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Getting to know your waste laws in South Africa

South Africa’s waste sector, including food and organic waste is tightly regulated to ensure that the environment is safeguarded against pollution while stimulating economic opportunities that are available with certain waste streams. BiobiN South Africa aims to maximise the economic potential of food waste while also keeping it out of landfill. Over recent years this has become a mandatory requirement for many commercial properties, retail and food outlets. No longer can you just discard food waste; it needs to be treated and processed first. How well do you know our waste laws that regulate how food waste is processed or disposed of? Let’s have a look at the main two that are applicable to food waste:

Our umbrella waste management act: National Environmental Management Act: Waste Act. This is our country’s overarching waste act. It covers all waste types, activities, and requirements for dealing with waste. This is your starting point when looking at which legislation you would need to comply with. Two government targets that have consequently placed strict regulations on food waste is governments aim to have zero waste go to landfill up 2022 (now revised to 50% of waste to landfill by 2025) and half the volumes of food waste generation by 2030. Have a look at our Waste Act here.

Waste Classification regulations. The purpose of the Waste Classification regulations are to prescribe requirements for managing waste so that it does not pollute. Included in this regulation are the minimum requirements for processing food and organic waste for retail centres and food outlets. The two main requirements are that it cannot be stored for long periods of time and organic waste that has a moisture content of more than 40% cannot be included in the general waste stream that goes to landfill. This leaves many commercial property owners with composting as the most viable option to process food and organic waste.

Have a look at the Waste Classification requirements here.

Legislation can be challenging to keep up with. BiobiN recommends visiting the South African Waste Information Centre where all our most recent waste legislation can be found in one place!

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