Members of GREEN HOME’s Cape Town team visited Coastal Park Landfill in Muizenberg last Friday and took a walk up one of its mountains of trash. These giant trash heaps grow constantly, with 300 to 800 trucks full of waste being added every day!
Everything we Throw ‘Away’ is Still Here
If you live, work or play in Cape Town’s southern suburbs, you are almost certainly contributing to these man-made trash mountains. They’re the back-end of our fast-paced, over-packaged and plastic-heavy lifestyles. Full of all our used toothbrushes, drinks bottles, wrappers, nappies, plastic bags and so much more. And this is the better case scenario – much will also have been blown, washed or littered out to sea.
It was a strange feeling to stand so high up, and realize that aside from the rubble and sand used to cover and contain the waste, below one’s feet lies layer upon layer of compacted trash, all the way down to ground level.
A Massive Job
Receiving such an enormous influx of waste daily keeps the staff at Coastal Park Landfill extremely busy. The site only closes it’s gates 3 days a year. The guys we met were fantastic – very knowledgeable and friendly. And nice enough to take the time to show us around.
Cape Town’s waste management infrastructure is getting increasingly modern. Green garden waste is shredded on site and taken away for composting. Building rubble is recycled, and methane gas is captured and will soon be used to generate electricity.
Landfill improvements are important. But we also need to seriously reduce our trash output. Coastal Park Landfill will be full in an estimated 7 years and the city is struggling to keep up with our ever-growing waste. Our current lifestyles are simply not sustainable – not for city planners, and not for natural ecosystems.
If we don’t want our planet to end up completely submerged in trash – like a scene from the movie WALL-E – then we need to take urgent action. We can reduce our trash footprint, choose biodegradable products, and increase our composting infrastructure, both small and large-scale. Collectively, it’s essential that we focus on developing innovative and sustainable practices that don’t result in mountains of discarded waste.
We came away from our walk with Cape Town’s rubbish feeling extra committed to our mission of making plant based packaging the norm. And creating a low-waste, sustainable South Africa.