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National Waste Management Strategy Under the Spotlight

September 21, 2020

Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries

The National Waste Management Strategy (NWMS) 2020 is aimed at promoting the waste hierarchy and circular economy principles.

The environment, forestry and fisheries minister, Barbara Creecy, highlighted this during a speech at the 2020 Waste Management Officer’s Khoro in Pretoria.

The minister added that the NWMS also seeks to achieve socio-economic benefits and the reduction of negative environmental impacts.

Cabinet approved the NWMS last week.

Cabinet described the NWMS as driving a “sustainable and an environmentally friendly, inclusive economic growth, with three focus pillars – waste minimisation, effective and sustainable services, and waste awareness and compliance”.

The minister pointed out that the three pillars of the NWMS are promoting waste minimization; efficient and effective waste services and awareness raising, compliance monitoring and enforcement.

The NWMS is aligned and responsive to the Sustainable Development Goals of Agenda 2030 adopted by all United Nations Member States and South Africa’s National Development Plan: Vision 2030.

Significant strategic shifts from the 2011 Strategy made in the NWMS 2020 include:

• Addressing the role waste pickers and the informal sector play in the circular economy;
• Promoting approaches to the design of products and packaging that reduce waste or encourage reuse, repair and preparation for recycling, support markets for source separated recyclables;
• Investigating potential regulatory or economic interventions to increase participation rates in residential separation at source programmes;
• Investing in the transporting of recyclables to waste processing facilities;
• Addressing the skills gap within the sector; and
• Engagement with national treasury regarding the operational expenditures for municipalities associated with implementing the NWMS and Waste Act.

The minister also confirmed that extensive comments on the draft amendments to the plastic carrier bags regulations have been received.