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Johannesburg’s choking landfills

by Rudzani Musekwa
The city of Johannesburg has prioritised recycling, because its five main landfills are fast running out of space.
South Africa generates some 108 million tons of waste, with expectations of the waste rising each year.
In 2001 South Africa signed the Polokwane Declaration to say that by 2022 there will be a 75% diversion of recyclable materials from landfills.
According to Musa Chamane, waste campaign manager at Ground Work SA, enough wasn’t being done in terms of recycling in the country, especially by big companies.
“This is becoming too much of a burden for landfills in the country,” he said.
Chamane said that our landfills were lacking in capacity as the waste was rapidly rising.
“We encourage recycling because besides being good for the health of the poor, it also creates jobs, giving poor people a means for survival.”
Chamane said that there was not enough awareness of recycling and its benefits. By the end of last year, the city had come to the conclusion that it was running out of landfill space and embarked on an aggressive campaign to promote recycling.
Johannesburg has only five landfills.
The reason for the lack of space is a lack of household-waste recycling, coupled with increased urban migration, which has put strain on the city’s waste-disposal efforts.
Councillor Matshidiso Mfikoe of the city of Johannesburg last year joined waste management company Pikitup and developed an aggressive waste-minimisation strategy. Mfikoe said at the time: “As the city of Johannesburg, we are gearing towards moving away from the traditional hierachy, whereby 93% of waste is disposed of at landfill sites, and towards a new paradigm, in which only 7% of waste will be deposited at landfills, by 2040.”
The National Waste Management Strategy, developed by the Department of Environmental Affairs, aims to ensure that all metropolitan municipalities, secondary cities and large towns have initiated separation-at-source programmes by next year.
Activists like Chamane believe that the government needs to show its commitment to ensuring the good health of its citizens by implementing and regulating waste management.
Source: The New Age

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Hisense implements several sustainability initiatives locally

Hisense, a manufacturer of premium consumer electronics and home appliances, is focusing its attention on increasing its green credentials in an attempt to decrease carbon emissions, increase recycling, and creating a closed loop system at their high tech manufacturing facility  in Atlantis, Western Cape.

Hisense has always looked for ways to contribute positively toward the environment. The business places an importance on creating products that are energy efficient and which lead the way in green technology. In addition to this, the business looks at ways in which its operations can be more sustainable.

Recycling systems have been put in place to contribute to the bottom line including the environment, strategic initiatives have been implemented to recycle discarded cardboard, bubble-wrap, polystyrene, plastic, foam and other materials.

Ebrahim Khan, Deputy General Manager, Manufacturing Group at Hisense South Africa, says, “When we launched our new manufacturing facility in Atlantis in 2013, we ensured that energy efficiency is part of the core of the products being manufactured at the facility. Sustainability and greening are so important to us that our launch was a green event.  Our close collaboration with Bluemoon and Earth Patrol produced a carbon neutral event called ‘Living Legacy’ that proved the industry and sustainability are on par.”

From planting 190 indigenous trees to offset carbon emissions, to using LED lighting, to implementing recycling programmes, initiatives were put in practice throughout the operation aimed at reducing the company’s environmental footprint.

From January – September 2014, Hisense collected 655,780kg of recyclable materials, and saved a total of 2,790,378kg of carbon emissions. Recyclables now heavily outweigh general waste and the figure is improving on a monthly basis – in September, 10,680kg of general wastes vs. 79,954kg of recyclables.  Carbon emissions in January measured 154,955kg, and in September, 324,522kg was reported, and landfill volumes have more than tripled too.

To put this into perspective, 2,790,378kg of carbon emissions is equivalent to:

  • The annual greenhouse gas emissions from 587 passenger vehicles or;
  • The carbon dioxide emissions from burning 1,359 tons of coal or;
  • The carbon sequestered by 71,548 tree seedlings grown for 10 years.

“Hisense’s future plan centres on a process of implementing a zero-waste to landfill strategy, which is currently in its testing phase. The plan will be implemented in 2015,” explains Khan.

Hisense has made the most of the opportunity to run a sustainable business, and is fully conscious about the environment in which it operates.

Source: Cape Business News