PROPOSED RECYCLING MODEL
6. 1 Introduction
Solid waste management is one of the several challenges facing most developing countries worldwide. Namibia is not an exception to this as revealed through studies like Croset (2014); Schioldborg (2014); Lindell (2012).Studies carried out in different parts of the developing world point at recycling as an option to assist with the challenges of waste management. Such revelations were partially revealed in previous studies conducted in Namibia by Hasheela (2009); Jacobsen (2014) and Lindell (2012).
Solid waste management practices in Namibia vary from town to town. Waste management practices such as collection and disposal were reported to be carried out by both public and private companies. The private sector responsible for collecting and disposing waste generated by private entities. However, the responsibility for waste management in both urban, public or rural areas lies with the Local Authorities. Most local authorities in smaller towns and settlements are experienced challenges related to the provision of waste services (Auditor General’s Report (2012/2013). Among the challenges were improper waste collection and removal due to a lack of sufficient and appropriate waste equipment and vehicles,frequent breakdowns of the waste removal vehicles, lack of waste management rules and regulations. Consequently, environmental pollution in such places is common posing hazard to people and animals. Against this background, it is the intention of this study to propose a recommendation on how waste management problems being faced in Namibia can be reduced beginning with addressing the the recycling initiative itself.
It is important to recap on recycling activities in Namibia. A variety of materials were being recovered and recycled such as plastic, paper, glass, aluminum, scrap metals(ferrous and nonferrous) and e-waste. These materials were sourced from domestic, commercial, industries, mines, fishing industries, ship wreckages, farms, dumpsites and even in open spaces. However, large volumes of recovered and recycled materials were exported to South Africa, the main trading partner of the country.
The Government of Namibia is not silent on issues of waste management. Principle (I) Part II Section 3 of the country’ s EMA 2007 calls for the reduction, reusing and recycling of waste. The country did not have a comprehensive waste recycling policy document or waste recycling legislation, a situation which was found threatening the success of the recycling industry as no one could be penalized for not recycling.
A model on how recycling can assist the solid waste management Namibia is presented focusing on the research objective: To come up with a model, applicable to both rural and urban areas, on how the industry could guide waste management and recycling in Namibia. To answer this intent, the study recommends integrating solid waste recycling and other waste management options such as avoidance, reduce, reuse or disposal, with recycling as the main strategy. Emphasis being on recycling, the researcher developed aspects of the model adopting the recycling chain depicted in the IFC Model for Global Development of Recycling Linkages as well as the Taiwan 4-in-1 Recycling Program. Recycling Linkages put emphasis on all components as well as participants in the recycling supply chain i.e. government, private sector, manufacturers, residents etc.
Studies report high recycling rates in Europe and Asian countries. In Taiwan, before the national recycling program was introduced, collection rate of recyclables was low. The Waste Disposal Act required manufacturers and importers to recycle RRW (Regulated Recyclable Waste) but the collection channels were not coordinated. This resulted in low collection rate. Furthermore, manufacturers and importers did not invest in recycling facilities installation due to underdeveloped regulations and incentives. In 1997, EPAT (Environmental Protection Administration Taiwan) created the 4-in-1 Recycling Program to better connect all parties involved in RRW collection channels, including community residents, recyclers and collectors, local governments, and the newly established Recycling Fund. Through the incentives associated with the Fund, the 4-in-1 Recycling Program increased recycling rates and reduced the amount of solid waste sent for disposal.
The success of the proposed model could be achieved with some of the issues addressed in this initiative being implemented as a complete chain. The proposed model is explained in detail in section 6.2 below.
6.2 Integrated Recycling Model for Namibia
The model identifies three key stakeholders, which are Waste Management and Recycling Companies, Government Institutions that include Ministries and Local Authorities and waste generators which include households, businesses, industries and mines. The roles of the stakeholders have to be clearly defined.
The model is aimed at restructuring the existing system, which is plagued by as mentioned earlier on e.g. a lack of awareness for the importance of recycling; financial constraints, weak legal and regulatory framework, transport and logistics, high transport costs and poor public participation and cooperation.
Figure 6.1: Integrated recycling model key stakeholders
The distances involved to transport recyclables make it difficult for all materials to reach Windhoek. Materials such as scrap metals are too heavy to load and off-load, thus cannot be transported from parts of the country leaving a lot of recyclables left lying all over the country and eventually destroyed. The idea of buy-back centers in most parts of the country may assist with the collection of recyclables from the consumer.
