South Africa rethinks liquid waste disposal

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The South African Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) has placed a ban on all forms of liquid waste from being dumped at landfills. This ban will come into effect on 23 August 2019 and will force many waste management providers to rethink their liquid waste disposal methods.The DEA previously banned hazardous waste with a high calorific value from being disposed of at landfills in August 2017. These are steps to protect the environment and encourage innovation in the waste industry.

Liquid waste a focus for the DEA

These waste management regulations are designed to control the disposal of general and hazardous waste that can leak out of landfills and into water systems or the environment. These restrictions are also progressively growing as the DEA takes a more strict stance on waste to landfill.As it stands, highly calorific liquid waste such as refinery waste, chemicals, paints and solvents are not allowed to be dumped at a landfill. From August 2019, all liquids will need to be taken to a different waste management facility. Approximately one million tonnes of liquid waste is produced in South Africa every year - equating to 2,4% of our total annual waste.Liquid wastes (and waste with a high moisture content) are responsible for landfill leachate. This is where chemicals and hazardous substances are washed from landfills when the liquids drain, eventually seeping into rivers and groundwater. This can pose a serious threat to South Africa’s water security.

New liquid waste regulations encourage innovation

To get around these new regulations, waste management companies will need to devise and seek new disposal methods that benefit the environment and their waste-generating clients. Some hazardous liquid wastes can even be used as alternative fuel sources for energy production, even if on a small scale.These liquid waste streams could be used to add to the economy, rather than drain it. Some of these liquids can be refined and their value retained, so dumping them on a landfill is a loss of potential profit.In essence, we need to start looking at waste as a valuable resource that can be used to benefit the South African economy. It can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and be used to create alternative products with retained value.___Averda is a leading waste management provider with over 50 years of experience across three continents. Through growth, transformation and engagement, we strive to find new ways of managing waste while protecting the community and environment. ___By pairing international expertise with local insights, we have secured our position as one of South Africa’s most respected providers of waste management and industrial cleaning services. We also operate in the recycling, pipe inspection, CCTV, infrastructure inspection, hydro-demolition, high-pressure water jetting and catalyst handling industries. ___Follow us Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for the best tips on recycling and the latest industry news. See our Instagram and YouTube channels for more insights into environmental affairs and our work with local communities.