Opportunity: Hazardous Waste Facility in East London

20 April 2018

It has been identified that there is a lack of hazardous waste treatment and disposal facilities in the eastern region of the Eastern Cape. At present hazardous waste is either transported to Port Elizabeth or removed outside the province for treatment or disposal. GIBB, a consulting engineering firm was commissioned by the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) to undertake a hazardous waste survey of the eastern region of the Eastern Cape to determine the types and quantity of hazardous waste being generated in the area, and to consider the viability of developing a hazardous waste facility in the eastern region.

GIBB undertook an online survey, face-to-face surveys and telephonic interviews with a total of 53 companies in the eastern region to determine their waste stream as well as current waste management practices. The data received from these surveys was used to develop a waste stream profile per industry. This was then applied to unsurveyed companies to determine a hypothetical waste stream for the study area. The hazardous waste survey estimated that 4,448 tonnes of hazardous waste are generated in the study area per annum.

During the hazardous waste survey GIBB engaged with various private waste management companies and undertook a review of data available on the South Africa Waste Information System. Approximately 7,944 tonnes of hazardous waste originating from the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality (BCMM) is disposed of or treated in Port Elizabeth, this waste is disposed of at private facilities. The difference between the surveyed figure (4,448 tonnes) and the figure reported by waste management companies (7,944 tonnes) may be explained by the limitations listed above.

Business Opportunities
Various business opportunities were considered in this report. These include:
• Gate fees for incineration of hazardous waste. The average gate fee per tonne would be between the breakeven cost (R 4,935/ tonne) and the average current transport and disposal fee to Port Elizabeth (R8,300/ tonne). A full cost accounting exercise would be required to determine the most appropriate exact gate fees and would be dependent on the type of hazardous waste and the required profit margin.
• Sale of bottom ash as a construction material. In Europe between 20 – 98% of ash from municipal waste incinerators is re-used as a construction material. If the composition of ash is suitable for re-use as a construction material it could be sold to the construction industry. Sale of ash would have an added benefit in that the ash would not need to transported to landfill site for disposal and landfill site gate fees would be avoided. The ash from a hazardous waste incinerator would however need to be classified to determine if it is suitable for such use.
• Sale of heat and electricity. A waste incinerator creates heat, which can be used to heat water or to produce electricity. Hot water can be piped directly to industry, which requires hot water for production processes. Electricity can be sold to surrounding industry.

Based on the estimated waste stream of the study area and the costs to capital and operational costs of incinerators it appears that it would be commercially viable to investigate the option of installing hazardous waste incinerators in East London. The lifespan of incinerators is 20 years and so the capital costs of the incinerators would be paid off over this period.

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