South African businesses need to know waste laws

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Businesses operating in South Africa have been called upon by a major law firm, Webber Wentzel, to comply with the new national standards of waste management. Local companies ought to take more responsibility for their waste and hire the right waste management providers to avoid being prosecuted.Responsible waste management providers in South Africa will be fully-licensed and compliant with national and international regulations. However, the Department of Environmental Affairs has dropped the requirement for waste facilities to obtain a licence if they handle the sorting, shredding, grinding, crushing and screening of general and office waste.

New National Norms and Standards

Webber Wentzel has warned that these disposal activities are now regulated by the new National Norms and Standards, which were put in effect in October 2017. This means that unlicensed waste management providers still need to adhere to certain laws and codes when processing general waste.The National Norms and Standards also outline new rules for the registration, design and operation of all waste management facilities. Businesses will need to ensure that their waste management provider abides by these codes, or that they conform to these regulations if they run in-house grinding, crushing, baling and shredding.

Your business could be categorised as a ‘waste facility’

According to Webber Wentzel, the definition of a ‘waste facility’ as outlined in the National Norms and Standards is quite broad. It refers to any “commercial place, infrastructure or containment of any kind”. These rather vague descriptions are open to interpretation, depending on the nature of a business and their waste management area or in-house operations. These subtle changes in the new regulations could mean that businesses handling their own waste are at risk of being prosecuted if they don’t comply.If a local company has on-site sorting, shredding, crushing, grinding, screening or baling facilities, they should familiarise themselves with the regulations. Even if they don’t actually qualify as a waste management facility, it is better to be safe than sorry.___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, 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.