The viability of establishing solid waste buy-back centres
Mogotsi, Malcolm Lebogang
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The City of Johannesburg is facing the simultaneous challenges of an increased generation of solid waste in the City, unemployment and the running out of land to dispose the waste. Of the solid waste that is generated, 50% is recyclable while only 10% is recycled (SOER, 2003: 69). Solid waste recycling is mainly performed through private sector initiatives in the City of Johannesburg. Consequently, there is no proper coordination with government initiatives. In order for South Africa to increase and sustain economic growth that would decrease unemployment, there should be a culture of entrepreneurship (Mass, G & Herrington M, 2006:7). Solid waste buy-back centres assist in addressing the challenges of dealing with the increased generation of solid waste and the scarcity of land for disposal. These centres also reduce the challenges of unemployment through promoting entrepreneurs to operate solid waste recycling businesses. Developed economies have managed to increase the rate of solid waste recycling to 60%. The problems associated with solid waste have been reduced by promoting recycling through a combination of legislation and setting-up of agencies to deal with solid waste recycling. South Africa has legislation and stated programmes to deal with solid waste recycling. Nevertheless, there has been complexity with implementing recycling. This is the result of a lack of co-ordination between the role-players involved in the value chain of solid waste recycling. In order for the City of Johannesburg to increase the recycling of solid waste from 10% to optimal rates of between 50% and 60%, there should be co-ordination of programmes amongst all the role players. In addition, there should also be skills provision to existing and potential entrepreneurs operating the solid waste buy-back centres. All spheres of government should promote solid waste recycling business to potential entrepreneurs and the public in order to recycle 40% of the recyclable solid waste that is not being recycled. The establishment of a solid waste buy-back centre in the City of Johannesburg is economically viable with some buy-back centre realising a net-profit of least R5 000 and some more than R30 000 per month. In order for the solid waste buy-back centre to realise a net-profit of more than R30 000 per month, there must be more than 40 tons of recyclable solid waste received by the buy-back centre per month. This study has indicated that solid waste buy-back centres rely on the economies of scale. This means that the more recyclable solid waste is received and sold by the solid waste buy-back centres, the more profitable it becomes.