Over 50 stakeholders met to share insights and discuss potential solutions to challenges related to the management of waste from absorbent hygiene products. This workshop is a follow-up to a first meeting with the Department of Environmental Affairs in May 2016, prompted by growing concerns related to littering and the rising volume of waste from absorbent hygiene products. The objectives were to develop a strong network and relationships with relevant stakeholders directly or indirectly involved in waste management in South Africa, to understand their expectations and to enable a cooperative dialogue in view of multi-stakeholder efforts in the future. Participating organisations included product manufacturers, government agencies, provinces, municipalities, waste management companies and environmental civil society groups.
Over the last few years increasing disposable income in South Africa has increased the gap between waste generation and collection and disposal infrastructure in rural areas. This has led to a significant increase in littering and illegal dumping. The roundtable enabled stakeholders to understand each others' concerns and expectations and was an effective platform for constructive discussions. Solutions to this complex issue will require coordinated multi-stakeholder initiatives to address collection and disposal gaps and raise consumer awareness.
In addition to an overview from the Department of Environmental Affairs and EDANA, participants had the opportunity to hear presentations from Kimberly-Clark and Procter & Gamble on advanced waste treatment and recycling solutions. The group of stakeholders agreed to form a steering committee with representatives from all categories of stakeholders, to launch and coordinate targeted action to improve waste collection and management. A summary report will be made available to EDANA members shortly.