Some R6 billion of recyclable materials coming out of homes in South Africa each year are sent to landfill.1,2   The purpose of the ‘Municipal Fund’  outlined in the Paper & Packaging industry’s Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)  Plan submitted to government in September 2018 is to help redirect these materials into the recycling economy and away from the environment.

“We will work with municipalities on a project basis to help them achieve their goals in terms of their legislated required integrated waste management plans (IWMPs), which includes diversion of recyclables from landfill, “ says Francois Marais, business development manager at Polyco, the polyolefin plastic industry producer responsibility organisation, who is also working on the Municipal Fund.

Depending on where a municipality is in terms of progress against implementation of their intergrated waste management plan, the Municipal Fund can potentially assist. This is done firstly by reviewing existing  circumstances regarding collection capacity and infrastructure and then assessing where local and emerging waste recycling companies can be brought on board to address the gaps in delivery.

Skills training for contractor and municipal staff can be provided as well as support with public education and awareness behaviour change campaigns. Residents can then generate maximum amounts of clean,  higher value recyclable materials in separation-at-source programmes. This makes for more economically viable quantities for contractors and greater diversion from landfill.

This support from private industry’s EPR schemes through the Municipal Fund enables a municipal partner to meet its IWMP goals, create greater efficiencies and yield higher value materials. It also leads to  inclusion of local entrepreneurs and emerging contractor companies, so furthering transformation.

How the government’s Department of Environmental Affairs will accept and work with industry’s proposed Municipal Fund will become clearer in the new year, once comments have been received from the public and the department has made its decisions in response to the Industry Waste Management Plan submissions.

 

 

– Hugh Tyrrell, GreenEdge Communications

Source:  ‘The economic benefits of moving up the waste management hierarchy in South Africa: The value of resources lost through landfilling’ – Anton Nahman and Linda Godfrey (CSIR/DTI Waste Roadmap, 2014)