6.2.1 Strengthening legal and regulatory framework
The study established that the legal and regulatory framework for managing recycling is weak. During the study, it came out that there is need in Namibia to update legislation concerning waste recycling and waste management at large. The lack of national policy and legislation for recycling prevents local authorities to face key challenges in waste management and recycling enforcement. No one can take me to court for not recycling because the legislation is not there in Namibia, these sentiments echoed by company A official underline the fundamental reason why recycling is not taking center stage. In order to address this issue a lot needs to be done on the legal front to facilitate recycling.
Figure 6.2: Proposed Integrated Recycling Model for Namibia
The country can benefit by borrowing from EU countries like Germany and Sweden and Asian countries like Taiwan and Japan with well defined policies and legislation for promoting recycling e.g. the EPR policies is in practice in most of these countries. Extended producer responsibility is meant to impose accountability over the entire life cycle of products after their useful life on the manufacturer of the product (Mando, 2014).
Ministries of Industry, Environment and Tourism and MLGRUD should play an active role during drafting of the legislation in order to ensure more relevant issues are addressed.
220.127.116.11 Recycling Legislation
The recommendation is that Government introduces legislation compelling manufacturers, business and houses to ensure that their products do not at any stage of their life time become waste. A circular economy may be promoted.
18.104.22.168 Recycling Policies
The study observed an absence of specific recycling policies such as the EPR policy in practice in other countries. Roles of stakeholders manufacturers, importers, brand agents, distributors, retailers and consumers, can be clearly defined in the management of end-of-life products, with a view to avoiding and reducing the environmental impact caused by waste.
6.2.2 Promote culture of Recycling
Recycling loop begins with virgin material product discard by the initial owner because it is no longer desired. Efficient and effective recycling supply chains are facilitated where secondary materials are separated by the generator from wastes. Design and implementation of source separation must be sensitive to local cultural and socio-economic circumstances (Hickman, 2009). This is not the case in Namibia among some people due to reluctance, lack of facilities and lack of awareness about the importance of recycling. There is need, to promote a culture of source separation to facilitate effective recycling as some materials are made useless due to non-source separation resulting in material contamination especially at household level as established. Organic and in organic materials are all placed in one receptacle making it difficult to recycle recyclables. Local Government has a key role to play through the provision of separation bins, which can be placed by the roadside, in parks ,leisure and cultural facilities, government buildings, hospitals, clinics, public and private housing estates, schools and refuse collection points.
Some companies and CoW bemoaned a lack of recycling culture among some businesses. Not all businesses considered recycling. More awareness was required and CoW and some companies like A and M were doing so but with very little progress. Education should not be a one day’s activity but an on-going process. It should also take different forms such as talks to residents during meetings, church gatherings and school assemblies. Drama or sketch performances can, as well, be organized, specifically carrying messages about solid waste recycling and waste management at large. The council can equally use posters to educate residents about waste management. The posters could be printed in all Namibian languages.
There is need for participation in recycling in the country. Level of participation in recycling activities varied in Windhoek with high income suburbs involved more than in low income despite efforts to promote recycling culture. The reasons behind this need research further. In Walvis Bay official of company A highlighted that the youthful age is embracing more the culture of recycling as opposed to the older generation in the high density areas whose attitude is still rooted in the belief that it is the duty of local authorities to do so as they are paying rates. Promotion and awareness campaigns are taking place especially among school children so that they grow with it. However, much more needs effort was needed as noted by the companies A and O who highlighted that a lot of recyclables are still finding their way to dumpsites. The situation is made worse as recyclables are mixed with organic waste making them unsuitable for recycling
6.2.3 Resource requirements
The success of any recycling programmed is partly a result of enough resources e.g. labour, land, infrastructure and transport.
Labour is an issue of concern within the industry. Four companies complained about lack of commitment by workers and high turnover of skilled staff despite training given. Without skilled and experienced personnel these companies were found struggling to have all the activities adequately executed especially those in the manufacturing sector. A lot of resources are put in training the local workforce but lack of commitment among the workforce affected these companies.
22.214.171.124 Land Availability
Allocating suitable land solely for recycling purpose at affordable rent is a major measure for supporting the waste recycling industry. As the profit of waste recovery and recycling is often marginal, giving land to waste recyclers could lower their operation costs and help to promote the local recycling activities in Namibia. For example, in 2010 company O allocated land to company A in Windhoek for the establishment of a MRF for processing a wide range of waste materials. In 2014 the Swakopmund municipality donated land to company A for its operations. Plans were afoot for the Walvis Bay municipality to donate land to company A the following year and subsequently in towns like Oshakati in the northern districts of the country. These sites are located in different parts of Namibia and are being used for recycling and processing a wide range of waste.
