This report, commissioned by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) in collaboration with the Africa Circular Economy Network (ACEN), delves into South Africa’s circular economy (CE) landscape. It lays the foundation for an upcoming business mission scheduled for October 2023, with a keen focus on key CE sectors: sustainable landfill management, biomass, biogas, construction and demolition, plastic, paper, and wastewater. The CE model represents a shift from the linear ‘take-make-dispose’ economic paradigm to one centred on sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling materials and products.
South Africa grapples with pressing waste management challenges, notably with approximately 90% of its 107 million tonnes of general waste ending up in landfills or stockpiles. The landfill space crunch is exacerbated by limited source separation (S@S) and circular economy initiatives. Government policies, such as the National Waste Management Strategy (NWMS) 2020, aim to divert recyclables from landfills. Despite these policies, recycling rates remain relatively low, especially in rural provinces.
Embracing the circular economy dovetails with the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Goals 12 and 13) and holds the potential to unlock economic value, stimulate wealth creation, and foster job opportunities in both South Africa and the Netherlands. This report offers a unique insight into CE opportunities specific to South Africa, encompassing solid waste, biomass residue, plastics, water, and building and construction waste. Its primary objective is to steer RVO’s matchmaking endeavours for the impending mission and long-term collaborative initiatives, underscoring the need for sustainable waste management and resource utilisation.
Read the report over here