South Africa is soon to introduce a Paper and Packaging Industry Plan that will require separation-at-source from a household level, bringing about a significant change in the current waste management regime, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa has announced.
“This will not only minimise the amount of waste going to landfills but will also unlock the economic potential of this waste stream,” she noted at the official launch of the Ekurhuleni Clean City initiative, in Gauteng, at the weekend.
Modelled on the Waste Tyre Management Plan, which had seen 31% of waste tyres diverted from landfill for reuse, recycling and recovery purposes, the Paper and Packaging Industry Plan would align with the National Waste Management Strategy, which promoted waste minimisation, reuse, recycling and recovery.
This strategy aimed to divert at least 77% of recyclable waste from landfill sites by 2019.
The waste tyre scheme had created around 3 000 jobs and had driven the establishment of 200 small, medium-sized and microenterprises and cooperatives, the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) asserted in a statement.
According to a Waste Information baseline study conducted by the DEA in 2011, of the 108-million tons of waste generated in South Africa each year, 97-million tons were disposed to landfill.
“The implementation of an industry plan for the paper and packaging waste stream will put value to this waste stream and facilitate the establishment and operation of businesses within this sector. In doing so, we hope we will, in future, not see all this waste in our streets, as it will move from being waste to being a resource,” said Molewa.