Collation of materials into larger quantities is necessary to accumulate sufficient quantities to enable sale to end-users, an activity that also allows for Intermediate Processing to prepare secondary materials in order to minimize transport costs and which meets the delivery requirements of the end-user. Collation of materials into larger quantities may involve dealer networks. In Namibia, Government together with the private sector may assist through the establishment of buy-back centers and other infrastructure around the country to facilitate public participation in waste separation and recovery. Absence of these in some places contributes to a lot of materials lying uncollected or simply dumped ending up a hazard to the environment and humans.
The distances involved to transport recyclables make it difficult for all materials to reach Windhoek. Materials such as scrap metals and bottles are too heavy to load and off load, thus cannot be transported from other parts of the country leaving this in the hands of few companies like company E who have the machinery and equipment for heavy workloads.
The study’s findings established that the industry was affected by shortage of transport which led to a lot of recyclables left lying all over the country and eventually destroyed. Export of products suffered due to transport problems one of the contributory factors to the collapse of some small to medium enterprises. Government could subsidize this through the establishment of a recycling fund.
6.2.4 Promote Program of Action
Public Private Sector Partnership should be strengthened. Recycling could be strengthened if all private companies are involved in every aspect of waste management depending on their capabilities. Recycling on its own is not viable as established.
6.2.5 Recycling Fund
In Taiwan recycling industry is supported through the Recycling Fund (Hand out 1: Workshop, 2012). The Recycling Fund is raised through payments done by manufacturers and importers of products. Under the 4-in-1 Recycling Program, manufacturers and importers of new RRW products, including electrical and electronic equipment, are required to pay fees to EPAT depending on the quantity of items they put on the market.
Recycling industry is a capital intensive industry. Recycling companies in Namibia were struggling due to inadequate financial resources and in some cases some SMES willing to join the industry failed to continue due to financial constraints.The study however established potential Investment Resources through interviews and secondary sources (Murghal, 2014) that were available in the country that could contribute to the development of recycling industry together with the establishment of a Recycling Fund.Some companies were not aware of these potential funding programmes listed below.
• Environmental Investment Fund Namibia
• Development Bank of Namibia
• Partnership for Local Democracy Development and Social Innovation
• GIZ (Deutsche GesellschaftfürInternationaleZusammenarbeit)
• Köningstein Capital
• Safland Property Group Namibia
Despite knowledge about their existence, some officials e.g. company N raised concerns that it was not very easy to get financial assistance from some of these sources. Suggestions were given that if government could make it easier for entrepreneurs in the industry to get assistance with less hussles.
6.2.6 Records Management
Currently Namibia does not have national statistics or centralized data on recycling, and the information that is available is very limited and fragmented. The study recommends a Recycling Agency of Namibia to capture and monitor recycling data Records for recycling activities were not available from most companies. It was difficult to establish what was going on in the industry. The country could benefit more if records could be made available at national level through the development and maintenance of national centers for monitoring and evaluation of recycling statistics i.e. waste generated, recovered materials, processed waste. Ministry of Industry and Commerce, MET and MLGURD could be responsible for this. Ministry of Environment and Tourism could be responsible for this in collaboration with Local Authorities and companies involve in recycling.
The proposed model takes into consideration the existing operational difficulties of solid waste recycling in Namibia. The recycling sector consists of economic activities like waste collection, waste trade and reprocessing and recycling of some of the materials in different forms. At the same time, recycling is considered as a waste management strategy among other options such as avoidance, reduction, reusing and finally disposal as depicted by in the WMH. For sustainability in waste management recycling cannot be separated from these other waste management options. Thus most developing countries are also trying to move towards this new approach in line with the principles of the Integrated Waste Management Hierarchy and in Namibia during the time of study Windhoek was already moving towards the approach upon the realization that end- of – pipe approach would not be sustainable in the long run. This followed its introduction of the SWMP in 2009.With this background, the proposed Integrated Solid Waste Management Programmed by the study was found relevant as a solution to assist with waste management in Namibia particularly in smaller urban centers with recycling receiving more attention as the strategy that could assist a lot of local authorities.