waste stream landfill
South Africa has aligned its waste management policy and regulations to the concept of circular economy. Image: Pixabay

South Africa’s waste economy has the potential to contribute R11.5 billion annually to the country’s GDP, according to the Department of Environmental Affairs, Forestry and Fisheries. It could create 127,000 jobs and 4,300 new SMMEs.

One way SA businesses are already tapping into the waste economy is through the Western Cape Industrial Symbioses Programme (WISP), an initiative that demonstrates environmental and socio-economic sustainability. WISP is a City of Cape Town-funded platform facilitated through GreenCape. Under the programme, GreenCape develops mutually profitable links between companies from all industry sectors, allowing under-utilitised and/or waste resources from one company to be recovered, reprocessed and re-used by others.

Have you read?
Workshop 29 June: Digital Global Biogas Cooperation
Identifying business opportunities in South Africa’s water sector

Mayoral committee member for economic opportunities and asset management Alderman James Vos recently saw the process in action when he visited Siyavana Solutions, a small business in Bellville that services the oil and petroleum industry.

He described the business linkages as a solution that allows participating business to “cut costs, improve processes, create new revenue streams and job opportunities, all while positively impacting the environment through the re-purposing of waste.”

GreenCape had identified Siyavana Solutions as a business that could develop an upcycling solution for decommissioned fuel pumps at Shell Petroleum Company. Siyavana Solutions refurbishes the pumps and then resells them to Shell at a reduced cost.

Reducing waste stream is good for business and environment

“Thus far the project has generated R4 million per year in additional revenue and nine new jobs, all while diverting tonnes of waste from landfills. This is a perfect example of innovative solutions that benefit both people and the planet,” explained Vos.

Since 2013 WISP has generated more than R120m in financial benefits through additional revenue, cost savings and private investments. The programme has:

  • Diverted about 105,000 tonnes of waste from landfills
  • Created 69 permanent jobs in member companies;
  • Made 25 temporary jobs available;
  • Created 218 economy-wide jobs in supply chains that have been created;
  • Saved 309,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions, which equates to the annual electricity usage of 83,340 South African households.

“A more sustainable future depends on programmes such as WISP and I look forward to seeing it expand to the benefit of all,” said Vos. 

Biogas technologies are a way to beneficiate waste streams to address businesses’ needs to secure and reduce their energy demand, be more water efficient and reduce their waste stream.

As a South African project partner for the Digital Global Biogas Cooperation (DiBiCoo) project, Greencape will host a workshop on the current market and legislative framework of the biogas sector in South Africa on Tuesday 29 June. Register for your front row seat.