Minister Barbara Creecy lays claim to waste reclaimers

26 Aug 2022

Minister Creecy officiates at handover of biodegradation testing and research laboratory at the council for scientific and industrial research

“Good morning and thank you for the invitation to be part of this auspicious occasion which celebrates two important milestones in our quest for more sustainable solutions to Waste Management namely: support for Waste Reclaimers who are the cornerstone of waste recycling in our country; and new laboratory equipment to assist us in testing and ensuring verifiable standards for bio-plastics.

Inadequate waste management poses a significant threat to our environment, causing pollution to soil and ground water and undermining ecosystem functions and services. Marine plastic waste is a global problem that threatens biodiversity and wildlife. Marine plastic litter originates mostly on land from single-use plastics. When these products and packaging are not properly disposed of, they leak into the environment. 

To improve waste management in South Africa we have to progressively increase the number of  households with access to weekly waste collection; improve landfill compliance and look to the future of waste disposal beyond landfilling. In this regard the reduction and recycling of waste plays and important role.

Government is aiming to divert  forty percent of waste from landfill within 5 years through reuse, recycling, recovery and alternative waste treatment.  We aim to reduce the current amount of waste by about twenty five percent over the same period and ensure a further twenty percent of waste is reused in the economic value chain.  

Government has over the past year introduced Extended Producer Responsibility schemes for the packaging, eWaste and lighting sectors. We are currently consulting on extending these schemes for batteries, pesticides and lubricant oils.

Regulations for organic waste treatment, as well as the composting of organic waste, were published earlier this year for implementation. This will help ensure that organic waste, including  food waste, is diverted from landfills and used in composting and other sustainable technologies

Consumers are increasing conscious of the impact of their choices on the environment  and consequently, constantly in search of products that are more environmentally friendly.

At present, bio-plastics represent less than one percent of plastics produced annually. However, rising demand, and an increase in more sophisticated applications means  production capacity is set to increase. Bioplastic alternatives exist for many current plastic products, and we expect consumer choice to drive their mainstreaming and increased uptake over time.

And so regulators are challenged to ensure that the certification systems for these products protect both consumers and the environment. The Extended Producer Responsibility Regulations include a transitional timeframe which affords industry time to prepare for the enforcement of environmental labelling obligations. So that producers can provide assurance in accordance with approved SABS standards,  laboratory facilities with necessary equipment are much needed. 

The services that will be on offer through today’s donation will broaden transparency and ensure product claims can be  tested in accordance with environmental labelling standards. At the same time, the South African Bureau of Standards is currently in the process of developing local standards for biodegradable packaging.

It is estimated that there are between sixty and ninety thousand informal waste reclaimers working at the heart of South Africa’s recycling economy, recovering mostly paper and packaging waste from households and businesses.

Data published by the packaging sector prior to the Extended Producer Responsibility Regulations coming into effect, estimated that waste reclaimers collect 80-90% of  post-consumer paper and packaging for recycling.  

Government, industry and civil society recognise the important role waste reclaimers play in the diversion of valuable resources away from landfill and the need to formalise and protect these livelihoods and the circular economy they promote.

A notable feature of the agreement between UNIDO, the Government of South Africa and the Government of Japan, is the recognition of the informal sector’s role in waste management and the critical link they provide between households and recycling enterprises.

I am excited that the CSIR plans to partner with waste reclaimer organisations  to further integrate them into circular economy waste streams. The planned training and awareness  programmes will make a great contribution to the formalization of this often under recognised and under-valued sector.

Actors in the informal sector need to educated on the differences between recyclable and compostable material, as well as the best practice with regards to identifying, collecting and storing the different materials.

Allow me to conclude by saluting our partners Unido, the government of Japan and our sister Department of Science and Technology  for this important initiative that does so much to promote a more sustainable approach to waste management. Today you demonstrate your commitment to making our world a better place: we all know there is no Planet B!

I thank you!”

