“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.