This report focuses on the recycling of waste and scrap in South Africa and includes information on the state of the sector, including metals, plastic, glass and e-waste, government strategy and interventions, scrap exports and environmental concerns. There are profiles of 32 companies including EnviroServ, Mpact, Inter-Waste and Scaw.
Recycling of Waste and Scrap
South Africa generates 108 million tons of waste annually, 90% of which still goes to the country’s landfills. The country’s slow progress in recycling is evidenced by the Polokwane Declaration on Waste Management’s target of reaching zero waste to landfill by 2022 being revised to a target of 50% of waste to landfill by 2025. To drastically change South Africa’s wasteful habits and encourage a circular economy, where materials are re-used, government gazetted the National Waste Management Strategy 2020. Regulations for a mandatory extended producer responsibility scheme place responsibility on manufacturers for their products and packaging to the end of their life cycle.
Landfills at Capacity
South Africa’s landfill sites are expected to be full in a few years. Gauteng, which accounts for 45% of the country’s municipal waste, has not been granted new permits for landfills in two decades. Waste management problems are aggravated by increasing populations in cities. The high rates of informal housing mean there are fewer ratepayers to finance waste management services, and communities in major urban centres frequently protest for improved waste and sewage disposal systems. New rules aimed at drastically reducing the amount of waste that enters landfill sites require manufacturers to include an increasing amount of recycled material in their products and take responsibility for where their products end up.
South Africa is one of the world leaders in metal packaging recycling, with over 75% of all metal packaging recovered. Food tins, tin foil packaging and aluminium beverage cans are among the most common metal items sent for recycling. The majority of recycled metals are sold locally.