Johannesburg by-laws under Chapter 2 enforce a Waste Information Management System (WIMS), forcing waste collectors, handlers, transporters, traders, recyclers, treatment facilities, and disposers to register, license, and report their waste types and volumes, reports sheq specialist SHEQafrica.
Cape Town is the only other city to give effect to provisions in the Waste Act of 2008. The Johannesburg Waste Hub, that was temporarily closed in 2009 due to capacity and corruption problems, is opening again in 2011, to register and renew waste operators, inspect waste vehicles and sites, issue compliance certificates, and record waste volumes.
Waste operators would have to report their volumes monthly. Several industries and sectors have complained that their members are incurring costs and onerous red tape, some appointing extra staff to comply to WIS provisions, but the three levels of state are slowly forging ahead with elaborate plans to regulate waste handling.
Johannesburg and Cape Town metros would in turn report waste volumes to their provincial authorities, which are also setting up waste information handing facilities. Provincial waste offices would report their waste types and volumes to the national Department of Water and Environmental Affairs (DWEA) Waste Information System.
Each waste site and vehicle would be registered and licensed in terms of specific and detailed conditions. Operators in breach of their terms and conditions, would face fines or closure. Registration and licensing forms are automated on a Waste Hub website.
Business protests against onerous regulation and criminilisation of waste and recycling business, already under stress from low profit margins, rising transport costs, and lack of state facilities and services, like single stream collection and far flung disposal sites, are falling on deaf ears.
Waste business registration fee
Waste handling registration and licensing is initially set at a zero rate, but an administration fee of ‘about R100 per year’ would later be levied by the Johannesburg Waste Hub, and other WIS agencies. Even individual ‘trolley brigade’ collectors would have to register and report their volumes, presumably via their buyers.
Municipal, provincial and national Waste Hubs would make waste data available to public access, including contact details of registered and licensed operators. An initial idea to facilitate contact between suppliers and users of particular waste or recyclate resources, by way of a ‘waste exchange’, is not part of the formal intention or mechanism of the WIS.
Waste resources include steel, paper, plastics, oil, electronics (e-waste), greens, and packaging like drums. WIS authorities are developing a set of codes for each resource. Most waste operators would require two or three license discs.
Waste handlers would have to display registration discs at their sites and on their vehicles, including manual collection trolleys, or face fines, prison sentences, and trade prohibition.
Municipal borders query
Waste transporters crossing municipal and provincial borders, would have to register and license with the relevant authorities. Health care risk waste operators have to register with the Department of Transport and Department of Health.
A system of exemptions would apply once all local authorities have set up waste information management structures, a City of Johannesburg official told SHEQafrica.com. Ekurhuleni metro, Mogale City metro, and other local authorities would be required to set up uniform WIS structures and procedures, in line with the pilot systems in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Waste reporting rules tweaked
The draft Waste Manifest system had drawn several comments from industry and public. Hazardous waste handlers had asked government to align the manifest system with the Road Freight Regulations, partly to avoid duplication of work and proliferation of rules. Road Freight regulation is aligned to international standards, including classification and labelling.
The Waste Manifest system was initially drafted by the CSIR, but complexity of the system, and information management system challenges, had stalled promulgation for some years.
The Waste Act had likewise attempted to impose additional requirements on haz and chemicals handlers, but industry and public comment had convinced the legislator to remove requirements that would be onerous, or diffuse compliance across too many pieces of legislation.
Used oil handlers report to Nora SA
The organised used oil sector had agreed with Johannesburg metro that members of the National Oil Recycling Association of SA, Nora SA, would gather lubricant waste data from their handlers, reprocessors and recyclers, and report to the WIS in bulk.
“Nora SA would not report privileged business information, but only types and volumes on anonymous basis, so that individual generators, collectors and companies are not potentially compromised by reporting sources, routes, volumes or processes”, Nora SA chairperson Leon van Dyk told SHEQafrica.com.
Since most used oil collectors are small enterprises, or individual representatives of regional operators, WIS reporting would affect their productivity and profit. As Nora SA takes up most of the WIS admin burden, it entrenches its own role.
Waste and recycling transporters have requested provincial and semi-private transport and roads authorities to consider their exemption from controversial highway toll fees.
About half of used oil volumes are handled by non Nora SA members, mostly by Oilkol, which has an automated data system capable of reporting to the WIS.
PHOTO; Waste handlers would have to display registration discs on their sites and vehicles, as in this example from the Johannesburg Waste Hub at www.wastehub/org.za