WIT Press

The New National Environmental Management: Waste Act; A Shift In Waste Management Approach In South Africa


Free (open access)





Page Range

311 - 322




3,244 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


O. Baloyi & K. Masinga


South Africa has been in the process of strengthening its regulatory framework through the development of legislation, regulations, norms and standards to facilitate better management of waste. One such legislation is the National Environmental Management: Waste Act, 2008 (Act No. 59 of 2008) which led to the adoption of a new approach in waste management. Traditional ways of dealing with waste have a considerable environmental footprint, not only from landfill methane emissions but also from the energy and raw materials needed to collect and move it around. It is estimated that South Africa generates millions of tons of waste from household, commerce and industry. Although current data on waste flows is incomplete, it was estimated that for the between March 2006 to April 2007, about 24,115,402 tons of general waste was disposed of in landfills during that year (DEAT, 2007). This figure will increase as waste services are extended, and necessitate a significant increase in the recycling rate and greater diversion of waste from landfill through waste to energy recovery, treatment and reuse programs. Currently, much of this waste ends up in waste landfills where it biodegrades and generates methane gas which contributes to the total greenhouse gas emissions leading to climate change. In July of 2009, the new Waste Act which governs waste management in South Africa came into effect. This landmark legislation seeks to address the problems South Africa has over waste by instituting mechanisms of waste avoidance, minimisation, reuse, recycling, recovery, appropriate collection, transport services and environmentally sound treatment and disposal. Interestingly, the new Waste Act also introduces an element of remediation of contaminated land, a new provision in waste management legislation in the country. With the firm legislative foundation and


waste, waste hierarchy, regulations, waste strategy, waste licence, waste information, reuse, recycling, disposal