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Waste Information Centre
 Last Updated: 2012-08-23 09:48:03 
Approach to waste in South Africa

Waste management in South Africa is governed by the National Environmental Management: Waste Act, 2008 (Act No. 59 of 2008) which came into effect on 1 July 2009. Following the enactment of the Waste Act, the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs established the National Waste Management Strategy (NWMS) in terms of Section 6(1) for achieving the objects of the Act. The NWMS was approved for implementation by the Cabinet in November 2011. The Waste Act supports the waste hierarchy in its approach to waste management, by promoting cleaner production, waste minimisation, reuse, recycling and waste treatment with disposal seen as a last resort in the management of waste.


Introduction to Waste


Definition of Waste according to the National Envornmental Management: Waste Act, 2008 (Act No. 59 of 2008)


��waste�� means any substance, whether or not that substance can be reduced, re-used, recycled and recovered�

            (a) that is surplus, unwanted, rejected, discarded, abandoned or disposed of;

           (b) which the generator has no further use of for the purposes of production;

          (c) that must be treated or disposed of; or

          (d) that is identified as a waste by the Minister by notice in the Gazette, and includes waste generated by the mining, medical or other sector, but�

            (i) a by-product is not considered waste; and

           (ii) any portion of waste, once re-used, recycled and recovered, ceases to be waste


Waste Classifications as defined in the NEM: Waste Act, 2008


Waste is divided into two classes based on the risk it poses - general waste and hazardous waste.

  • "general waste" means waste that does not pose an immediate hazard or threat to

    health or to the environment, and includes�

    (a) domestic waste;

    (b) building and demolition waste;

    (c) business waste; and

    (d) inert waste;

  • "hazardous waste" means any waste that contains organic or inorganic elements or compounds that may, owing to the inherent physical, chemical or toxicological characteristics of that waste, have a detrimental impact on health and the environment.

Integrated Pollution and Waste Management for South Africa