Even though many South Africans have hopped on board to recycle paper, plastics, glass and metal items, what some don’t realise is that organic waste can be recycled too. In light of National Recycling Day which takes place today, September 17, let’s unpack how organic waste can be recycled:
What is organic waste?
Organic waste means anything that was once alive such as food waste, garden refuse, wood, paper and compostable packaging to name a few.
“We need to rethink waste!” says Melanie Ludwig from The Organics Recycling Association of South Africa (ORASA). “In the Western Cape, more than 40% of all waste delivered to landfills is organic waste. By recycling our organic waste into compost, we have the power to reverse climate change and replenish the health of our soils!
“Households can easily practice home composting to produce compost that can be used in their own gardens, while on a larger scale and to ensure sustainability, composting at community gardens can grow wholesome food for less fortunate communities,” Ludwig adds.
Why does it matter?
In the Western Cape, more than three million tons of organic waste ends up in landfills each year. This affects the environment as the production of environmentally harmful methane during the anaerobic decomposition of organic material in landfills and leachate production is a key driving force behind our climate crisis.
As of the beginning of 2022, the Western Cape Organics Landfill Ban will come into effect, requiring a 50% reduction in organic waste being allowed in landfills with a 100% ban by 2027!
“We need a new approach to all waste streams in South Africa, not just organics,” says Ludwig. “Source separation of waste is required to ensure that each waste stream can be effectively and efficiently recycled, composted or reused!”
How can we recycle organic waste?
So what can you do to recycle your organic waste? Have a bucket or container in your kitchen where all food and compostable waste can be put. Once this is full, simply transfer this outside to your compost unit where it can be composted with all of your garden waste producing nutritious compost that can be put back into your garden, while at the same time helping to reverse climate change!
For more information on the organic waste landfill ban coming into effect next year and how you can recycle your organic waste please contact Melanie Ludwig of the Organics Recycling Association of South Africa on 083 696 5138, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.orasa.org.za
Picture: Popular Mechanics gallery