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Lithium-ion batteries offers an electrifying opportunity for South Africa

The global move to low-carbon transportation options, such as electrical vehicles (EVs), brings battery technologies to the fore. This provides unique opportunities for policy makers and local producers to explore South Africa’s competitive advantage in the lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) value chain.

This emerged as a key theme from a study on opportunities to develop the lithium-ion battery value chain in South Africa, initiated by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (dtic) as one of the deliverables of the Low Carbon Transport project in South Africa. A report on the study, which was conducted by Trade and Investment Policies (TIPS) on behalf of the project, was launched today during a side event of the Africa Energy Indaba.

According to Gerhard Fourie, the dtic’s Chief Director of Green Industries, the report is intended to “feed into the broader debate around low-carbon transport, green industrial development and policy shifts in terms of the development of the EV value chain. The increased prominence of EVs entering the market is mentioned in the report, highlighting battery technologies as an important component of sustainable development. In view of the commitment of government and industry to ensure the country retains the position of the local automotive manufacturing value chain as a key player in the mobility of the future, the study investigated the potential for a South African lithium-ion battery (LIB) value chain.”

Fourie adds that “every stage of the LIB value chain was therefore investigated with the aim of identifying the country’s existing and potential competitive advantage. In addition, the TIPS research team sought to answer a number of questions, such as: can the country develop new capabilities relevant to the battery value chain? Should the country focus on specific segments of the value chain or work to build a complete value chain domestically? And finally, acknowledging that the country has the minerals required for the production of batteries, does South Africa and other African countries have the potential to build on their natural resources to support mining and beneficiation?”

What emerged is that there is a “vibrant value chain”, but not all stages are at the same level of development. The report points out that “mining of multiple LIB-relevant minerals, such as manganese, iron ore, nickel and titanium, is already underway in the country and the region. Mineral beneficiation for battery production, while limited, is also present in the country, with existing pockets of excellence in manganese and aluminium and interesting developments in lithium, nickel and titanium. Importantly, battery manufacturing (off imported cells) and battery refurbishing (second-life batteries) is a booming opportunity with many firms operating in this space, leveraging unique expertise and intellectual property, notably in the development of battery management systems. By contrast, cell manufacturing, while explored at the R&D level, is yet to be proven commercially viable in the country. Similarly, the development of recycling is still early days in the country.”

Identifying where in the value chain South Africa is competitive is critical, so as to channel support and resources into the most sustainable activities. Based on the research, four possible technical pathways are proposed to support the development of the LIB value chain: 1) battery manufacturing 2) mineral refining; 3) cell manufacturing; and 4) battery recycling.

The study noted that developing battery manufacturing and mineral refining are ready for scale-up whilst cell manufacturing and recycling could be explored in the medium to long term, provided they prove to be economically sustainable. The report notes that where there are “key pockets of excellence” (battery manufacturing, mineral beneficiation and mining), efforts and resources should be focused on these activities. TIPS research leader Gaylor Montmasson-Clair stresses that “indeed, the development of the LIB value chain is a fantastic opportunity for South Africa, provided the country invests in its strengths and competitive advantages, rather than unsubstantiated aspirations.” 

The study pointed out that “an established LIB industry is instrumental to the local development of both the (renewable) energy and (electric) transport industries.” Hence, ensuring high levels of local content in renewable energy and automotive manufacturing will be dependent on localising the battery value chain as much as possible. In turn, strong partnerships and collaboration between public and private institutions as well as between local and international players is critical in growing the LIB value chain.

According to Dr Blanche Ting, Energy and Low Carbon Coordinator for UNIDO, it was noteworthy that the study also mentions the minerals beyond South Africa, particularly on the African continent.  Among SADC are graphite (Mozambique and Tanzania), nickel (Botswana, and Zimbabwe), titanium (Mozambique, Madagascar) amongst others.  Potential for regional industrial integration of these minerals notably though the implementation of the Southern African Development Community Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063, and the recent implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) should be explored. 

