During an Eden district wide study, it became evident that municipalities lack information, regarding the different types and volumes of waste, featured in their Integrated Waste Management Plans.
For this reason, Eden District Municipality (Eden DM) took the initiative, to procure the necessary equipment required to conduct waste characterisation studies. This was done with the prize money received from the Greenest District Municipality Awards that was won in 2015.
From August 2015, the Eden DM Waste Management Section conducted waste characterisation studies in the Bitou-, Mossel Bay-, Knysna-, Hessequa- and Oudtshoorn Municipal areas. The reason behind these studies has been to obtain and provide a breakdown of the composition and quantities of household and commercial waste collected from different outlets and disposed at landfill sites. This information is needed to ensure proper integrated waste management planning.
A representative sample, relative to the total number of households per sub-area, was collected, identified, sorted and weighed.
The waste was categorised into 15 different waste types, namely:
- Soft plastics;
- Hard plastics;
- Glass metal; food waste;
- Garden waste;
- Wood waste;
- Inert waste;
- E-waste; and
- Hazardous waste and more (waste that does not fall under the aforementioned categories).
The results obtained from the different sub-areas within the different municipalities, illustrated different trends in waste generation. These trends will be significant in identifying and prioritising the type of waste minimisation areas and management initiatives to implement in the various sub-areas. For example, home composting initiatives should be implemented in the sub-areas where garden waste was the most prominent component of the waste sampled.
A waste characterisation study is planned for early 2017 in the George Municipal area; whereafter similar studies will follow in the other local municipalities within the Eden district. The abovementioned studies will be performed on a bi-annual basis, in order to determine the seasonal waste generation trends. The majority of waste currently reaching the landfill site are recyclable materials.