Understanding the national domestic waste collection standards
To redress past imbalances in waste collection service provision, it is imperative that acceptable, affordable and sustainable waste services be provided to all South Africans. Critical to the provisioning of services is an acknowledgement of the differentiated capacities of municipalities in providing the services. However, there needs to be some level of uniformity in the range of services provided so that citizens of this country do not experience different standards of service. Therefore, there is a need for municipalities to adopt similar services standards. Currently, there are major discrepancies in the provisioning of waste services: in particular, low-income and rural areas still receive very low levels of service, as opposed to high-income areas. In this regard, the Department of Environmental Affairs, with the assistance of the CSIR, developed the National Domestic Waste Collection Standards, which contain a range of service standards appropriate to different contexts. The standards, which came into effect on 1 February 2011, also provide for the implementation of the waste management hierarchy that requires waste avoidance, reduction, reuse, recycling, recovery and waste treatment, and disposal as a last resort.