Read Postwink’s articles written about recycling and waste separation

Western Cape’s Organics’ Ban to Landfills

ORASA (The Organics Recycling Association of South Africa) is an organization that represents the organic waste recycling industry in South Africa and aims to promote the growth of the organics recycling market. On the 19th of June 2018, ORASA facilitated a conference at Tygerberg Nature Reserve in Cape Town titled: “Organic Waste Landfill Ban – Opportunity for economic growth in the organic recycling industry”. The focal point of this conference was to create awareness around the recent organic waste to landfill ban in the Western Cape, which aims to halve the amount of organic waste to Landfill by 2022, with the target of 100% diversion by 2027. This ban has so far received very little media attention despite the impacts it will have in both the private and public sectors. The conference engaged representatives from The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), as well as multiple organic waste and recycling businesses in the province. Presentations by Eddie Hanekom of the DEA, Melanie Ludwig from Zero to Landfill Organics, Tyron Hartle from Interwaste and Berenice Westmore from Postwink Recycling Solutions, helped to highlight the complexity of the “waste problem” in the province, but also its potential to contribute towards sustainable economic growth.

Waste mismanagement is fast becoming a global problem. As populations boom and consumption of goods skyrockets, ‘what to do with all our waste?’ is a question that requires urgent attention. The vast majority of our waste still ends up at the Landfill. Landfills are huge dumps where waste is buried underground as a means of permanent disposal. Landfills are not just sore on the eyes, but they pose a number of potential risks to people and to the environment in which we live. When waste decomposes beneath the ground and is devoid of oxygen, it breaks down anaerobically and emits large amounts of methane - a Greenhouse gas twenty times more potent than Carbon Dioxide (CO2)- into the atmosphere. What is more, many of the materials that end up as waste contain toxic substances such as mercury, solvents and lead, which eventually leach into our soil and groundwater, posing significant environmental health risks. As a result, landfills are increasingly coming under public scrutiny as an unsustainable and harmful method of waste management.

The irony is that waste is simply a resource that is in the wrong place. Through recycling, reusing and up-cycling, all manner of waste items can be transformed into new and valuable products. Rather than simply burying million tons of waste a year, reusing waste feeds into the natural cycle of energy regeneration and should be seen as an important step toward achieving more sustainable development practices.

In the Western Cape province, landfills are rapidly filling up and new potential sites are in short supply. As of the DEDAT 2016 baseline study, 7.7 million tonnes of waste were produced in the Western Cape, more than half of which were generated in the City of Cape Town alone. To add, less than half of the Western Capes landfills are operational and 60% of those facilities that are, require major improvements (Groundup, 2018). The current waste management infrastructure simply cannot keep up with the rising quantities of waste in the province.

In response to this ‘waste problem’, the Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs (WC DEA) recently announced a 100% ban on organic waste to landfill by 2027, with a half-way target of 50% by 2022. In order to speed up the often lengthy legislative process, the WC DEA has made the decision to write the new ordinance into waste management licenses. Therefore, existing waste disposal facilities, and new applicants alike, will have to start reducing their intake of organic waste in order to comply. The diversion plan will require municipalities to set annual targets and identify procedures to meet those targets.


The ban will put pressure on waste management companies and the municipality to better manage organic waste, and will assure that all organic waste in the province gets diverted away from landfill. Despite the potential for growing pains, the decision is a step in the right direction toward more sustainable use of resources, and lightens the load on the remaining landfill sites still in operation. Hopefully the ban will lead to further developments in South Africa’s waste sector and encourage more sustainable waste management practices in the future.
According to GreenCape’s 2016 Market Intelligence report, out of the total 7.7 million tonnes of waste produced annually in the Western Cape, 2.9 million is Organic waste. Organic waste thus makes up a huge 37% of all the waste produced in the Western Cape. This waste stream includes food waste, animal waste, paper and wood clippings; basically, anything that is naturally biodegradable. However this organic ‘waste’ is actually a valuable resource. It can be used to produce compost, animal feed, biogas and in certain cases, edible food can be reused. In this way, organic waste can be reused into valuable products, maintain the natural system of regeneration and, in turn, reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.

A number of organic waste management companies already process significant amounts of organic waste in Cape Town. Zero-to-Landfill Organics (ZTL) run a composting facility in Phillipi that turns various kinds of organic waste into nutrient rich compost. Another organic waste company, AgriProtein, uses fly larvae to digest organic waste and turn it into high quality animal feed. Other facilities are breaking down food waste from our kitchens and supermarkets using anaerobic digestion to produce bio-fuels. These industries are set to expand and diversify as the increasing supply of organic waste in the Western Cape can no longer go to landfills.

