City joins call to reduce food waste

In light of Stop Food Waste Day yesterday, the City of Cape Town’s Urban Waste Management Directorate is reminding residents that we should all be looking to reduce organic waste, including food waste, wherever possible. Read more below:


When organic waste breaks down within a landfill mass, it produces landfill gas. This gas has been shown to have a global warming potential approximately 25 times higher than carbon dioxide.


For this reason, the Western Cape Provincial Government has set a target for all Western Cape residents, businesses and municipalities to work together to reduce organic waste to landfill by 50% by 2022, and 100% by 2027, requiring action by everyone in the Province. They have included specific requirements in the Licence Conditions of each municipal landfill site as one method of ensuring these targets are implemented.


To help reach this target, the City is implementing the following initiatives to divert organic waste from landfill:


·         Provided 22 495 home composting containers, and counting, to residents across the metro, free of charge. The City also offers tips to anyone wishing to start their own organic waste diversion and composting at home – a home composting container is not a necessity for this.


Composting food waste at home not only reduces the impact of organic waste, but also feeds your soil and results in a healthier, more productive garden.


Residents with a garden/outdoor space for a composting container/heap can find information here:


·         Ongoing investigation on the most effective business models to facilitate organic waste diversion, through the increase of drop-off or collection at source services (organic waste, packaging waste recyclables). Alternatives being looked at include a combination of commercial contracts, business initiatives, entrepreneurs, communities, reclaimers/waste pickers and SMMEs.


·         Inviting residents to drop off their garden waste free of charge (along with their clean recyclables, garage waste and builders’ rubble) at more than 20 municipal drop-off sites across the city


·         The City’s waste recyclers map shows the location and contact details of private drop-off sites and organic waste collectors operating in Cape Town.


·         In terms of the City’s Integrated Waste Management By-law, waste generators are required to submit integrated management plans, which include details on how they plan to sort and beneficiate their organic waste. The sectors generating large amounts of organic waste will receive additional attention in this regard in the years to come. Details of accredited service providers who beneficiate organic waste in the economy, turning it into compost or other valuable commodities, can be obtained from the City.


·         Providing infrastructure for end-of-stream interventions e.g. planning of an organic waste diversion facility as part of upgrades to Coastal Park landfill.


‘Residents can take these interventions one step further by making conscious decisions to avoid food waste where possible in our own homes or community gatherings.  This can be done by, for example planning meals and only buying food quantities as needed, cooking only what is required and checking expiry dates before purchasing food. Avoiding food waste in the first place is the most effective way to reduce its climate change impact.


‘All stakeholders must play their own part in organic waste diversion, committing to targets to reduce their own organic waste wherever possible, and ensure it is used beneficially. This can only be achieved at grassroots level, with each stakeholder taking full responsibility.


‘The City is working intensively to create infrastructure and a legislative environment that will enable us to achieve our ambitious goals in this regard,’ said Mayoral Committee Member for Urban Waste Management, Alderman Grant Twigg.