Expert collaboration with South Africa

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The WASTECOSMART consortium dispatched a delegation of 13 experts in waste management and decision support systems to South Africa to meet their counterparts from policy making, academia and practitioners in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town during the week of 2-6 November 2015.

Last year, South Africa and the European Union decided to step up cooperation in science, technology and innovation to address key societal challenges such as water and waste management. In this light, a delegation of WASTECOSMART experts travelled to South Africa in November 2015, to meet with key stakeholders in innovative waste management. This kick-started a pro-active exchange, seeking new approaches to the challenge of diverting waste from landfill in order to move up the waste hierarchy.


In Johannesburg, Dr. Linda Godfrey from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Natural Resources and Environment, set the scene for the waste experts by presenting the South African Waste R&D and Innovation Roadmap. Thereafter, the delegation got hands-on experience visiting recycling centres for garden waste (Ballyclare) and recyclable materials (Diepsloot Buyback Centre) as well as the Robinson Deep landfill site that deals with rest waste and construction & demolition waste.


The delegation was hosted by Pikitup, the waste management company serving the South African capital. During an interactive workshop, Pikitup presented the specific waste management challenges facing the Johannesburg Metropolitan Area, where they aim to create opportunities for growth and jobs and ensure that valuable resources are not lost. The workshop facilitated the sharing of good practices in waste prevention, re-use and recycling policies and technologies between the WASTECOSMART cluster regions and the South African partners.


In Cape Town, representatives of the City shared their vision of Solid Waste Management as well as their experiences with the implementation of a range of specific waste management programmes aimed at raising citizen engagement, the accreditation of waste professionals, waste minimisation and the collection of recyclables.


Innovative waste management has an outstanding potential to unlock investment and create jobs. In the Western Cape, GreenCape is looking to harvest that potential by helping businesses to benefit from the green economy. GreenCape provided the European delegation with an overview of the key challenges and opportunities present in the waste industry. GreenCape also offered an insight into the Western Cape Industrial Symbiosis Programme, as well as Decision support tools and case studies relevant to Integrated Municipal Waste management.


At the University of Cape Town, decision-making frameworks for strategic waste management were presented by Quinton Williams and Tawanda Sango from GreenCape and Ron Janssen from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The possibility of using decision-making frameworks for devising integrated regional waste solutions in the South African context was discussed, using the Amsterdam waste collection system as an example.


In the following months, the European and South African experts will work on identifying opportunities for collaboration in research, business and policy development for innovative regional waste management.


All presentations from the exchanges between the delegations are available in the WASTECOSMART library.