Based on GreenCape’s 2016 findings, the capacity of the prominent organic waste solutions in the Western Cape will increase by an estimated 267% in the next five years, which equates to an estimated 35% of all current organic waste. These figures however leave a lot of room to expand the capacity of current operations and set up new facilities in order to meet the demands of the 2027 target.

And yet, more solutions and innovative ideas are needed in order to solve the waste crisis in the province, and beyond. While organic waste management facilities can continue to find different ways of obtaining and processing organic waste, effective separation of waste at source is a great way to make the recycling process more efficient. For example, many organic waste facilities cannot process organic waste if it is mixed with non-organic waste, such as plastic packaging, and vice versa. Thus municipalities and the private sector should initiate separation at source systems that efficiently separate waste for more effective recycling. Ultimately, it is up to citizen participation in recycling both their organic and their dry recyclables, that will have the greatest impact. Thus, it should be a priority to inform and engage the public about the importance of sustainable waste management practices - including waste reduction, waste separation and home composting - and why it is more important than ever to “reuse, reduce and recycle”.

In summary, the ban is a positive step towards more sustainable waste management practices that aim to see the landfill as the least desirable option. Investment in alternative waste treatment technologies is an important step towards more sustainable use of our resources. The growth of the “green” waste industry holds significant job creation potential and aligns with the countries’ commitments to sustainable development and a growing green economy. While the ban comes with its associated challenges, it sets a positive example for authorities all over South Africa, and beyond. In order to meet the 2027 target, there will need to be significant planning and coordination from all the relevant authorities. Moreover, the public should be made aware of the ban, and what they can do about it, because ultimately, sustainablitity can not be achieved without public participation.

Written for Postwink by Sion Geschwindt, October 2018

Bibliography
- Rifqah Naidoo (2015) - futurecapetown.com
- GreenCape (2016) - Market intelligence Report on Waste.
- Tyron Reece Hartle from Interwaste (2018) - ‘Peeling off the onion layers - getting to the center of organic waste’. Presentation at ORASA Conference (Tygerberg NR).
- Annie Cebulski (2018 ). News24. ‘Western Cape’s mounting rubbish problem’
- Jason Felix (2017). Cape Argus. ‘Province seeks ban on organic waste’
-Aiden Jones (2018). Business Day.’Western Cape is producing too much trash to handle’
-Eddie Hanekom, The Department of Environmental Affairs, Organic Waste Ban Presentation (2018)
- Melanie Ludwig (2018). Zero to Landfill Organics. ‘Organic Waste Landfill Bans and Economic benefits’


Why should you be recycling

Why should you be recycling?

So, you’ve just finished your box of muesli. You have two options: a) bin the box or b) recycle it. Let’s say you bin it. What then? Well, your empty box ends up in one of the growing, toxic landfills near you.

Your other option is to recycle it, an action defined by the National Waste Management Strategy document as “… the separation at source of recyclable materials from the general waste stream and the reuse of these materials. The objectives of recycling are to save resources as well as reduce the environmental impact of waste by reducing the amount of waste disposed at landfills.”

The good news is that between 60% and 75% of all manufactured waste can be usefully recycled . And here’s how starting your own recycling initiative at home or at the office can help our planet…

Recycling saves landfill space
With landfills in South Africa reaching their maximum capacity, recycling should be a top priority for each and every South African – especially given that recycling just one ton of paper saves three cubic metres of landfill space. And once an existing landfill has reached its capacity, new ones are set up at huge costs to tax payers, and (with increasing transport costs) closer to your own neighbourhood than before.

Recycling reduces greenhouse gas emissions
According to a U.S. survey, landfills are the largest human-caused producers of methane, a significant greenhouse gas that is 20 times more potent in trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. Since methane has a lifespan of just nine to 15 years, reducing methane emissions is thought to be an effective way of reducing climate warming in a relatively short period of time. In 2009, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 25 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions were eliminated through the recycling of more than 7 million tons of metals.

Recycling spares our natural resources
Recycling reduces deforestation and saves the natural resources used to provide materials for paper, glass containers and aluminum cans. In fact, it has been estimated that recycling half the world’s paper would prevent the harvesting of 20 million acres (81,000 km²) of forestland.

