A comparison of the costs and benefits of a kerbside recyclable collection scheme with landfill disposal for the Stellenbosch Municipality
Thesis (MDF)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.
ENGLISH SUMMARY : The Stellenbosch Municipality is facing a looming household waste disposal crisis as a result of the projected closure, in 2019, of its centrally located Devon Valley Landfill Site. There are no plans to develop further disposal capacity within the Municipality in the short term and therefore collected household waste will have to be transported to the nearest available landfill sites in the City of Cape Town once the site reaches capacity. The significant increase in transport distances will inevitably increase the waste system costs in the Stellenbosch Municipality. An alternative available to the Municipality would be to implement a recyclable recovery at source programme to reduce the amount of waste to be transported, and to move up the waste hierarchy. This research assignment assessed the costs and benefits associated with transporting household waste to the City of Cape Town (Option 1) and compared them to the costs and benefits of implementing a full-scale, source separated recyclable collection scheme (Option 2). The primary objectives of this research assignment were to quantify the likely increase in waste system costs facing the Stellenbosch Municipality with and without a separate recyclable collection programme, and to determine the most beneficial course of action. The methodological framework adopted was financial cost-benefit analysis. A previous, now outdated, waste system cost-benefit model developed for the Stellenbosch Municipality formed the theoretical basis for this research assignment. The previous model estimated the net additional (i.e. marginal) benefits of future waste management interventions. To quantify the variables in the cost-benefit model equation in this research assignment, a waste flow model was developed to estimate the quantities of household waste at different points in the future Option’s waste systems. The annual costs and benefits for a ten-year model horizon, starting in 2018, were calculated. The net present value for each scenario was then calculated in 2016 prices, from which the most financially beneficial option could be determined. The waste flow model estimated that 573 482 tons of household waste would have to be managed by the Stellenbosch Municipality over the ten-year model horizon. This therefore also represented the total mass of waste that would have to be transported to the City of Cape Town in Option 1. The estimated mass of recyclables diverted over this period in Option 2 was 7% of the total household waste, with the balance of the waste to be transported to the City of Cape Town. The results of the cost-benefit analyses show a potentially significant increase in the future costs of waste management in the Stellenbosch Municipality. The net present value for Option 1 was calculated at -R311 399 192 (additional cost of R543/ton) and for Option 2 at -R332 536 632 (additional cost of R580/ton). Given that the current operational costs for waste management in the Stellenbosch Municipality were estimated at R1 082/ton in 2016, the Municipality should plan for an increase in waste system costs in excess of 50% of current costs. The net present values were considered too alike to definitively affirm a best option from a financial perspective, particularly considering the many input assumptions underpinning the cost-benefit models. Given that an assessment of the wider societal benefits of recycling are likely to exceed that of hauling all the waste to landfill, it was concluded that implementing a full-scale kerbside recyclable collection scheme would likley be the most beneficial course of action for the Stellenbosch Municipality in the short to medium term.
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