PMB’s garden refuse is going to ‘waste’

2015-04-29 09:23

PIETERMARITZBURG is literally up to its elbows in rubbish, and household garden waste is adding to the problem.

Pietermaritzburg’s landfill site is overflowing with a mixture of un- recyclable­ and recyclable material, building rubble, industrial waste, household food waste and household garden waste. The question begs, is our city under-equipped to deal with the proper waste disposal of a growing population or is the management of the city simply not interested in a solution.

That said, not all blame can be placed on the shoulders of our municipality­.

Pietermaritzburg is actually on the right track, albeit missing some vital steps. There are several well located drop-off sites or what are called transfer stations in the city, reserved for the dumping of green waste only.

These transfer stations were earmarked as collection points for garden refuse intended for recycling into organic compost which would then be re-used in the city. To date, all this garden waste is collected by the municipality and taken to the landfill site at New England Road and mixed in with general waste.

John Kidger from Farmyard Organics­, a local composting company­ suggests a greener solution such as the one successfully implemented by Cape Town.

“In Cape Town, a green waste recycling partnership between leading organic composters and the Cape Town municipality has proven to be a great success in the war against waste. The municipality pays the company to collect and recycle clean green waste before it reaches the landfill.

“Last year it reached a milestone in having achieved the diversion of 10 million cubic metres of garden refuse from the landfill by successfully using it to make compost. The partnership has seen more than 750 000 tons of organic compost being put back into the depleted soils of the Western Cape, resulting in valuable cost-savings­ for the city. Essentially it has meant that the good quality compost being produced from green waste is also eliminating the cost of creating additional landfill space,” said Kidger.

He added that green waste is an ideal raw material for organic compost and if it was diverted directly to a composting facility, there would be a significant reduction of the pressure of green waste on the New England Road landfill site.

“It makes sense to transport green waste away from the suburbs where people wouldn’t be affected by the noise and smell of compost production.”

He explained that green waste, mixed with other waste is also very flammable - especially in hot conditions.

“It is the decomposition of garden waste, grass clippings, bark and other foodstuffs that causes the initial spontaneous fires, which are then fuelled by other waste dumped alongside it. It is also the green waste that causes the thick smoke that residents complain about.

“In a nutshell, diverting recyclables off the landfill site will reduce pressure on the limited space by thirty to forty percent, which will result in massive savings in capital expenditure, management costs and logistics for the city. It will also mean that methane and greenhouse gas emissions, produced during decomposition, will decline, helping the municipality to reduce their carbon footprint and ultimately giving the City of Choice a greener conscience,” said Kidger. – Supplied

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