Recycling saves energy
When we send our recyclables to landfills, raw materials must be obtained to replace them. This is done through energy-intensive processes. Recycling reduces the need for new materials, resulting in energy savings like these: one recycled tin saves enough energy to power a television for three hours, while one recycled glass bottle saves enough energy to power a computer for 25 minutes!

Recycling saves money
On a government level, landfill space costs money, but offers no monetary return on investment. On an individual or corporate level, recycling significantly reduces your general waste, in turn reducing your waste disposal costs to landfills. Since recyclables have a value, disposing of your recyclables will always be cheaper than disposing of waste to landfills. In other words, the cost of setting up a recycling initiative can be offset by a saving in your general waste disposal.

Recycling provides employment
Recycling provides employment for millions of people worldwide. In South Africa especially, where 60% of our unemployed citizens don’t have matric, we need a large number of low-skill jobs; and the CSIR have identified two areas of job creation in the waste industry for them: cleaning and recycling. So increasing the recycling industry in South Africa would directly (and positively) impact on these people’s chances of finding employment.

Recycling educates about Sustainability
With Postwink, starting a recycling initiative is done easily and quickly. And one of the benefits of that, is that an effective recycling project can be used to educate your staff, patrons, guests and students about the other sustainability issues we have in South Africa and globally.

So, we’ve answered the question of how recycling benefits our planet – it saves landfill space, natural resources, energy, and money, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, creates jobs and educates. The question that remains is, “If you aren’t already recycling, shouldn’t you be?”

Postwink Recycling Solutions is in the business of starting up recycling initiatives. Give us a call today on (021) 447 8783 or email us at info@postwink.co.za and find out how we can help you impact the environment for good.






Why Composting is Important

Composting: the recycling of organic waste

So, you’ve started recycling and you’re doing your bit to save the planet, right? Absolutely! But, did you know that besides the paper, glass, plastic, and tin you’re currently separating at source, there’s another type of waste that can be recycled. As much as half of what we throw out is compostable. It’s called organic waste and by saving it from our bins and ultimately our landfills, and composting it instead, we can turn it into something beneficial, reduce our waste disposal costs, and help save our planet.

First things first, what is organic waste?
Quite simply, organic waste is waste with a biological origin that can be broken down by other living organisms. It includes fruit and vegetable peels, egg shells, coffee grounds, tea bags, bread, paper, cardboard, grass clippings, leaves, wood, and even cotton clothing.

So, what’s wrong with organic waste ending up in our landfills?
If it’s organic, it must be biodegradable, right? Sadly, this is not the case. Organic waste needs oxygen to compost and because of the structure of landfills, there is no oxygen available to break it down.

Instead, organic waste that ends up in landfills produces methane (CH4), leachate, and hydrogen sulphide – three by-products that have a devastating effect on our planet. Methane as a greenhouse gas is 20 times more harmful than carbon dioxide. Leachate, a liquid that extracts or ‘leaches’ elements of the matter through which it passes, contains elevated levels of organic and inorganic matter, heavy metals, chemicals and toxins. And finally, hydrogen sulphide is a highly toxic gas that primarily affects the nervous system.

Organic waste that composts adds valuable nutrients to our soil, but when it ends up in landfills, it means that we are losing essential macro-nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphate, potassium, and carbon, and micro-nutrients such as calcium, zinc, and magnesium. Organic waste also has a very high water content, so when it ends up in landfills instead of in our gardens, we also lose significant amounts of moisture.

And then there’s the scary reality that our landfills are under huge pressure. Cape Town, for example, has three landfills – Coastal Park, Bellville South and Vissershoek. Currently, these are expected to reach capacity in 2018 (2022 if we’re really, really lucky) and while there are plans to build a new landfill in Atlantis, its development is currently being opposed by residents in the surrounding areas.

How can composting make a difference?
By composting, we not only avoid the negative consequences outlined above that arise when organic waste ends up in landfills, we also reduce the unnecessary transport of waste to those landfills, which means a saving on the high waste disposal costs that we pay to the municipality and/or our waste management company. Plus, compost…

• Improves soil structure (very important as our soils are degrading)
• Prevents soil erosion
• Adds nutrients to the soil and increases moisture retention
• Prevents plant diseases, and
• Helps maintain food security.

