Circular Economy & Waste Management News South Africa

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How Waterfall is turning trash into landscaping treasure

Attacq and the Waterfall Management Company have been partnering in innovation that incorporates circular economy methods in their green solutions. An example of this collaboration is the Heron IVC (in-vessel composter) machine, a waste management optimisation solution that will reduce waste and landfills in the area.
Source: Supplied
Source: Supplied

The Heron IVC, a mechanism that has been in the making for almost two years, is now turning trash into landscaping treasure. The system comprises a large scale, aerobic composting machine that can process up to 80,000kg of food waste per month, ultimately helping responsible citizens fight the great carbon battle while also creating a nutrient-rich fertiliser for gardens, parks and fields.

Commenting on Waterfall's new initiative, sustainability manager at Attacq Kyra Rautenbach says, "We are incredibly proud to launch our 80 ton IVC composting machine which will take residents' and businesses' food waste that would usually have gone into a landfill and convert it into a pre-compost.

"This initiative forms part of our integrated waste management plan and is a result of indepth research into our tenants' spaces. Not only did we audit their waste to understand what was being generated, but we also established how and where it's disposed of once it leaves Waterfall.

Insights from this research helped to identify where the real waste opportunities lie and revealed how we can continue to enhance our sustainability principles and practices."

A breakdown of the system

1. Wheelie bins holding food waste are weighed and the waste is discharged into the unit’s shredder.
2. Shredded food is automatically added to the composting vessel and Earth Bokashi, a mix of specially developed indigenous South African micro-organisms, is added.
3. Over the next 14 days, the magic happens. Microbes populate and reproduce beneficial microbes within the composting vessel. These help to break down the waste and turn it into organic compost. Waste with little value, such as waterlogged boxes or egg cartons that are food-contaminated, can also be processed through the composter, ultimately ensuring that no organic waste ends up at the landfill.
4. The result is nutrient-dense compost that can be added to traditional garden compost and used across the landscaped areas in Waterfall.

Source: Supplied
Source: Supplied

Home-grown solutions

Manufactured and developed in South Africa, the Heron IVC is low energy and uses mechanical aeration to turn organic waste into compost. It can process between 60 and 80 tons of waste in one month, consequently reducing the logistical costs and the risk of non-collections of putrescible food waste. It further provides data to help developments such as Waterfall measure the extent of food waste and its environmental impact.

With every 1,000kg of food waste, Waterfall is preventing the formation of 617kg of greenhouse gases. Currently, the machine services the Mall of Africa restaurants. The mall has a central waste area where the food waste is sorted and separated. The screening process is critical as it needs to identify all types of waste, including the biggest offenders, plastic - specifically microplastics, which can go undetected. The service will soon be extended to eateries at the other Waterfall shopping centres such as Polofields Crossing and The Wilds Lifestyle Centre - and eventually to all households within the precinct.

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