RESIDENTS who recycle are irate and tired of the municipality’s endless excuses as to why there are no orange bags.
DA PR Councillor for wards eight and 103, Gill Noyce, who is also affected and inconvenienced by this problem said: “Is anyone else as mad as I am that I have to send my bag of plastic to a landfill every week because the council cannot find a suitable contractor to manufacture the orange bags? The project was meant to reduce waste at landfills and promote the separation of waste at the source.”
“Of the amount we all pay monthly for refuse collection, R16.50 goes towards orange bags – except that they no longer exist. The ruling party gave the contract to someone who was unable to deliver on the contract. Despite questions from the opposition DA councillors, we have no idea when the new contract will be given out.
“The ANC tells us they are looking for suitable acceptable contractors,” she said.
Noyce said, as a result, the contractors who collect the orange bags have had to let go of about 500 staff.
The City is mandated to produce a waste management plan which would include re-cycling, something that Noyce said it does not have.
According to DA PR Councillor (ward 24), Warren Burne, the manufacture of bags, the contract which was in place, was cancelled by the municipality because of deficiencies in the tender process.
“A new tender process was initiated and a tender was awarded earlier this month for distribution of orange bags to begin from November. The losing bidder is challenging the tender process in court,” he said.
Burne is hoping that a court challenge will bring to the fore the identity of the people who are responsible for the destruction of the municipality’s recycling efforts.
“They should be harshly punished,” he added.
To encourage recycling, eThekwini Municipalty’s Durban Solid Waste (DSW) provided residents with orange bags for plastic, plastic bottles, Tetra Pak materials, cardboard and paper.
According to the municipality’s website, each household is supplied with one pack of 15 orange bags to last a period of 13 weeks, but this hasn’t been the case.
The Highway Mail has received letters of complaint since 2014 about orange bags that have either not been delivered or collected.
In December 2015, the municipality responded with an apology when a resident complained about not receiving orange bags.
“Good morning, I would like to inform you that due to the manufacturing of the new orange bag we had a delay with the distribution of orange bags as we had not have stock of the improved bag.”
However, delivery is underway for the residences that have not received the bags as yet and will forward your contact details and address to the relevant contractors to deliver orange bags.
Can I have you residential address so that I can forward to the contractors to deliver to you? Should you require an additional pack of the bags, you can come through to 188 Argyle Road/Sandile Thusi Road, Morningside.” (sic)
In 2016, eThekwini Municipality advised they were experiencing delays with the supply of the orange recycling bags and they attributed it to the change in contractors manufacturing the bags.
According to the municipality, the supply of raw materials was behind schedule, resulting in insufficient bags coming off the production line.
In 2017, the collection of orange bags from households was stopped due to a ‘natural disaster’.
The Kerbside Recycling programme, known as the orange recycling bag programme, was temporarily closed due to storm damage to DSW’s recycling partner, MPACT’s plant.
Also in 2017, the municipality sent out communication that even though they were experiencing a ‘slight interruption’ to the supply of orange recycling bags, more than 75 per cent of households remained unaffected and were receiving their bags on time.
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Households affected by the interruption to supply were encouraged to use clear plastic bags provided by the City to recycle in the interim.
Residents were requested to place plastic, cardboard and paper in one clear bag and glass and cans in a separate clear bag.
Residents were urged to contact Durban Solid Waste (DSW) and let them know if they would like to receive the clear bags.
This year the municipality continued to experience issues with the supply and collection of orange bags.
The municipal comment
With regards to the supply of the orange bags, eThekwini spokesperson,Msawakhe Mayisela, said: “The Kerbside recycling programme is still running in the buyback/drop off centres around the City, however, there is a challenge of the supply of orange bags which is due to the delays in the procurement processes.”
According to Mayisela,Cleansing and Solid Waste is currently awaiting finalisation of the Supply Chain Management processes, prior to commencement of the orange bag supply to the residence.
“Communication will be sent to all residents once the orange bags are available. We still encourage all our citizens to continue recycling and we wish to apologise to all affected citizens who are passionately involved with recycling for the inconvenience caused,”
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