3.8 Storage, collection and transportation of waste

Part 5 of the Waste Act sets out provisions for the storage, collection and transportation of waste. The general requirements for the storage of waste are that any person who stores waste must at least take steps to ensure that the containers where waste is stored are intact and not corroded and are fit for the storage of waste. Adequate measures must be taken to prevent:

  • Accidental spillage or leaking.
  • Waste from blowing away.
  • Nuisances such as foul odour; visual impact and breeding of vectors.
  • The pollution of the environment and harm to health.

DEA will issue norms and standards further regulating the storage, collection and transportation of waste. Municipalities may also make by-laws to further regulate the storage of waste in municipal areas. Compliance with the general requirements for the storage of waste will be monitored by Environmental Management Inspectors at local and provincial level.

In terms of section 22 of the Waste Act, any person who generates waste that is collected by a municipality must place the waste in a container approved, designated or provided by the municipality for that purpose and in a location approved or authorized by the municipality.  Waste that is intended to be reduced, re-used, recycled or recovered in accordance with the Waste Act need not be placed in a container provided by the municipality. However the municipality must as far as reasonably possible provide containers or receptacles for the collection of recyclable waste that are accessible to the public.   

Communal collection points should be clearly demarcated areas with appropriate receptacles where household waste can be deposited for collection by the service provider. Community awareness programmes will be required to inform the community about collection points. The receptacles should be covered so as to prevent windblown litter and be user friendly to allow even children to safely deposit waste into the receptacles. The collection points must further be easily accessible for waste collection vehicles and encourage waste separation at source.  The municipality must ensure that communal collection points are kept tidy at all times.

The Waste Act obliges municipalities to provide equitable waste collection services to all households within the jurisdiction of the municipality, but it does allow municipalities to differentiate between categories of users and geographical areas in setting service standards and levels of service. The Waste Act obliges any persons utilizing the waste service to pay the applicable charges for that service. It is the right of a municipality to limit the provision of general waste collection services if there is a failure to comply with reasonable conditions set for the provision of the services. In instances where the municipality limits the provision of services, the limitation must not pose a risk to health and the environment.

The frequency of waste collection services is an important decision for the municipality. The frequency of the service should not encourage illegal dumping or cause a nuisance in terms of odours and volumes of waste being stored.

The collection and transportation of waste must take place in accordance with section 24 and 25 of the Waste Act. The Minister or MEC may require any private transporter of waste to register with the relevant WMO at national, provincial or local level.  A number of municipalities already require registration of transporters of waste, and government will harmonise this system on a country wide basis. Appropriate thresholds for registration of transporters of waste will be set, and DEA will prepare a draft regulation to be published for consultation purposes. The following thresholds are proposed as the basis for consultation on the regulations:

  • Transport of general waste below 30 tons per day: no registration required.
  • Transport of general waste above 30 tons per day: registration with municipal WMO in place of origin and place of destination.
  • Transport of hazardous waste below 3 tons per day: registration with municipal WMO in place of origin and place of destination.
  • Transport of hazardous waste above 3 tons per day: registration with provincial WMO in place of origin and place of destination.

The Transportation of Hazardous Waste is covered by several Acts, but the most important legislation is the National Road Traffic Act 93 of 1996 and the regulations therefore in terms of Chapter 8, which cover the transportation of dangerous goods, including hazardous waste.  It is the responsibility of the waste generator to ensure that the waste is packaged, transported, treated and disposed of in terms of the legal requirements and that there is an auditable record of the steps involved in storing, collecting and transporting the waste.

The National Road and Traffic Act incorporates a number of South African National Standards (SANS) Codes of practice into law, which are relevant to the transportation of hazardous waste. The regulations, administered by the Department of Transport, and the associated SANS Codes, set out the standards for the transport of hazardous waste including but not limited to: classifications; labelling; vehicle requirements and licensing; driver training; licensing and responsibilities; loading, route planning; operator agreements; emergency response; reporting of accidents and incidents and compatibility of load.