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City of Cape Town Offers Free Compost Bins to Homeowners

The City of Cape Town invited homeowners to apply for one of 5 000 free compost bins in its latest move to become a zero-waste society. They received ample applications within three days. The next round of applications are due for submission in July 2016, it seems you’ll need to apply quickly.

If you were hoping to apply but didn’t make it in time, have a look at our guide to setting up a compost heap in your garden. It may give you some ideas on how to get started even without the bin.

There are a number of ways to apply to the City of Cape Town:

  1. Contact City of Cape Town call centre on 0860 103 089 to request an application form.
  2. Complete and submit an application at a local subcouncil office or walk-in centre.
  3. Send an e-mail to to request an application form.

Residents will be required to produce a copy of their ID or passport.

“Once the City has checked that a few simple qualifying criteria are met, staff could be delivering a brand new home-composting set to your doorstep within 30 days. This will include your home-composting container and a 2 litre container for temporarily storing organic kitchen waste indoors before composting, along with all the necessary information to guide you through the process,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services, Councillor Ernest Sonnenberg.

Only single residences and sectional title properties currently qualify for this roll-out. At this stage it is required that the homeowner complete the application. However, tenants may ask their landlords to countersign the application form. This means that the property owner is taking responsibility for the composter, as it will be connected to the applicant’s municipal account.

“I strongly encourage all homeowners with a garden to apply for a home-composting unit as they will very soon reap the benefits. Not only will it mean less waste going into your bin and then to landfill sites, but gardens will benefit too. An indirect benefit is water conservation, as plants require less irrigation when there is good mulch to protect the moisture in the earth,” said Councillor Sonnenberg.

The following organic household waste can go into the home-composting container:

  • fruit and vegetable waste
  • eggshells
  • teabags
  • paper
  • vacuum cleaner contents
  • leaves
  • grass
  • sawdust
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