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Trash is treasure, Waste Summit told

Trash is treasure, Waste Summit told



17 May 2013

Waste has immense value and trash can be turned into treasure.

This was the common thread that ran through the two-day Waste Summit organised by the City of Johannesburg’s waste management company, Pikitup, and held at the Sandton Convention Centre earlier this week.

“(In) creating a liveable, sustainable world-class African city of the future we need to find better methods to deal with increased amounts of waste,” said Johannesburg City Manager Trevor Fowler.

“The City of Johannesburg is looking at various projects to develop solutions to address the challenges we face. There is a need for green or clean technology to ensure a solution as opposed to dealing with waste on our ever-burdened landfill sites. It is now crucial to focus on research and technology to tackle the issue.”

There are currently numerous waste to energy and alternative energy projects being run throughout the city in a bid to assess and gauge their effectiveness.

One such project is the mapping of landfill sites in proximity to hospitals.

Gauteng MEC for Infrastructure Development Qedani Mahlangu said a partnership with the private sector had resulted in securing funding for the sourcing of alternative fuel- landfill gas electricity generation, which will be used to ensure hospitals are energy- secure.

“Currently, we are utilising gas brought in from Mozambique to use in local hospitals. But there is a need for a cheaper alternative, hence the landfill site and hospital proximity mapping process currently under way.  It is critical we take cognisance of the fact that we no longer enjoy the luxury of looking for alternative fuel and energy sources, such alternatives have become a necessity,” said Mahlangu.City Power’s Paul Vermeulen said the way forward for the City in its search for cleaner and greener technology was through the use of photovoltaics, solar hearing and gas powered co-generation projects.

“City Power has also rolled out its low pressure solar heating campaign in a bid to push for lower electricity use.

“This campaign aims to fit 110 000 RDP houses with these solar geysers. Targeted at low-income and RDP houses, the campaign has already seen 24 000 low pressure solar systems installed. We have seen a definite reduction in electricity usage, especially during peak times since the launch of this campaign. Phase 2 will be rolled out shortly and will be aimed at middle to upper income areas on a ‘fee for service’ basis,” said Vermeulen.
Joburg Water’s Ronell Viljoen said the City’s water management company was also playing its part in finding alternative energy sources.

She said due to unavoidable spikes in running costs, Joburg Water was working towards generating its own energy from waste for usage at Waste Water Treatment (WWT) plants.

“We have two plants currently converting biogas into electricity, which has the potential running cost and generation saving of up to 55%. By sourcing electricity from waste water, Joburg Water is taking a step closer to making inroads into satisfying several objectives that will benefit both the environment and the consumer,” Viljoen said.

During the two-day summit, delegates listened to and took part in several talks and debates on numerous issues such as waste minimisation and recycling, which includes the separation of recyclable waste at source and alternative waste treatment technologies including waste-to-energy, composting, incineration, anaerobic digestion, gasification, mechanical biological treatment, plasma arc waste disposal, pyrolysis, UASB (applied to solid waste) and waste autoclave.

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