Despite several reports that Cape Town’s landfills are filling up to maximum capacity, the percentage of waste that is being illegally dumped at its landfills is steadily being reduced. Over the past few years – 2011/12 to 2016/17 specifically – the City of Cape Town has increased the percentage of waste being diverted from landfills from 12.3% to 21.3%.

The City has set aside approximately R118,7-million for initiatives that will minimise the waste which makes its way to Cape Town’s landfills. This will include programs for the recycling and composting of suitable materials.

Cape Town aims to be one of the world’s most clean and resource-efficient cities. The City does its utmost to protect its natural environment to enable a more prosperous future.

The City has recently opened new waste dumping sites, including Kensington and Induland sites – in an effort to contribute to reducing the level of illegally dumped waste.

“The City hopes this will help to foster a culture of responsible waste management by making it more convenient for residents to drop off waste closer to where they are situated,” said a statement by the City of Cape Town

“These new drop-off sites brings the total number of City-operated drop-offs to 24, each within a seven-kilometre radius of the next, with this distance reducing as more drop-offs are added.”

The City added that members of the public may drop off up to three free loads daily from a vehicle whose capacity does not exceed 1,5 tons. The daily limit of three loads applies to builders’ rubble, clean garden waste (excluding tree stumps), or garage waste.

Unlimited free loads of clean recyclables can also be dropped off at these facilities. This would include empty water bottles that members of the public bought during the time of extreme drought.

“Instead of throwing away all of the waste that we produce, we need to start thinking more carefully about how to produce less waste in the first place, as well as what can be recycled, composted and reused. This is increasingly becoming the new lifestyle choice of so many consumers,” said Xanthea Limberg,  Mayco Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services; and Energy.

“Expansion of the City’s network of drop-off sites enables this kind of responsible waste disposal by making it affordable and progressively more convenient to recycle and otherwise divert waste from landfills.”

These drop-off sites contribute to reducing illegal dumping as residents and smaller contractors can drop off bulky waste and rubble here for free, and Limberg adds that there is then no excuse for dumping waste materials on any piece of open land.

“Illegal dumping costs the ratepayer approximately 10 times more than the removal of waste via the normal waste stream, so we encourage residents to report illegal dumpers so that we can deter them from this practice and direct them to the available facilities. The dumping of inappropriate objects in our sewer systems alone costs us approximately R270 million annually to address,” she said.

Limberg said that the City is committed to carrying out responsible waste management.

“Capetonians really are known for being resource efficient, just have a look at how we cut our water and electricity usage over the years. If there is one city in the world that can be a leader in responsible waste management, it is Cape Town. We encourage all of our community organisations, residents and ratepayers’ associations, private sector business and media partners to help us to reduce our footprint on the earth,” she said.

Picture: City of Cape Town

Article written by

Lucinda Dordley

Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She enjoys reading the works of Stephen King, and exploring the beauty of Cape Town and its surrounds.