Waste - General

Definition of Waste

The National Environmental Management: Waste Amendment Act (26 of 2014) defines waste as:

(a) any substance, material or object, that is unwanted, rejected, abandoned, discarded or disposed of, or that is intended or required to be discarded or disposed of, by the holder of that substance, material or object, whether or not such substance, material or object can be re-used, recycled or recovered and includes all wastes as defined in Schedule 3 to this Act; or

(b) any other substance, material or object that is not included in Schedule 3 that may be defined as a waste by the Minister by notice in the Gazette, but any waste or portion of waste, referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b), ceases to be a waste—

(i) once an application for its re-use, recycling or recovery has been approved or, after such approval, once it is, or has been re-used, recycled or recovered;

(ii) where approval is not required, once a waste is, or has been re-used, recycled or recovered;

(iii) where the Minister has, in terms of section 74, exempted any waste or a portion of waste generated by a particular process from the definition of waste; or (iv) where the Minister has, in the prescribed manner, excluded any waste stream or a portion of a waste stream from the definition of waste.

Classification of Waste

Different types of waste may be generated from a variety of sources such as: residential, industrial, commercial, institutional, construction and demolition, municipal services, process (manufacturing, etc.) and agricultural activities.

As defined in the National Environmental Management: Waste Amendment Act (26 of 2014) waste is divided into two classes based on the risk it poses - general waste and hazardous waste.

General waste is waste that does not pose an immediate hazard or threat to health or to the environment. (Refer to General Waste section)

Hazardous waste is any waste that contains organic or inorganic elements or compounds that may have a detrimental impact on health and the environment. (Refer to Hazardous Waste section)

For a detailed list of general and hazardous waste types and definitions

Levels of Responsibility

National government, through the Department of Environmental Affairs is responsible for the development of legislation, norms and standards and to promote and give effect to the right to an environment that is not harmful to health and well-being.

Refer to:

Provincial government is responsible for the implementation of the National Waste Management Strategy and national norms and standards, and may set additional complementary provincial norms and standards. (Refer to Provincial Departments Responsible for Environmental Affairs: contact details)

Waste management services are the constitutional responsibility of local government, who is required to provide sustainable delivery of services subject to national and provincial regulations and standards. (Refer to Waste Management Services – Municipal section)

Provincial Departments Responsible for Environmental Affairs: CONTACTS

ProvinceDepartmentTel.No.Postal/Website Address
Eastern CapeEconomic Development, Environmental Affairs & Tourism043 605 7000P/Bag X0054Bhisho 5605www.dedea.gov.za
Free StateEconomic, Small Business Development, Tourism & Environmental Affairs086 110 2185Private Bag x 20801Bloemfontein 9300www.edtea.fs.gov.za/ 
GautengAgriculture & Rural Development011 240 2500PO Box 8769Johannesburg 2000www.gdard.gpg.gov.za
KwaZulu-NatalAgriculture & Rural Development033 355 9100Private Bag X9059
Pietermaritzburg 3200www.kzndae.gov.za
MpumalangaEconomic Development & Tourism013 766 4004Private Bag X11215Mbombela 1200www.mpumalanga.gov.za/dedt
LimpopoEconomic Development, Environment & Tourism 015 293 8648Private Bag X9486Polokwane 0700www.ledet.gov.za/
North WestRural, Environment & Agricultural Development018 389 5146Private Bag X2039Mmabatho 2735 www.nwpg.gov.za/Agriculture/
Northern CapeEnvironment & Nature Conservation053 807 7430Private Bag X6102Kimberley 8301www.denc.ncpg.gov.za/
Western CapeEnvironmental Affairs & Development Planning 021 483 4091Private Bag X9086Cape Town, 8000eadp.westerncape.gov

National Pricing Strategy for Waste Management Charges: Draft

The National pricing strategy for waste management charges provides the basis and guiding methodology or methodologies for setting of waste management charges in South Africa.

Also refer to: Proposed National Pricing Strategy for waste management – a presentation at the 2015 Waste Management Summit.

National Waste Management Strategy

The aim of the National Waste Management Strategy (NWMS) is to achieve the objectives of the National Environmental Management: Waste Act 2008 (Act 59 of 2008) and provide a plan to address challenges associated with waste management in South Africa.

The NWMS has identified eight priority goals, accompanying objectives to achieve these goals and indicators to measure the achievements against targets, which are to be met within a five-year time-frame.

  • Goal 1: Promote waste minimisation, re-use, recycling and recovery of waste
  • Goal 2: Ensure the effective and efficient delivery of waste services.
  • Goal 3: Grow the contribution of the waste sector to the green economy.
  • Goal 4: Ensure that people are aware of the impact of waste on health, well-being and   environment.
  • Goal 5: Achieve integrated waste management planning.
  • Goal 6: Ensure sound budgeting and financial management for waste services
  • Goal 7: Provide measures to remediate contaminated land
  • Goal 8: Establish effective compliance with and enforcement of the Waste Act

To achieve these eight goals, the Waste Act provides a toolbox of waste management measures:

  • Waste Classification and Management System – methodology for the classification of waste and provides standards for the assessment and disposal of waste for landfill disposal.
  • Norms and standards - baseline regulatory standards for managing waste at each stage of the waste management hierarchy.
  • Licensing –activities that require licences (with conditions) and those that do not if undertaken according to conditions or guidelines.
  • Industry waste management plans – enables collective planning by industry to manage products once they become waste and to collectively set targets for waste reduction, recycling and re-use.
  • Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) – regulates that industry is responsible beyond point of sale for particular products that have toxic constituents or pose waste management challenges, particularly where voluntary waste measures have failed.
  • Priority wastes – categories of waste that, due their risks to human health and the environment, require special waste management measures, particularly where a solution requires the involvement of multiple role-players.
  • Economic instruments - encourages or discourages particular behaviour and augments other regulatory instruments.

Waste Management Officers

The National Environmental Management: Waste Act 2008 (Act 59 of 2008) provides for the designation of Waste Management Officers at national, provincial and local government levels to co-ordinate matters relating to waste management and act as a point of entry available to the public to address all waste management matters. The SALGA Guideline for the designation of Waste Management Officers provides guidance.

Contact us

Sanki Tshabangu: info@iwmsa.co.za
Nicolle de Bruyn: iwmsa@iwmsa.co.za
Ann Oosthuizen: ann@iwmsa.co.za

Tel: 011 675 3462

Postal Address: PO Box 31061 |Totiusdal | 0134