Pretoria — The waste sector has the potential to contribute to South Africa’s economy, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said.
“e-Waste management presents an opportunity for job creation and economic development through recycling,” Minister Molewa said.
She was speaking on Friday at a national consultative conference on electronic and electrical waste (e-Waste) management at the Birchwood Hotel and Conference Centre in Gauteng.
The conference focused on issues around the contextualisation of the e-Waste challenges in South Africa, the management of e-Waste in Municipalities, e-Waste Recycling and Policy and legislative environment.
“We see the waste sector in general and the e-waste sector in particular as a catalyst for socio-economic development,” Minister Molewa said.
She said the waste sector was the source of new businesses and jobs; as well as an important contributor for attaining goals of a cleaner, greener South Africa.
Minister Molewa said every department is managing the e-Waste in silos and there is a need for coordination of efforts to ensure maximum impact.
“Most of the components of e-Waste are recyclable. We therefore need to put systems in place and infrastructure for collection, transportation, sorting and recycling of this waste stream,” she said.
The Department of Environment Affairs said whilst this may seem to be a huge challenge, there are simultaneously huge economic benefits for citizens of South Africa, opportunities for job creation, poverty alleviation and entrepreneurial opportunities from a well-planned, strategically resourced, well regulated, managed and controlled e-Waste system.
Government and other relevant institutions will be exploring viable economic opportunities in the waste management sector.
“We need to rise to the challenge and develop innovative ideas on how we can improve waste management systems in the country to drive the recycling economy,” Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said.
She was speaking during the three-day National Waste Management Summit, which was convened under the theme ‘War on Waste: Driving the recycling economy in South Africa’, held in Mpumalanga.
The waste recycling economy would positively contribute to the growth and development of South Africa’s economy.
“It is through this economic ingenuity that the Department of Environmental Affairs will also contribute to sustainable development and inclusive green economic growth by facilitating employment creation, infrastructure, skills development and strengthening Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) in the waste management sector,” Department of Environmental Affairs spokesperson Albi Modise said.
He said more than 500 government representatives, waste management practitioners, academia and civil society gathered at the summit to devise means to accelerate the notion of the recycling economy by eliminating bottlenecks in the waste management sector.
The summit provided a platform for robust, constructive and technical engagements on waste management priorities for the country.
“The waste management sector has viable economic opportunities that the summit acknowledged still need to be unlocked. It is for this reason that government and other relevant institutions are exploring the notion of recycling economy.
“In 2011, Cabinet approved the National Waste Management Strategy (NWMS), which paves the way for exploration of recycling economy as a mechanism to improve socio-economic conditions in South Africa,” Minister Modise said.
Source: Cape Business News
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2015 brings many challenges in the waste industry with ongoing legislative and policy shifts that organisations may not be aware of. It is imperative for all corporates dealing with waste to be educated on these regulations so that more sustainable waste management practices can be implemented.
The most recent National Waste Information Baseline Report indicates that South Africa generated approximately 108 million tons of waste in 2011. Municipal waste amounted to 18.5% of all waste ending up at landfill sites. The private and public sector have a major role to play in advancing southern Africa’s waste landscape, especially with dwindling landfill space.
Waste is a resource
President of the IWMSA, Dr Suzan Oelofse, says that all organisations should know what legislation expects of them when it comes to dealing with waste. “The South African waste sector has many challenges, but corporates and individuals should view waste as a resource. Being associated with an industry body, such as the IWMSA, means that you value the environment and make a concerted effort in advancing and aligning yourself to sustainable waste management practices,” says Oelofse.
The IWMSA has a 39 year track record and is the go-to body for all waste-related issues, technology and best practice. The industry body provides their members with access to the latest waste management technology and skills development courses in order to stay up to speed with the ever-changing industry.
“Having been affiliated with the IWMSA since 1998 when I first became a member, I have always been impressed by the members’ willingness to share information, which I think is the only real way to promote the art and science of waste management in the country,” says Jonathan Shamrock, member of the IWMSA. “The IWMSA presents regular networking opportunities where this information sharing happens on many levels, keeping me informed about developments in the industry while at the same time keeping me up to date with continual education requirements.”
Municipalities, national and provincial government, environmental consultants and service providers, contractors, academics and corporates make up the bulk of the IWMSA’s members. “It is vital that members view this commitment as a long-term investment so that we can delve into the challenges and opportunities the waste sector face on a daily basis,” adds Oelofse.