Plan to create ’circular waste economy’ in Constantia valley

From kitchen waste and organic matter from supermarkets and restaurants to compost that goes back into Constantia’s soil.

A group of local residents and a civic organisation are trying to get a green waste and composting ecosystem project off the ground in Constantia.

They believe that kitchen waste and organic matter from supermarkets and restaurants should stay in the valley, be made into compost, then go back into the soil. They have the dream, have done the research and have found an end user willing to take this organic waste and turn it into compost. The gap in the circular waste project is finding a way to store it before delivery to the compost maker.

Claire-Ann Lester of the Constantia Heritage and Education Project said the idea was based on research she submitted to the City’s Southern District Spatial Development Framework on behalf of themselves and the Constantia Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association (CRRA).

“We want to establish massive behavioural change in Constantia. For people to collect their bio-waste at home and to drop it off at a public space, such as Constantia Village.

“The idea is that this valuable bio-waste is processed here instead of being removed from the valley. Compost is extremely valuable for sustainable farming and we think we could create programmes for homeless people, or supply community farms on the Cape Flats to help food security and sovereignty,” said Ms Lester.

Constantia businessman, Andrew Pollock said he recently attended a presentation in Philippi hosted by Saliem Haider from Green Cape on regenerating agricultural soils. “The host farmer made an impassioned plea for compost,” said Mr Pollock.

Andrew Ardington, founder of the Regenerative Agriculture Association of South Africa, who also gave a presentation at the event, said the Philippi area was returning to sand and organic matter is desperately needed to prevent this.

Mr Pollock and Kayleigh Sole of the Constantia Spar family conducted a survey among the tenants at Constantia Village who generate compostable waste, asking if they would separate their organic waste from their general and recycled waste.

“The idea was to approach GrowthPoint management to let them know that tenants were keen to separate waste and do their bit of helping to reduce waste to landfill,” said Ms Sole.

She added that while GrowthPoint had approved an eco waste disposal method, such as the Biobin, but there was no funding for it.

Biobin director Brian Kusel said depending on the amount of organic waste generated and the location, a 2m³ Biobin could be rented for R8 950 a month and a 6.5 m³ Biobin for about R12 950, excluding VAT.

Constantia Village spokesperson Deidre Paul-Diemont said the management of the waste generated at the Constantia Village was outsourced to Wasteplan.

“Our mandate to stores is that the waste is sorted into organic and non-organic waste. As part of the existing waste contract the organic waste is diverted to a composting plant in Philippi.

“The proposal from the residents to install a Biobin at The Constantia Village was approved at no cost to the centre. It was, however, later revealed that there would be an additional cost to The Constantia Village, which was not viable since a contract was already in place for the management of the waste,” said Ms Paul-Diemont.

The proceeds of bottle and paper recycling are paid directly to the Friends of Constantia Valley Greenbelts in support of the work that they do to maintain the greenbelts, she added.

Manager of Spirit Cafe at Constantia Village, Neo Simons said their organic waste was collected free by Soil For Life who say they use it for worm farming.

Richard Flandorp said his family have been producing flowers and compost on land in Orpen Road for 28 years. He is keen to add organic waste to the compost already being produced from horse manure. “Adding organic waste would make this high quality compost even a higher quality, and at no extra cost,” he said.

Flandorp family members, Elaine, Richard and Alistair have been producing garden supplies from land in Orpen Road for 28 years.

Co-owner of Ferndale Nurseries, Paul Gordon, said the idea of processing the valley’s green waste within the valley and reducing the carbon footprint caused through transport reduction was a wonderful initiative.

“Currently we purchase compost from Kraaifontein and Ottery and receive three deliveries a week,” he said.

CRRA chairperson Sheila Camerer said they supported the effort. “We believe the project has got very exciting potential. Our eventual desired output would be to finally have a garden waste drop-off site in Constantia again,” she said.

CRRA manager, John Hesom, said when the Ladies Mile waste transfer/recycling depot was closed in 2015, the CRRA had made a concerted effort to try and find an alternative site in the Constantia Valley but their suggestions had been “shot down” by City officials. “This is an innovative ‘circular waste economy’ opportunity involving composting, recycling and job creating,” said Mr Hesom.

Ward 62 councillor Liz Brunette agreed that the organic composting project was a good idea and that the community should help lobby for it as they would benefit from it.

Xanthea Limberg, mayco member for waste and water said more than 22 000 free compost bins had been distributed to residents, resulting in about 16.79kg household organic waste being diverted from landfills every month.

“Composting dramatically reduces the climate change (greenhouse gas emissions) impact of organic waste, when compared to landfilling and the City encourages any efforts to minimise the volume of organic waste going to landfill,” she said.