Interwaste, Unilever’s waste management service provider, today announced that the business is the first waste management company in the country to achieve zero non-hazardous waste (ZNHW) to landfill for one of its clients.
“It is not only important to reduce waste to contribute to a greener, healthier environment, but the way in which this waste is managed is an important matter. Therefore, it is becoming critical for organisations to deploy a solid waste management solution to meet the business’ waste reduction strategies,” says Sandeep Desai, vice president of manufacturing at Unilever.
With Johannesburg having committed to the Polokwane Declaration that pledges zero waste to landfill by 2022, a very strong benchmark has been set for businesses in the province – and the country as a whole – to start focusing on responsible and innovative waste management tactics.
“At Interwaste, we take this declaration seriously and continuously innovate to ensure we are first to market with new waste reduction strategies. This is exactly what we did with Unilever, where we were appointed by the company in August 2014, with the aim of achieving a ZNHW to landfill status by December 2014,” says Jason McNeil, group sales director at Interwaste.
“We are very proud that we have reached this huge milestone, another first for the business. However, just as critical is the impact this achievement will have on today’s environmentally strained economy, as it demonstrates that the business sector is able to achieve results even within rapidly changing legislation.”
Unilever South Africa has a total of five sites within the country, all of which had to reach the ZNHW to landfill target. As a result, Interwaste undertook a two-phased approach to fulfil the objective within the designated time-frame, while keeping best practice at the forefront of the project.
“Through this, Interwaste restructured all existing systems to facilitate a holistic approach and understanding when it came to the non-hazardous waste,” adds McNeil. “This meant ensuring the removal of previously stored waste, as well as undertaking the correct destruction of this waste. It was this approach that allowed us to ensure that two of the sites achieved ZNHW to landfill by October, two months earlier than the required deadline.”
Furthermore, Interwaste installed machinery which facilitated the breakdown and segregation of waste at its original source, prevented the cross contamination of wet and dry waste. These solutions assisted with a month-on-month increase of resource recovery from 74% to 83% between September and October 2014.
Says Desai; “As a global business, it is imperative that we are active in managing our environmental footprint in the most effective and innovative way possible. The ZNHW to landfill achievement certainly demonstrates our leadership role within the sector and sets a benchmark for other corporate companies to follow suit. Interwaste played a crucial role in helping us attain this status. Their innovative methods in waste management, at all levels, as well as professional and timely service delivery, ensured all deadlines and objectives were correctly met.”
Ben Shepherd, National Sales Manager at Interwaste, and project lead for Unilever’s waste management project says: “This is a South African first for waste management.”
“If a company with the magnitude of Unilever is able to do this, I have no doubt that the Interwaste team is able to find alternative solutions for any business, no matter their scale or focus.”
As a result of this success, an additional two Unilever sites will be commissioned in Johannesburg later this year, both of which will commence with a ZNHW to landfill solution.
McNeil concludes; “Corporate South Africa needs to realise, that the time to take action is now! Legal framework with regards to landfills and waste are rapidly changing and in a very short space of time, zero-waste to landfill will become a mandatory responsibility for every company.”