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New policy on waste incineration and co-processing in South Africa

Photo: COWI
Encapsulation of hazardous waste in concrete silos. This procedure will be prohibited in future.
COWI helped to develop new policy on waste incineration and co-processing of waste as alternative fuels or raw materials (AFR) in cement production in South Africa.

Together with SINTEF (Norway) and Environmental Science Associate (South Africa) COWI assisted the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) in South Africa in developing a new high temperature policy on waste.

Increasing amounts of wastes
South Africa has an intensive, growing industrial and manufacturing economy resulting in increasing generation of general and hazardous wastes at an estimated rate of 2-3% annually. The disposal of general and hazardous waste at landfills is the primary option for waste management in the country.

Thermal waste treatment options provide limited opportunities for waste management. Only few commercial and site specific hazardous waste incinerators exist, and these are used for treatment of specific waste streams.

Similarly, the co-processing of waste as AFR in cement production is currently practiced on a limited scale.

Best environmental practice
The objective of the project was to establish a policy for environmentally sound management of general and hazardous waste in South Africa. This would be accomplished by integrating sufficient range of complementary waste management options in line with internationally accepted principles of best environmental practice.

The scope of the new policy was to deal with the incineration of waste in dedicated facilities, as well as the co-processing of selected wastes as alternative fuels and/or raw materials (AFR) in cement production. The policy does not cover health care risk waste, its management or the treatment thereof.

New national policy
As a result of this project a new national policy on thermal treatment of general and hazardous waste in South Africa was adopted on 24 July 2009.

COWI and the project team prepared the following technical reports that served as basis for the policy:

  • Literature Review of the Co-processing of Alternative Fuels and Raw Materials and Hazardous Wastes in Cement Kilns (SINTEF, DEAT, 06/09/2007)
  • Literature review on High Temperature Thermal treatment of Hazardous Waste (COWI, DEAT, 06/03/2008)
  • An Overview of Cement Production Technology in South Africa (SINTEF, DEAT, 02/10/2007)
  • Cement Production Technology in South Africa and an Evaluation of their Ability to Co-process AFRs and Treat Hazardous Waste (SINTEF, DEAT, 05/11/2007)
  • South African Waste Profile (COWI, DEAT, 06/03/2008)
  • Guidelines for Co-processing of Alternative Fuels and Raw Materials, and Treatment of Organic Hazardous Wastes in Cement Kilns (SINTEF, DEAT, 25/03/2008)
  • Guidelines for Hazardous Waste Incineration (COWI, DEAT, 06/03/2008)
  • Proposed Air Emission Standards for Treatment of Hazardous Waste and AFR Co-processing in Cement Kilns (ESA, DEAT, 18/06/2008)
  • Proposed Conditions of Authorisation for the Co-processing of Waste as AFR in Cement Production (ESA, DEAT, 22/09/2008)

LAST UPDATED: 02.02.2016