Waste management

Waste management is one of the worst challenges facing South Africa. Waste and pollution pose a serious threat to human health and integrity of the environment.
People are waste generators, but also possess the ability to manage and minimize this waste.

  • Resources and space are finite as the Earth is not getting any bigger so waste is ultimately not sustainable.
  • The presence of waste is an indication of overconsumption and that materials are not being used efficiently.
  • This is carelessly reducing the Earths capacity to supply new raw materials in the future.
  • The capacity of the natural environment to absorb and process these materials is also under stress.
  • Valuable resources in the form of matter and energy are lost during waste disposal, requiring that a greater burden be placed on ecosystems to provide these.
  • The main problem is the sheer volume of waste being produced and how we deal with it.

What is Waste?
Any substance that is –

  • surplus
  • unwanted
  • rejected
  • abandoned
  • disposed of;
  • but once re-used, recycled and recovered it is no longer waste

Methods of managing waste include:

  • Waste minimization is an approach that aims to reduce the production of waste through education and the adoption of improved production processes and less wasteful practices.
  • Recycling, by separating certain materials within the waste stream and reprocessing them. The recycling of many materials is currently not financially viable.
  • Waste processing is treatment and recovery (use) of materials or energy from waste through thermal, chemical, or biological means.