In moving forward, the report highlights that aside from identifying where in the entire LIB value chain South African industries are (or could be) competitive, a number of key components, such local testing and certification as well as access to funding for commercialisation of innovations, are required to establish an enabling policy framework for the development of the LIB value chain. In addition, facilitating access to markets, both domestically and globally, and shaping R&D and skills development in line with South Africa’s competitive advantage would play a large part in South Africa succeeding in developing the value chain.

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South African project receives international energy award

South Africa’s largest energy efficiency initiative, the SA Industrial Energy Efficiency Project, has won the highest international accolade for an energy programme – the International Energy Project of the Year, awarded by the global Association of Energy Engineers (AEE).

The award was accepted by national project manager, Alf Hartzenburg of the National Cleaner Production Centre (NCPC-SA) at the AEE International Virtual Awards ceremony on Wednesday, 14 October.

AEE members and executives from around the world responded with enthusiastic accolades when the summary of the IEE Project achievements was read by the chairperson of the awards committee. 

The Industrial Energy Efficiency (IEE) Project, which has been led since 2010 by the NCPC-SA and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), received the award in recognition of its efforts of transforming the energy use patterns in South African industry, and mainstreaming energy management systems across economic sectors.

Since its first implementation projects in 2011, the IEE Project team has assisted industrial companies to save 6.5TWh of energy, translating to cumulative cost savings of R5.3 billion in these companies.

The AEE’s International Awards recognise achievements in energy around the world. According to the organisers’ official communication, the awards identify those who exemplify the very best in their fields, and recognize the important work that is being done by individuals, organisations, agencies, and corporations.

The IEE Project is currently its second phase, after the success of 2010-2015 allowed UNIDO to secure Global Environment Facility funding for phase II, set to run until December 2021. Other IEE Project phase II partners include the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, which funds the NCPC-SA, the Department of Energy and Mineral Resources and its agency, the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI).

According to national project leader and NCPC-SA spokesperson, Alf Hartzenburg, what sets this project apart is that it partners with and equips industry to tackle practical energy management in companies of all sizes.

Recognises an energy management project developed and installed outside the U.S. The project is often recognised for its first-of-a-kind approach in the country where it has been installed. However, even more conventional projects with significant success (savings and/or visibility) are also encouraged.”

According to the AEE Awards criteria, the Energy Project of the Year: International, the SA IEE Project was entered by industry representatives after it was selected as the winner of the South African Energy Project of the Year by the Southern African Energy Efficiency Confederation (SAEEC), an official Chapter of the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE), in November 2019. The SAEEC is a non-profit association and the official chapter of AEE in South Africa. 

“Through expert-level training of industry professionals, demonstration of actual impact and methodologies aligned to international standard ISO50001, the project partners have ensured that both the skills and the appetite exist to implement energy management.”

Project manager and NCPC-SA spokesperson, Alf Hartzenburg

“The benefits are made clear in the energy savings, which result in direct financial savings on utilities and other energy sources, and we don’t leave the companies to go it alone, but support them with skills and financial linkages, where possible.”

Hartzenburg believes that the return to operations post lockdown offers companies an ideal opportunity to consider changes that will ultimately save them operating costs, thus aiding in the recovery process and long-term sustainability. “SANS/ISO 50001, the energy management best practice standard, actually saves companies money. We are offering companies technical support to comply with this standard, and even some financial support if they want to apply for certification through SABS.”

Hartzenburg says his team is particularly proud of the huge environmental impact of the project, “Energy savings, particularly in a fossil-fuel based economy such as South Africa, have a direct climate mitigation benefit – which is why the GEF has funded our second phase.”

Based on internationally accepted calculators, the NCPC-SA reports that energy saved by companies through the IEE Project has mitigated 6.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) since April 2011 when the first savings were measured.

The Project has also ensured that companies receive all the support possible, and that the data collected works to help the South African energy and policy landscape as a whole. SANEDI is working with the information gathered through the NCPC-SA interventions, overlaid with relevant international and national energy trends, to inform energy and policy planning, including the adaptation of the National Energy Efficiency Strategy.

UNIDO’s Chief of the Energy Systems and Infrastructure Division, Rana Ghoneim, said that the award was an excellent recognition of the strong ownership, committed leadership and multi-stakeholder partnership driving industrial energy efficiency in South Africa. 

