Sustainable Waste Management, Recycling and the Waste Condundrum

There is no waste in nature... waste is an entirely human phenomenon 
- Harold Gess

Sustainabile waste management is one of the Environmental Sustainability Policy directives. Rhodes University is committed to reducing its ecological footprint in terms of its waste generation. Waste is the byproduct of consumption. It is growing into an insurmountable challenge on all fronts. It is estimated that campus generates 1991m3 of waste per month, the equivalent of 25 12m-shipping containers per month. The goal is to reduce excess consumerism/consumption of resources and the resulting waste. This is the responsibility of all, indivdually and collectively.  The ideal would be a reimagining of the consumerism paradigm and a progression toward green circular economy.

The current recycling multi-bag system was established by the city of Makana and is supported by Rhodes University. Ideally refuse is seperated at source with recyclable materials in clear bags, and domestic waste in black or blue bags. Recyclables that are not included in the primary collection system are then easily identifiable by informal recycling sorters to sell on by weight to local recycling companies. See DIY Recycling Station Kit.


RU Infrastucture and Operations Division is responsible for implementing  sustainability measures in line with the Policy. This includes:

  1. Minimise (reduce and/or recycle) wherever possible the university’s solid and liquid waste streams at all discharge points on campus.
  2. Use recycled products wherever feasible.
  3. Identify and minimise hazardous wastes on campus.
  4. Apply systems for safe and environmentally responsible disposal of wastes (hazardous and general) that cannot be re-used or recycled.
  5. Work towards minimising paper use through promotion of double-sided printing and use of online systems, iPads and other efficient technologies.
  6. Promote waste reduction practices to all the university’s stakeholders.


Follow link for more detailed information on Recycling at Rhodes University

Recycling Collection Points:

  • Community Engagement accept cleaned recycled materials to repurpose for ESD teacher enducation training aids and community toy libraries

  • Grahamstown Recycling (industrial area)

  • IWARS is currently working with government to implement Buy-Back Centres in Makhanda. 

  • SPCA: Grahamstown SPCA takes in recyclable materials, including plastic, paper, cardboard, metal and glass bottles. Please ensure that these materials are clean and dry, and glass separate from the rest of the materials. Recycling materials must be dropped off at the SPCA. Funds that the SPCA receives for these materials go back into keeping the centre afloat. More info: or visit their Facebook page.

  • Metal Master: 2 Cloncore St, Grahamstown. 
  • Organic, food and garden waste, food waste: See Worm farming.


Other Resources:



Last Modified: Fri, 07 Feb 2020 13:39:43 SAST