Implementing the waste management hierarchy and achieving the objects of the Waste Act will require coordinated action by many players, including households, businesses, community organisations, NGOs, parastatals and the three spheres of government. This means that a consultative and partnership based approach is essential for realising the NWMS; government action alone cannot be effective. Therefore, government is committed to following a co-regulatory and consensual approach that brings different actors on board and allows scope for local initiative and creativity.

As a first step, the various waste management measures that the Act envisages will be designed and implemented in a consultative manner. This includes monitoring the effectiveness and impact of the measures after implementation. The Act14 requires public consultation when developing each waste management measure, including national and provincial norms and standards, integrated waste management plans, industry waste management plans under certain circumstances, and declaration of priority wastes.

Implementing the waste management hierarchy requires a shift in consciousness, attitudes and behaviour for businesses, organisations and households. It also requires a country wide infrastructure to enable re-use and recycling. Partnerships around effective waste management must have concrete expression in local collaboration around initiatives to improve waste management. Municipalities and local stakeholders must play an active role in establishing such partnerships and participatory community projects. The role of education, advocacy and awareness is the subject of Goal 4, where the role of partnerships will be discussed in greater detail.

Industry, organisations and households have a critically important role to play in managing their own waste streams. In several examples of successful self-regulation, businesses have come together to manage a similar waste stream because managing waste collectively is more efficient than managing it individually. The greater the extent of responsible selfregulation, the less government needs to intervene and regulate. This frees up scarce government resources for more constructive initiatives. Furthermore, well organised industries can better identify the form of regulatory support they require from government. This approach is embodied in the notion of co-regulation, where mutually defined regulatory support enhances industry's ability to manage a waste stream.

Even in the traditional government area of regulatory compliance, partnerships are needed for compliance monitoring. Both business and civil society play a crucial role in identifying areas of risk and alerting government to the need for enforcement or legal action. This will be the subject of Goal 8, which addresses the role of compliance monitoring and enforcement.


  1. Section 73