“The programme has always been a great example inspiring other countries within the UNIDO global programme where its impacts transcend beyond South Africa.”

UNIDO’s Chief of the Energy Systems and Infrastructure Division, Rana Ghoneim

Energy management training is still being offered by the NCPC-SA, which has already trained in excess of 5 000 professionals at technical level and 200 men and women to be IEE experts. Many of the IEE training courses are currently being offered online, at no cost to industry delegates for the remainder of 2020.

The IEE Project has a strong focus on gender mainstreaming and promoting the participation of women in energy. To date, 43% of the professionals trained through the project were female.

The IEE Project also includes awareness-raising in its activities, as evidence strongly supports the idea that sustained energy savings are brought about through behaviour change. This active communication approach made the project an even stronger candidate for the AEE International Award which encourages projects with “significant success in savings and/or visibility”.



Now in its second phase, the South African Industrial Energy Efficiency (IEE) Project is a multi-stakeholder initiative that supports increased and sustained energy efficiency within industrial and selected commercial sectors by promoting the increased adoption of Energy Management Systems (EnMS), Energy Systems Optimisation (ESO), and the ISO 50001 series.

The IEE Project was launched in 2010 to assist industrial companies around the country to save energy and money, improve effectiveness and demonstrate the positive impact of energy management on GHG emissions.

The Project in South Africa was the first of its kind, and served as an international pilot project. The concept was developed by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the primary national implementer was the National Cleaner Production Centre South Africa (NCPC-SA), a programme funded by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) and managed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

The first phase (2010 – 2015) was a significant success and the model was used to replicate the IEE Project in other developing countries. Today, 17 other developing countries run IEE projects by UNIDO and country partners. The success also led to UNIDO and local partners securing funding for a second phase, which commenced in 2016. Phase II is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).


Phase I – A world first (2010 – 2015)

  • Promoting energy management systems and standards to provide companies with a platform to sustain energy-efficient practices
  • Promoting energy-systems optimisation to unlock the energy-savings potential of priority industrial sectors in South Africa
  • Training energy experts and practitioners to transfer skills to industry
  • Demonstrating the impact of energy efficiency practices on local industries
  • Raising awareness around the importance and impact of industrial energy efficiency

Phase II – Bigger and better (2016 – 2021)

  • Improving industrial energy efficiency data as an input into policy development
  • Supporting strong policies and frameworks for energy management systems and standards
  • Mainstreaming training programmes aimed at the implementation and sustainability of energy management systems and energy savings
  • Supporting access to financial products and incentives for energy efficiency and savings opportunities
  • Ongoing awareness creation


  • National executing agency:
    • Phases I and II: National Cleaner Production Centre, South Africa (NCPC-SA)
    • Phase II: DMRE and the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI)
  • International implementing agency: United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
  • South African national departments:
    • Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic)
    • Department of Mineral Affairs and Energy (DMRE)
  • International funders:
    • Phase I: Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), UK Department of International Development
    • Phase II: Global Environment Facility (GEF)


Cumulative savings (Phases I and II):
Energy saved:6.5 TWh* of cumulative energy savings in participating companies
CO2e mitigated:6.4 million tonnes mitigated
Costs saved:R5.3 billion cumulative cost avoidance in participating companies

*Equivalent to the electricity required to power 900 000 middle income SA homes for 12 months, or 5 years of load shedding (at the 2019 level of 1.352 TWh)

Capacity Building

The training of industry professionals is a critical component of the project, key to driving the sustained implementation of energy management. Together, UNIDO and the NCPC-SA developed internationally benchmarked courses with locally relevant content in energy management and energy systems optimisation. 

  • 6 490 engineers, technicians and managers trained (private and public sector)
  • 223 national experts trained in EnMS and ESO, and deployed in plants
  • 116 national trainers trained, some of whom are being contracted to train and advise internationally
  • 12 different courses developed and offered
  • 40 lead auditors for ISO 50001 trained

Other noteworthy highlights (prior to the winning of the AEE Award)

The IEE Project is one of only two United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change NAMA recognition projects from Africa. The NAMA – Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action – refers to a set of policies and actions undertaken by countries as part of a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Project also serves as custodian of the SANS/ISO 50001 Certification Register in South Africa.

