Agribusiness

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EnviroServ

EnviroServ

“What started as a door-to-door waste collection service more than four decades ago has become South Africa’s largest waste management company. EnviroServ has led the way in the industry, priding themselves on innovative and sustainable solutions to the issue of dealing with waste. One of the ways in which they tackle food waste has seen the company working with SA Breweries and industrial bakeries for the past 16 years, turning wet grain and dough that would ordinarily get dumped in a landfill into nutritional animal feed.

In 1979, there were no privately owned waste companies willing to service township areas. Local entrepreneurs noted this gap in the market and launched EnviroServ (then Wade Refuse), going door-to-door to collect and dispose of waste.

“This intrepid and pioneering spirit still informs everything we do today,” says Yolandi Kruger, project manager at EnviroServ.

The company offers a broad range of services and products for dealing with waste, such as the handling of hazardous substances, recycling and landfill management. EnviroServ takes on all of their customer’s waste needs with a zero-to-landfill approach, noting that waste management and sustainability are inseparable.

Waste is a big issue for the food industry, not only for profits, but also because of the negative effects it has on the environment. Organic waste in landfills is responsible for high methane emissions, which is why one of the government’s environmental goals is to divert this waste.

EnviroServ has two tanks on-site at SA Breweries that are filled every day with spent yeast. The company then delivers this high-protein grain and yeast mix to various farms, where the product actually increases milk production in cows and is a fraction of the cost of other fodder.

EnviroServ’s recycling team is also tackling food waste in the baking industry. Bakers usually discard the first batch of dough that runs through a machine when starting on a new recipe, and also throw away batches not suitable for use. Rather than sending this dough to landfills, EnviroServ collects it directly from bakeries. The dough is then treated with other organic waste stream ingredients and becomes a nutritional livestock feed.

Not only is the company passionate about sustainable waste management, it also prioritises social responsibility, becoming the country’s only waste company to claim Level 1 BBBEE certification in 2018.

In keeping with EnviroServ’s pioneering nature, innovation is a core value. “Even if there is not a solution for a specific waste stream now, new technologies mean that we are always on the lookout,” says Kruger.

To prove their commitment, the company has dedicated 30% of their workforce to focus on recycling and discovering alternative waste management efforts.

EnviroServe currently owns and manages 11 treatment and disposal facilities, all of which were designed by top civil engineers. Their facilities are designed to treat every kind of waste material in a way that is environmentally conscious and in accordance with legislative standards.

“We are focused on finding beneficial uses for every waste stream that we manage and create something of value, boosting the economy by creating jobs,” says Kruger.”

That old saying of we only have one Earth is so true. We cannot maintain life as human beings or the diversity of life on Earth or our ecosystems unless we embrace sustainability.

Andie Reeves | mg.co.za
Angus McIntosh

Angus McIntosh

“Angus McIntosh is one of two producers of grass-fed, pasture-reared beef in the Western Cape.

It was his time building clay homes that set him on this path and led to him becoming a biodynamic student, grass farmer and carbon sequestrator. He moved to Stellenbosch to farm in 2008.

McIntosh uses biodynamic, regenerative agricultural practices: sensitive pasture management focusing on short duration, high-density grazing. His butchery is nitrate-free – the only one able to make this claim in South Africa, and an impressive achievement among many firsts. His were the first burgers sold using 100% compostable packaging and, in 2013, Farmer Angus became the first in the world to sell carbon credits for increasing the carbon contents of his pastures.

He is working on removing all alien vegetation from the farm to convert into the fertiliser Biochar.

He believes his work is important because, according to the Indigo Global Wellness Index, South Africa is the unhealthiest country in the world, with significant pollution and degradation of the land.

McIntosh has gone as far as to ban the word “sustainability” on his farm, saying that we’ve gone past the point of being able to sustain anything: “Regeneration is what is required.””

“We have no choice but to heal the earth and, at the same time, feed ourselves with nutrient-dense food.”

Andile Mcoyi

Andile Mcoyi

“Andile Mcoyi runs an agribusiness that encourages people to be an active part of sustainable food production. Her love and passion for farming led to her starting a small, self-sustaining garden, and her harvest was so amazing that she took pictures of her produce and posted them on her WhatsApp status. In no time, people were asking to order her spinach, green peppers and onions.

After realising the great potential in farming and after identifying a gap in the market for women in the industry, Mcoyi decided to start farming full time, focusing on producing a variety of seedlings and growing different vegetables.

The Umthombo Farming Project offers packaged fruits, vegetables and poultry in a service called NutriBox, which delivers fresh goods to your door. Mcoyi caters to a wide range of customers, and encourages them to be healthy and sustainable in their consumption.

“I refer to food as medicine. It’s very important that we eat healthy and nutritious food, and grow our own produce — each household should have a garden,” she says.”

“I refer to food as medicine. It’s very important that we eat healthy and nutritious food and grow our own produce — each household should have a garden!”

Bronwyn Jones

Bronwyn Jones

“Food waste in landfills is one of the largest contributing factors to global warming, and Bronwyn Jones’ Bokashi Bran believes its composting system is the answer.

Jones grows her own vegetables and her garden has always had a compost heap. When she heard about bokashi, a composting method developed in Japan, “it seemed too good to be true that you could compost cooked food, meat products and dairy”.

After seeing the results in her garden and researching further, Jones made it her mission to introduce bokashi to South Africa.

Bokashi is a wheaten-bran that has been brewed with effective microorganisms that ferment food that would otherwise rot.

Bokashi Bran’s home kitchen solution is simple, consisting of an air-tight bucket for food waste and a bag of bokashi, a cup of which is sprinkled over food waste daily.

Jones is developing an on-site composting machine for commercial kitchens to handle large-scale food waste efficiently.”

“We have made such a mess of this planet. It’s not right that we continue to harm the environment with little regard for where things will end up. I feel that I can make a real difference by providing solutions to divert food waste from landfills.”

Azhar Vadi

Azhar Vadi

“When he was a journalist, Azhar Vadi was exposed to various conflict zones, natural disasters and human suffering, which inspired him to facilitate humanitarian aid projects in the regions he reported from. He co-founded Salaamedia, a humanitarian journalism portal, and the Salaam Foundation to carry out non-profit humanitarian work.

Through the Salaam Foundation, he established Farm in the City, a project that took a piece of barren land and turned it into a flourishing farm in the heart of Robertsham, Johannesburg, providing wholesome, healthy produce for those most in need. The onset of Covid-19 forced the Salaam Foundation to look towards sustainability in its efforts to help vulnerable communities out of poverty by providing food assistance.

“Everything in life is finite, especially financial resources. However, our desire to help is infinite. We want to assist others in a sustainable way, maximising limited resources to extract maximum benefit. We started the concept of Farm in the City, an urban garden, to help produce our own food source to benefit humanity.””

“Everything in life is finite, especially financial resources. However, our desire to help is infinite. We want to assist others in a sustainable way, maximising limited resources to extract maximum benefit.”