Embracing sustainable living is an informed choice for the environmentally aware. It stands to reason that the more informed we are the greater the beneficial impact our efforts will have.
This blog will look at the definitions and distinctions of Waste Management and Recycling as laid down in the South African Waste Act. The Act provides a framework for the regulation of waste laying out minimum requirements for waste management from creation to transportation, processing, recycling and disposal of waste.
Understanding the terms more accurately empowers us to make better decisions when it comes to reducing waste, recycling more effectively, disposing of waste, and even the buying choices that we make.
Definitions in the South African Waste Act
Before we look at the definitions of Waste Management and Recycling, it may be helpful to look at what we mean by ‘waste’ in the South African context.
What is ‘Waste’?
Any substance, whether or not that substance can be reduced, reused, recycled, and recovered that is:
- Surplus, unwanted, rejected, discarded, abandoned, or disposed of,
- Which the generator has no further use of for the purposes of production,
- That must be treated or disposed of, or
- That is identified as a waste by the Minister by notice in the Gazette, and includes waste generated by the mining, medical or other sector.
Once a material is re-used, recycled or recovered, it’s no longer classified as ‘waste’.
Waste Management Activity
Waste management goes beyond just throwing things away, it involves:
- Importing and exporting waste
- Generating waste, including the undertaking of any activity or process that is likely to result in the generation of waste
- Accumulating and storing waste
- Collecting and handling waste
- Transporting waste
- Transferring waste
- Treating waste
- Disposing of waste
What is ‘Recycling’?
This refers to a process that involves separating waste from a waste stream for further use, as well as processing that separated material into a product or raw material.
Insights from the definitions
Recycling forms just one part of the wider Waste Management framework. The definition clarifies that to be recycled, waste material needs to be separated and sorted. The material must also be processed for reuse. The process involves collecting, cleaning and preparing the material for reuse or remanufacture.
Under the definition of waste, it is made clear that recycled material is no longer considered waste, underpinning the critical importance of recycling in driving sustainability.
Waste Management covers the entire life cycle of waste from control of waste creation to collection, transportation, storage, treatment, and disposal of waste materials in a manner that is environmentally responsible and sustainable. The regulations associated with waste management reflect the government’s constitutional responsibility to protect the environment. At each stage of the waste life cycle, individuals, businesses and local government have specific responsibilities that are aimed at minimizing the negative environmental and social impacts of waste.
Mpact Waste Management vs. Mpact Recycling: Know Who to Call
Whether you represent a business or a community, understanding the difference between Mpact Waste Management and Mpact Recycling is crucial for making an informed decision.
Mpact Waste Management
For businesses in diverse sectors such as FMCG, Printing, Retail, Distribution, and Manufacturing, Mpact Waste Management provides tailored solutions, including:
- On-site waste sorting: Ideal for managing waste at the source, reducing costs, and promoting sustainability.
- E-waste management: A responsible way to dispose of electronic waste like computers and mobile phones.
- Food and organic waste management: Perfect for businesses in the food industry looking to minimise their environmental impact.
- Hazardous waste management: Expert handling of hazardous materials, compliant with regulations.
- Staff recycling training: Equipping your team with the skills needed for effective on-site waste management.
If you operate in complex industries like Manufacturing or Logistics, Mpact Waste Management can guide you through the maze of waste management regulations, including those that apply to hazardous waste.
Mpact Recycling offers a broad spectrum of services catering to both community initiatives and business needs. Their offerings include:
- Schools and Communities Programme: Designed to engage young people and communities in recycling.
- Residential Estates Recycling Programme: Facilitating easy participation in recycling initiatives for estates.
- 15 branches and hundreds of drop-off sites for depositing recyclables: Convenient drop-off locations for sorted waste.
- Business recyclables collection: For businesses seeking only the collection of recyclables without comprehensive waste management.
- Support for buy-back centres and dealers: Collaborating closely to ensure they are well-supported as key suppliers to Mpact Recycling.
Whether you’re a community leader, school administrator or residential estate manager, Mpact Recycling provides a clear and accessible route towards sustainable practices.
The Power of Informed Action
The right information can transform words into impactful actions. Making informed decisions about waste and recycling not only benefits you but also contributes to broader social and environmental well-being. Words become powerful when they lead to actions, especially actions guided by specific requirements, making them more effective ways to protect our environment.
FAQ: Your Questions Answered
1. What separates waste management from recycling?
Waste management is the umbrella term; recycling is a specific activity under it.
2. How do Mpact’s services differ?
Mpact Waste Management is industry-focused. While Mpact Recycling is not just community-focused; it thrives on business and industry volume.
3. Who handles hazardous waste?
Mpact Waste Management is your go-to for hazardous waste solutions.
4. How do I start a community recycling programme?
Contact Mpact Recycling for community and residential initiatives.
5. How can I engage my community or school in recycling?
Mpact Recycling offers specific programmes for these groups.
6. Is sorting required before using Mpact Recycling services?
Yes, pre-sorting is advisable although not always compulsory.
7. How can I monetise my waste?
You have options with both Mpact Waste Management and Mpact Recycling. If you’re a business, Mpact Waste Management can assist you in trading your recyclables for financial returns. On the other hand, Mpact Recycling offers payments to collectors, dealers, and buy-back centres for delivering recyclable materials to their branches. Additionally, schools have an opportunity to win money through the Ronnie Recycler Schools Competition, and communities receive payment for their material. This money is often invested in shared facilities, such as how The Constantia Village drop-off centre in Cape Town uses the proceeds to maintain the Alphen Greenbelt.
Armed with this knowledge, you’re now better prepared to contribute meaningfully to sustainable living. Let’s turn our words into actions and make a real difference in the world we share.