Sound good? Here’s how to make your own…

Ingredients
½ brown material (carbon rich) e.g. paper, cardboard, wood chips, leaves, manure
½ green material (nitrogen rich) e.g. fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds, tea bags, egg shells, grass clippings
Water
Air (to eliminate odours)

Method
Place your brown and green material in a composter and use a garden fork to mix it from time to time. This allows oxygen to work its way into the compost. Once the compost has heated up and cooled down again, add it to your soil and watch your garden flourish!

Notes
• A compost heap should be roughly 1 cubic metre in size
• Composters are available at your nearest Builders Warehouse
• New Composting Bags are now also available online at Earth Probiotics - with them you don’t need a garden, and can compost in your garage!
ZTL Organics collects organic waste from offices, hotels, canteens, and restaurants in the Cape Town CBD and Southern Suburbs
• Although meat and dairy can make good compost, it’s best to avoid them as they can smell while they are breaking down
• Use newspaper as a bin liner when collecting kitchen waste
• Adding Bokashi, a wheat bran inoculated with yeast, fungi, and probiotic bacteria to your kitchen waste is a great way to eliminate odours
• Garden waste must be shredded before being added to your compost heap
• If your compost starts heating up, you’re on the right track, but it can only be used once it’s cooled down (2–3 months)
• If you see white patches in your compost heap, it’s fungus and it means you’re doing things right!

How can Postwink help?
We have a wonderful range of bins that are ideal for collecting commercial-sized organic waste. Our step-on bin is a pedal-push bin made of durable and recyclable polypropylene, and is available in 45 and 68 litres. If you need even more space, our 140-litre Wheelie bins are also up for the challenge! And, if you’re a restaurant or canteen-manager and you’re using biodegradable coffee cups and spoons, our Cup n Stack is an efficient and dedicated cup collection solution.

For more on our products, email us at info@postwink.co.za and we’ll get right back to you.

Kindest regards
The Postwink Team

Composting Bag by EarthProbiotics
45L pedal-Push bin (in our Office brochure)
68L pedal-push bin (in our Office brochure)

Green your holidays

The countdown to the December holidays has begun and there’s no better time to start thinking about festive season recycling. Did you know? In the U.S. alone, 2.65 billion Christmas cards are sold each year – enough to fill a football field 10 stories high! (Source: holidayrecycling.com)

So, how can we help the planet this festive season? Here are a few suggestions:
• Remember to go shopping with reusable bags
• Send e-cards or buy cards which contain recycled material
• Avoid non-recyclable gift wrap e.g. metallic papers
• Buy rechargeable batteries for electronic toys
• Give a green gift like a tree or a Postwink recycling bin
• If you’re planning to buy a real Christmas tree, plant a tree to compensate for the one that’s been removed. Alternatively, buy a good quality artificial one instead.
• Give back to the environment by supporting a green initiative such as Food & Trees for Africa
• If you don’t already recycle, make it your New Year’s resolution to start. (Sources: www.holidayrecycling.com; www.dnr.mo.gov)

And, if you’re travelling long distances these holidays, try implementing a few green driving tips en route:
• Avoid aggressive driving which wastes fuel and creates higher pollution rates
• Drive at the speed limit to improve your fuel economy
• Pack as lightly as possible as extra weight reduces fuel economy
• Keep your tyres properly inflated. Aside from being unsafe, underinflated tyres reduce fuel economy.
(Source: www.greenercars.org)

If you find time on your travels, please tweet us and let us know what recycling initiatives are happening (or not) in your holiday destination. We’d love to hear from you!

Postwink continues a proud heritage of recycling

Did you know?
The universal recycling symbol (three arrows forming a continuous loop) was designed in 1970, by Gary Anderson, a 23-year-old student at the University of California. In response to growing worldwide attention to environmental issues, which culminated in the first Earth Day in 1970, the Container Corporation of America sponsored an art contest for high school and college art students. Anderson’s now-famous design won, and the rest as they say, is history.

The triangle in the symbol represents the Reduce Reuse Recycle hierarchy, while the three arrows represent the three main stages of recycling: the collection of recyclables, the processing of recyclables into raw materials, which are then used to manufacture new products, and the sale and purchase of these new products.

Issued by:
Berenice Westmore
info@postwink.co.za

The recycling logo
Leather-touch recycle bin for Canada High Commissioner
2-waste EcoCylinder recycle bin for Media24
Recycling Trolley for the new Khayelitsha Hospital
3-waste EcoCylinder bin for khayelitsha Hospital (on wheels)