WasteCon 2018: Looking for long term waste management solutions | Infrastructure news

After the hype surrounding #plasticfreejuly the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa is asking the question: How do we take our waste conscious attitude further in a truly sustainable way?

Leon Grobbelaar, President of the IWMSA says we should ultimately be aiming for zero waste ending up at a landfill. “The #plasticfree challenge really should continue throughout the year,” he notes.

In October the IWMSA host their biennial flagship conference WasteCon2018, gathering key players involved in waste management from municipalities and government, the private sector, academics, engineers and waste pickers; all looking for ways to best tackle the waste management problem we collectively face. WasteCon2018 will take place from 15 to 19 October 2018 at Emperor’s Palace in Johannesburg.

Implementing the Waste Hierarchy

“This year the theme is: Implementing the Waste Hierarchy which involves waste avoidance and reduction, re-using items, recycling, recovery as well as treatment and disposal of waste,” explains Grobbelaar.

“We are thrilled to have Ad Lansink from the Netherlands speaking at WasteCon. He is the original founder of the term ‘waste hierarchy’ and was recently named the winner of the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) Publication Award for his book Challenging Changes, Connecting Waste Hierarchy and Circular Economy.”

In his keynote address Lansink will speak about the Ladder of Lansink waste hierarchy which he created and a roadmap to a circular economy.

Namibia’s first Refuse Derived Fuel

A pioneer of zero waste to landfill, Gys Louw will speak at WasteCon2018. The CEO of Namibian recycler and waste management company, Rent-A-Drum, manages an impressive multi-reuse-facility (MRF) which has won awards for being the most environmentally sustainable company in the country.

Louw will discuss Namibia’s first Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) facility that will provide up to 12 000 tons of RDF for use in manufacturing processes at Ohorongo Cement; one of the most modern cement plants in the world.


Delegates can look forward to an insightful presentation on transforming waste into energy by Gerald Kurz.

The Austrian engineering consultant has lead projects to design waste treatment plants (and conducted feasibility studies) in Russia, Pakistan, Poland, Croatia, Czeck Republic and Slovakia amongst many other countries.

Caps for landfills

Another fascinating presentation on caps for landfill sites will be given by engineer and consultant, Mark Roberts from the USA. He will share examples and cost benefits of newly approved solar panel cap designs.

Other speakers to look out for include Kevin Mearns who will discuss lessons learnt from waste management practices at Ngala Game Reserve, Roelien du Plessis talking about household composting, and Jason Gifford on biogas in South Africa.

WasteCon2018 is a platform for key role players in the industry to gather together and network. The conference will take place over a period of three days with plenary sessions, presentations and parallel workshops conducted by leaders in their respective fields sharing insights and first-hand experience of the latest developments, research, innovations and technologies.

Technical tour

Delegates can also look forward to a technical tour on the last day of the conference, 19 October 2018. One of the sites that will be visited is Tufflex Plastic Products, a recycler of plastic waste that processes both post-industrial and post-consumer polyolefin plastic waste. Visitors will experience the entire process from raw material sorting to shredding, granulation, washing, extrusion and bagging prior to final quality control and then despatch.

Access to the exhibition venue with displays from universities, industries and more will be open to all members of the public throughout the conference.

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