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University of Johannesburg (2019)

Organic waste re-imagined : resource recovery for resilience a case study of the City of Cape Town

Jones, Soleil Helen

Titre : Organic waste re-imagined : resource recovery for resilience a case study of the City of Cape Town

Auteur : Jones, Soleil Helen

Université de soutenance : University of Johannesburg

Grade : Master in Environmental Management 2019

Organic waste constitutes the largest proportion of waste generated on the planet. When improperly dealt with (as it is in most places), it contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution, general environmental degradation and climate change. This project outlines the regulatory, legislative and policy framework governing organic waste management in the City of Cape Town, after which current initiatives to recover and beneficiate organic materials are explored, both within and beyond the city. In-depth interviews were used to obtain the views of experts working within the waste sector, as to the current regulatory environment and practice regarding organic waste diversion from landfill, as well as some changes that might be implemented towards an integrated system that simultaneously confronts the public health and environmental risks presented by organic waste, whilst also capitalising on its value as a resource for economic development and ultimately, building resilience within human settlements. The main findings were that in Cape Town there are various efforts underway to divert organic waste from landfill, however there are some obstacles to implementing meaningful solutions. The most significant of these is that there is currently an incomplete definition of organic waste in South African policy and regulations, as well as a somewhat uncoordinated and contradictory legislative and regulatory framework and inconsistent application and implementation thereof. For example, national government is currently trying to pass the draft Norms and Standards for Organic Waste Composting, which are intended to facilitate diversion of organics from landfill by means of composting. The Western Cape provincial government has however found that, because they are overly risk-averse (as opposed to risk-based), the proposed Norms and Standards would instead make it unfeasible for municipalities to implement ; even the City of Cape Town which is better-capacitated and resourced than most. As it is, the cost of compliance for any project of scale that seeks to beneficiate organic materials is unduly high. In addition to the more formal regulatory aspects, it is crucial to get separation at source programmes off the ground and increase public education, partly also because this feeds into another piece of puzzle, namely to develop a market for beneficiated organic waste products.


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