Waste management in Grahamstown
What do we do with all our waste? When we "throw something away", where is "away"? We are faced with the cold reality that no more permits will be issued for new landfill sites in South Africa. It is time to RETHINK our waste production patterns. Makana Municipality has established a 2-bag system for waste collection (since 2 March 2009) - which is in keeping with the IWMP Makana.
- ZERO WASTE: This is the best option in the 'waste hierarchy'. ZERO WASTE is an initiative that is also being taken up by South Africa's 2010 World Cup. For useful ideas, read a Guide to Zero Waste, and Zero Waste Economy by the Institute for Zero Waste in Africa.
- REDUCE: Many people are now making an effort to REDUCE their environmental impact. For example, we can reduce unnecessary consumption, avoid excessive packaging, and cut down on the amount of waste we produce.
- REPAIR & RE-USE items wherever possible, rather than discarding them as waste. This helps reduce our overall environmental impact.
- UPCYCLE: Creative re-use of discarded items for arts and crafts, e.g. the Arkwork Collective & Kisma Kreative.
- RECYCLE: Lower down in the waste hierarchy, RECYCLING remains an aspect of waste management which can at times help reduce the overall amount of refuse going into landfill sites. Items that can be recycled include paper/card, glass, plastic and metals.
- COMPOST: Composting is a biological recycling process that deals with organic (biodegradable) matter, for example, kitchen scraps, garden waste, non-glossy paper, card, etc.
Grahamstown 2-bag system
The following system has been put in place: Residents should place ALL recyclable materials (glass, tins, paper, card, polystyrene and mixed or pure plastics) together in clear/yellow/orange bags, and the remaining disposable items in a black bag - on their usual garbage collection day. The 2-bag system saves residents the trouble of taking different containers to different recycling depots around town. The Municipal vehicle will take the recyclable materials for sorting by recycling companies located near the Grahamstown landfill site. The sorters separate the materials into different containers, and receive payment by weight. This provides much-needed income, as well as helping keep the town clean.
- Clear bags are available from Makana Municipality Treasury (the office in High Street where you pay your lights and water accounts) or from Grahamstown Packing & Catering (cnr New / Hill St, 046-622.2109, firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Orange or yellow tinted bags are available from local supermarkets.
Rhodes University aims to support the Municipal recycling system. For more info, visit our ACTION pages.
Go to the Rhodes University ENVIRONMENT front page. Suggestions/Questions? Contact environment(at)ru.ac.za