Historically, waste management in South Africa mainly focused on end of pipe technologies such as landfilling and incineration.

With the promulgation of the National Environmental Management Act (No. 107 of 1998) (NEMA) and the National Environment: Waste Act (No. 59 of 2008) (NEM:WA) that ultimately aims to give effect to Section 24 of the Constitution, “to secure an environment that is not harmful to health and well-being of the people of South Africa”, waste management in South Africa has evolved to include additional requirements, such as waste minimisation and recycling.

As a result of these additional legislated requirements, new markets/businesses have formed.

The Recycling Market that includes Material Recovery Facilities (MRF) and e-waste dismantling/recovery facilities has become a growing business in South Africa.

Entrepreneurs realise that additional waste management services are required (that municipalities are not mandated to provide) and establish
businesses to address these needs.

Many of these waste management businesses start off small, below the NEM:WA thresholds that would require a Waste Management Licence to operate.

However, these businesses soon grow and begin to manage a larger volume of waste. The increase in the volume of waste received at these facilities ultimately results in exceeding the NEM:WA thresholds.

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