South Africa Contemplates Legislation to Reduce Solid Waste

Hoping to stem a rising tide of solid waste, South Africa is introducing a new tax on consumer goods designed to discourage trash dumping and promote recycling. The tax would amount to a compulsory deposit on items ranging from bottles and cans to car tires and plastic bags. The deposit could then be redeemed by taking the item to a recycling center or by returning it for reuse. The legislation containing the tax will also transfer control of landfills from the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry to the Department of Environment Affairs. The legislation has already been approved by the cabinet and will be considered by the parliament in the next two weeks. “This is a very important amendment which brings economic incentives into the issue of waste,” said Chippy Olver, director-general of the Department of Environment Affairs and Tourism.