With increased global awareness, new legislation is putting pressure on local authorities to act fast in solving problems associated with landfill sites – and it all starts in your kitchen.
Mark Price, of Integrated Waste and Recycling Services (IWARS) presented a talk on the importance of proper recycling and landfill management recently. IWARS is a Grahamstown-based specialist waste company.
“It is so important to separate your waste for improved safety and efficient recyclability,” said Price, explaining that the two-bag system in place in the Makana area is highly effective.
According to this system, residents place recyclable waste in orange or clear bags and the rest of their waste in black refuse bags.
Recyclable materials include paper, grey paper, cardboard, contaminated plastic, bottles, carrier bags, cans, metal and tins. It is important to empty any containers and check that materials are dry before placing them into an orange bag.
“We do not take glass. We need to know that when a worker opens up an orange bag, they are not going to cut themselves,” Price said.
By using the two-bag system, workers can identify the recyclables easily and efficiently. Addressing a commonly expressed concern, Price said residents should not fear when different coloured bags were thrown together on to the municipal rubbish truck.
“When the workers see an orange bag on the landfill they can quickly remove it and start sorting it. It really helps,” said Price.
However, if residents are concerned about where their waste goes, they can drop their orange bags at various spots on Wednesdays on the Rhodes University campus. These spots are indicated by maps available at various points on campus.
Price says plastic is valuable because it can produce polytimber, an innovative multipurpose recycled plastic product.
After his talk, those attendings went to the local landfill site, where Price demonstrated how polytimber is produced. Price said it takes 1 800 plastic two-litre water bottles to construct a standard bench.
Price said he could not stress enough the positive effects of proper recycling on towns.
He said his company's operations had had a great impact on Kenton-on-Sea’s Blue-Flag status and Port Alfred's being named the cleanest town of the year.
Price aims to get Grahamstown up to the same standards, while creating jobs and helping create a sustainable environment.
IWARS was established in 2008 and aims to create environmental solutions for the sustainable future of South Africa. Its programmes incorporate education, awareness programmes, skills development and correct implementation of collection and separation methods.