In 2019, the Project was recognised by the Southern African Energy Efficiency Confederation as the South African Energy Project of the Year.

Opportunities for participation and industry support

The IEE Project will run until December 2021, but even after this time, the work will continue through the NCPC-SA. Should companies wish to get support to realise energy and related cost savings, the NCPC-SA offers the following:

  • Online energy efficiency information sessions
  • Various online energy efficiency training courses 
  • Advice on existing energy efficiency funding mechanisms such as the Income Tax (12L) Allowance for Energy Efficiency Savings
  • Fully subsidised energy assessments
  • Energy Management Systems (EnMS) implementation support
  • ISO 50001 certification readiness support
  • South African case studies showcasing tangible energy efficiency benefits
  • Free energy management tools and guides

For more information, contact /

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UNIDO in cooperation with Japan provide PPE to waste reclaimers

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), under the project “Support for transitioning from conventional plastics to more environmentally sustainable alternatives“, funded by the Government of Japan, addressed the safety of waste reclaimers in South Africa and their protection from the threats of Covid-19 pandemic.

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Online UNIDO Fan System Optimisation (FSO) End User

Date: 17 – 19 August 2020

15 hours of training over 3 days

08:00 – 14:00 daily South African time

Full attendance of all 15 hours calculates to 2 AEE renewal credits 


R1400 SAEEC Members (Membership Number Required)
R2800 Non-SAEEC Member

*First 5 SAEEC Members booked online receive free training.

Apply now for your SAEEC Membership by visiting our website.

The offer is as follows

  • Livestream with trainer access for Q&A
  • Attendance Certificate after completion of full course
  • NCPC Certificate of Completion once you have successfully passed the 1hour test
  • 15 hours of training over 3 days. From 8am-2pm daily South African time
  • Full attendance of all 15 hours calculates to 2 AEE renewal credits

The UNIDO End User Fan Systems Optimisation training course enables delegates to recognise the benefits of FSO by learning how to assess fan systems and identify potential optimisation opportunities.

They will be introduced to some practical examples and learn the preferable applications of various fan and impeller types in terms of their performance and design and how they interact with different systems and controls.

The system in which the fan operates will then be studied so that the impact of the design of the system on the performance of the installed fan can be assessed and quantified.

By gaining an understanding of different control methods, and maintenance and operational best practices, they will then be able to make initial determinations of the potential benefits of the opportunities that may be available. The methods of control, including the various types of dampers and their application as well as variable speed drives, will be discussed.

The participants will be guided in the skills and methodology of determining how to achieve cost savings and energy efficiency through the appropriate application of the correct fan and impeller type in new and existing systems.

The participants will also learn to make operational cost calculations using various methods and be able to assess fan systems and their potential improvements quantitatively and qualitatively. This will enable them to initiate the development and implementation of FSO measures and projects.

Trainer: Barry Platt

Trainer: Barry Platt

Bsc. (Mech. Eng) CEM®, UNIDO qualified international trainer in the subjects of Pump and Fan system optimisation. NCPC qualified expert in Resource Efficiency and Cleaner Production (RECP)

Barry Platt has more than 15 years’ experience in the energy industry. He has conducted over 100 energy and resource efficiency projects and assessments at large and small companies around South Africa and internationally, providing these clients with in-depth information and recommendations with regard to baselines, implementation options and financial analysis.

He has completed many energy system optimisations and resources efficiency projects with excellent savings results. These included fans, pumps, compressed air, process flows, materials and waste balances, electrical and water balances. Barry has also completed and qualified in various UNIDO, internationally sanctioned training workshops relating to Energy Management and System Efficiency.

He currently facilitates training courses up to the expert level in the subjects of fan and pump system optimisation. Barry owns Energy Assist; an energy consulting company.

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