Taking the lead towards a circular economy

Taking the lead towards a circular economy

There has been an increase in big manufacturing businesses, within various sectors, wanting to improve their environmental footprint and reduce the amount of waste they send to landfills.

This is the view of Justice Tootla, managing director of the integrated waste management company Averda.

“For this to be achieved, they will need to partner with waste experts to help develop a comprehensive end-to-end waste management programme that will help drive a circular economy, not only for them, but South Africa as a whole,” says Tootla.

For example, a large packaging company wanted to change its approach towards waste and embrace the need to build an integrated waste cycle. To reduce its general waste by 30% in the next 12 months, Averda assisted the company to review and upgrade its waste management systems.

Recycling waste collected at the factory will be moved to a designated waste area for further sorting and segregation to help reduce landfill volumes and to increase the number of recyclables collected, which will then generate a financial rebate for the company. This rebate will offset the implementation costs of the new recycling system.

Tootla says that the programme didn’t only focus on the company’s clients, but its employees as well. “We included comprehensive staff training at all levels within the organisation, ensuring that the staff had a better understanding of the regulation and the impact it has on the environment, their communities and working space.”

The contract will look beyond just the recycling of normal waste streams; it will focus on the handling of the company’s wet waste stream (such as sealant and water-based liquids). These liquids will be transported to the Averda blending platform, situated at the Vlakfontein hazardous waste landfill site, where the liquids will be converted to an alternate fuel for thermal processes.

“All the changes we are making to our clients’ waste management solutions are supported by the recent changes to government policy and the call for a more circular economy,” Tootla adds.

Last year the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries released an updated National Waste Management Strategy, which outlined the government’s policy and strategic interventions for the waste sector. It is aligned and responsive to the sustainable development goals of Agenda 2030 – adopted by all United Nations members.

“Businesses should not shy away from this opportunity,” says Tootla, “as it has been proven that establishing a circular economy provides economic benefits by not only reducing waste, but also fostering business growth and job prospects.

“The goal of these changes is to sever the relationship between economic growth and the use of natural resources, so that our global economic prosperity is not linked to environmental degradation.”

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SHEQ Management

SHEQ MANAGEMENT is the definitive source for reliable, accurate and pertinent information to guarantee environmental health and safety in the workplace.
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