Waste Classification

The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) has developed and piloted a national system for the collection of data on waste generation and management in the country, which will be gazetted by early 2012. Raj Lochan explains the implications and requirements for local businesses.

The South African Waste Information System (SAWIS) is currently being refined through the DEA’s development of a revised waste classification and management system that will be formalised through the National Waste Information Regulations. The main objective of waste data collection is to allow for adequate waste management planning and prioritisation by the DEA, and to enable the department to report on the success of national waste policy and waste management initiatives aimed at moving waste up the hierarchy from land filling to re-use, recycling, recovery or treatment.

SAWIS comprises a central registry and a data capture facility. All waste management facilities as well as hazardous waste generators (generating more than 20 kg/day) are required to register on the system. Reporting to the system would, however, be required from waste management facilities only, i.e. reporting from the point of final management where waste is re-used, recycled, recovered, treated or disposed, which could be the generator in the case of on-site waste management activity. Waste generators’ and transporters’ responsibility in terms of reporting would be to ensure the flow of information to the waste manager through a hazardous waste manifest system, which would be formalised through National Waste Classification and Management Regulations that was gazetted at the end of 2011. The validity of waste data on types of hazardous waste in the manifest will be the responsibility of the waste generator.

Hazardous waste generators that generate more than 20 kg/day will be required to register on the SAWIS. The generators’ specific Standard Industry Code (SIC) would be captured upon registration. Categorising waste generators in terms of the SIC would enable DEA to efficiently report to national statistics (StatsSA), and is in line with industry sustainability reporting parameters.

Part four of the categorisation system will indicate what the final fate of the waste is, i.e. which management option or technique was implemented to deal with the specific waste stream. Three different types of codes have been developed to reflect broad categories of management options for both general and hazardous waste as follows:

R-code: Waste re-use, recycling and recovery options
ê T-code: Waste treatment technologies
ê D-code: Waste disposal techniques.

Implementation, reporting

The categorisation system will be enforced through the National Waste Information Regulations, and the categories (parts one to five) would be included as an annex to the regulations. It will be mandatory for waste managers (disposal, treatment and recycling facilities) to report on these categories to the system. Diversion of waste from landfill will be tracked by calculating recycling and treatment rates, and information will be gathered of the types of waste generated and treated per industry sector.
Currently, reporting to the SAWIS is required only up to level two for waste types (i.e. major waste types) and quantities generated are aggregated per municipal regions. However, once the waste information regulations have been gazetted, reporting will be required to include level three wastes (specific waste types), as well as the quantities from the specific generators of the waste (who would only be required to register on the SAWIS, not report). Waste managers will be required to report to the SAWIS, and will identify which management option/s are implemented at their facilities, i.e. a waste management facility would register individual plants (e.g. landfill and/or treatment plant
and/or incinerator etc.) that are operating at the same site.

Provincial waste information systems would feed data into the national SAWIS. Where provincial systems exist, the generator would only register with the province, and waste managers would report to the province only, i.e. one point of registration and reporting. The province would be responsible for relaying information to the national system.

Get ready for the Waste Act

The Waste Act places certain responsibilities and requirements on generators, transporters (collectors) and processors (recyclers) of hazardous waste.
ê Every holder of a waste that has been classified as hazardous must be in possession of a waste manifest document containing the relevant information specified in the regulations for the waste
ê All generators of waste classified as hazardous must complete a waste manifest document containing information for each consignment of waste transported to a waste manager
ê Waste transporters may not accept waste classified as hazardous for transport unless the waste manifest document accompanies the waste.

The Waste Manifest System

Information to be supplied by the waste generator:

• Unique consignment identification number (bar code)
• SAWIS Registration number in terms of the National Waste Information Regulations, 2010 (if applicable)
• Generator’s contact details (contact person, physical and postal address, phone, fax, email)
• Physical address of the site where the waste was generated (if different);
• Emergency contact number
• Origin/source of the waste
(process/activity)
• Classification of the waste
• Physical characteristic / consistency of the waste (liquid, solid, sludge)
• Quantity of waste in tons
• Packaging (bulk, small containers, tank)
• Transport type (tanker, truck, container)
• Special handling instructions
• Date of collection / dispatch
• Intended receiver (waste manager)
• Declaration (content of the consignment is fully and accurately described, classified, packed, marked and labelled, and in all respects in proper condition for transportation in accordance with the applicable laws and regulations).

Information to be supplied by the waste transporter:

• Name of transporter
• Address of transporter
• Vehicle registration number
• Transport permit number
• Declaration acknowledging receipt of the waste.

Information to be supplied by the waste manager:

• Name, address and contact details
• Receiving waste management facility name, address and contact details (where different)
• Waste management facility licence number
• Date of receipt
• Quantity of waste
• Type of waste management applied (re-use, recycling, recovery, treatment, disposal)
• Any discrepancies in information between the different holders of the waste (related to waste quantity, type, classification, physical and chemical properties)
• Waste management reporting description and code in terms of the National Waste Information Regulations 2010
• Details on any waste diverted to another waste management facility and details of the facility
• Certification and declaration of receipt and final management of the waste.

The penalties of non-compliance

Strict penalties are to be put in place for anyone who fails to comply with the provisions of the regulations. These include either imprisonment (not exceeding 15 years) or an appropriate fine, or possibly even both.

“The Rose Foundation and NORA-SA will be conducting extensive training for all our members and collectors to educate them on the hazardous waste manifest and the waste classification system so that they are all fully up to speed with what is required,” explains Rose Foundation CEO Raj Lochan
“We are working closely with government to ensure that the used oil industry stakeholders remain compliant at all stages.”

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