Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa says the department will intensify its efforts to support recycling enterprises to boost job creation.
While there have been several recycling initiatives around the country that have received backing from municipalities, opportunities in the sector have not been optimised, said the Minister when she tabled the department’s Budget Vote in Parliament recently.
“To encourage the scale-up of recycling enterprises in the waste sector, we
launched the Recycling Enterprise Support Programme that will provide the initial capital setup costs for emerging entrepreneurs.
“This year we aim to approve and begin the implementation of the three prioritised Industry Waste Management Plans, namely for the paper and packaging, electrical and electronic and lighting industries respectively,” she said.
In the first call for proposals, the department received over 200 creative and innovative ones.
“We are working with the Departments of Small Business Development and Labour, the Industrial Development Corporation, Public Investment Corporation and other development finance institutions on various financing models to ensure massive scale-up, transformation and job creation,” she said.
The department said the waste sector is one of the most important potentially emerging contributors to the generation of jobs in the green economy.
According to the department, despite a total estimated value of R25 billion to the South African economy, the current rate of waste recycling has not been maximised.
“I am pleased to say that we have established a sound and comprehensive regulatory platform to accelerate the waste recycling economy and waste beneficiation thereby unlocking economic opportunities in the waste sector,” she said.
Plans have been put in place for the management and disbursement of funds through the Waste Management Bureau, which will be fully operationalised this year.
The Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of South Africa (REDISA) Waste Tyre Management Plan, launched in 2012, has been cited internationally as a best practice for waste management.
“As at February 2016, 226 small businesses and 3 112 jobs were created through the REDISA Waste Tyre Management Plan.
“As at February 2016, some 20 935 tonnes of waste tyres were collected and 12 728 tonnes were processed.
“This being a new programme, and the first of its kind, the results remain remarkable. We are currently conducting an annual audit to strengthen the programme.”
Mechanised vehicles for e-waste collectors
The department will hand over more mechanised vehicles to registered e-waste collectors.
This will assist in bringing the country’s estimated 62 147 registered waste pickers into the formal economy and to ensure their safety and protection.
“This year we will continue to hand over mechanised vehicles, as we did last year to some of the registered e-waste collectors. We will do this to alleviate the pain and inconvenience of them pushing heavy manual trolleys and bags all day long.”
As part of the department’s partnership with Coca-Cola (M-Pact Coca-Cola Plant), the department will officially launch the largest plastic bottle recycling plant in Africa in Germiston. The plant is valued at R350 million and is expected to create 1 000 jobs.
Over 130 renewable energy projects authorised
The department has authorised 137 renewable energy applications, which are expected to contribute just over 5 000 megawatts to the power grid.
The department will also be encouraging the uptake of recycling enterprises in the waste sector as government makes a push to bolster waste management in the country.
“In support of renewable energy rollout we have finalised the pre-assessment of the grid expansion corridors. One hundred and thirty seven renewable energy applications have already been authorised, representing 5 719 megawatts,” she said.