ORASA Gauteng Introductory Meeting 19th November 2019

On 19 November, we had our first Gauteng event to introduce ORASA to potential members in the organic recycling space here in Joburg. We had 20 people attend the function from composters, waste management companies, farmers and other related industries. Emile Fourie and Berenice Westmore came up from Cape Town for the function to present the ORASA vision and objectives.

Emile outlined the journey ORASA has been on since 2016 and the purpose of forming a non-profit, industry body. Having a unified voice for the industry has been important to effect change and to engage with government and policy makers. He made it clear that the Western Cape ORASA committee members want to assist to grow the Gauteng region and guide where possible with the benefit of some of the conversations they have already had in the Cape. They want to hear where Gauteng members’ concerns are and see the level of participation they want. The aim of the meeting was to network and get potential members talking and to meet each other. Many of the composters, despite being in the same industry, had never met each other.

It was announced that ORASA’s purpose was to divert all organics from landfill by 2027. Emile acknowledged that it was an aggressive target but by setting an aggressive target, even if we get to 50%, it’s a lot better for the environment and eco system than what we currently have.

The mission is to promote and expand the organic recycling market and to support our members through the various mechanisms and processes of organic recycling in South Africa; be it composting, anaerobic digestion, black soldier fly larvae, vermicomposting etc. Not one method is preferred over another. Instead, all solutions are seen as better options than the current practice of landfilling.

The current Norms and Standards for Composting, which is out for public comment, was discussed. The original document was based on the norms and standards used in Germany. This would have placed an added and unnecessary burden for South Africans. ORASA spent significant time on this document and the resulting guideline will go a long way to encouraging composting and diversion from landfill. It’s an African solution to an African problem. ORASA has found positive ways to engage with government and create a sharing platform.

The meeting discussed how ORASA would like to develop a database of facilities available to divert organics from landfill. This will be a dynamic database as new members join and more options for organic recycling come online. It will also highlight the volumes of organics that our members are diverting from landfill.

Our target for membership has been set to increase by 50% in 2020 and we aim to host 2 events per year, which will include events in Joburg. Growing ORASA gives us a bigger industry voice in the waste sector that is predominantly driven by dry recycling. We need to showcase the good that we’re doing on the ground.

Thanks to Emile and Berenice for making this function the success it was.