms and standards can be found at the ORASA website.