The Western Cape government has implemented a ban on all Food waste to Landfills, partly effective from 2022 (and complete ban from 2027). This will impact the way you, your staff and your guests or customers will need to handle your food waste.
Currently, most hotels and restaurants use waste management companies to manage their waste. Behind the scene, these waste companies send for recycling the recyclable materials (which haven’t been contaminated with food & oily stuff), and only a small number of them are keeping the food waste separate to send to our composting facilities (where the food waste is turned into valuable, nutrient-rich compost). The majority of the food waste and contaminated waste is currently being sent to our Landfills.
However, this will have to change in light of the Landfill ban. Organisations such as the Organics Recycling Association of South Africa (ORASA.org.za) and GreenCape are raising awareness about the ban – but it will be up to YOU to implement a solution for your own organisation.
Our suggestions? Here are some (not unbiased) suggestions from us at POSTWINK:
- Start or improve your Separation at Source(i.e BEFORE it gets inside your bins). Your clean recyclables should be kept separate from your food waste, which should be kept separate from your contaminated waste (like oily plastic trays, dirty cling wrap, half-full yogurts…) and the obvious non-recyclables (like chip packets).
- Set up a Composting solution for your food waste (which includes coffee grind, teabags and certified & tested compostable packaging). You can do this on-site via an in-Vessel Composting vessel (IVC), or a Bokashi system, a certified compostable bag system, a worm farm, a garden composter – or a combination of all these effective methods.
- Train your staff. ALL the staff: engage the cleaning & restaurant/canteen staff to become your champions & gatekeepers for your recycling initiative but ensure staff from all levels & divisions are trained on waste separation at source. Once Food or recyclables are contaminated at source, it’s just more likely to end up in landfills.
- Request and check your data from your Waste management company. Are your recycling rates over 60%? If not, why not? Checking the figures from your Waste Management company could help you understand current/potential problems. And hear them out. There is a possibly good reason why your recycling rates are not reaching your expected levels.
All in all, we understand you and your company are not waste or recycling expert – you have your own work to do. However, waste separation, recycling and managing your food waste is (or will become) your problem amidst changes in the regulatory environment and the fact that the remaining landfill capacity is under such pressure. And actually, it is the right thing to do. We have to embrace it and be progressive – after all, we have a planet to look after.