2.3.2 Motives for Recycling
According to Fall (2015), in a study, Waste and Recycling Programs in Hancock and Houghton, Michigan, individuals participate in voluntary recycling programs mainly out of pride for their communities and out of concern for the environment. Communities are aware of some of the environmental challenges associated with some disposal based systems. For example, modern landfills were found to have the potential to produce negative social and environmental impacts, including the following: i) landfills produce hazardous leachate (liquid formed as waste breaks down and water filters through garbage), ii) despite the well-designed features like landfill liners, groundwater and/or surface water contamination can occur due to landfill liners leakages, iii) landfills release methane gas which contributes to global climate change which accounts for about 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions from humans activities iv) people prefer not to live near a waste disposal site because of the associated odor, noise, reduced property values and neighborhood disturbance.
It can be difficult, especially in many urban areas, to find suitable places to site new landfills or expand existing ones. In a study; ‘Bangkok Recycling Program: An Empirical Study of an Incentive-Based Recycling Program’, Sukholthaman (2012) pointed that municipalities have considered and implemented recycling programs for many reasons. For example, shrinking budget allocations for supporting municipal waste management programs and high recycling goals set by Governments were some of the reasons in favor of full blown commercial recycling. Oelofse &Strydom (2010) reported preliminary results of the research ‘The Trigger to recycling in developing countries in the absence of Command-and-Control’, which showed that in South Africa financial incentives are the main drivers for recycling from an industry point of view while environmental awareness supported by convenience is a factor influencing post-consumer household recycling behavior. However, one of the recommendations was to undertake a more detailed research in order to provide more insight into post-consumer recycling behavior in a developing country such as South Africa.
According to Simelane & Mohee (2012) many African cities recycling efforts are being promoted as one of the strategies to reduce waste. In most cases, these cities are characterized by inefficient collection, management, disposal of municipal solid waste (MSW) a situation attributed partly to budgetary pressures and inadequate resources.
2.3.3 Policies and Legislation
Various initiatives are being implored in different countries to promote solid waste recycling including legislative provision and policy instruments as incentives (Baeyens et al., 2004).
To date, in countries such as USA, Europe and Asia the state of recycling activities have been noticeably transformed following the introduction of policies and legislation promoting the industry. Some of the policy directives include the Extended Producer Responsibility Programmed (EPR), Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive, the End of Life Vehicle Directive, the WEEE Directive, subsidies, Pay-As-You-Throw, take-back obligations, deposit refund schemes (Philippsen, 2015; Priestley, 2011). In Europe, all vehicles have to be recycled according to law. For example, the European Community developed Directive 2000/53/EC, known also as the ELV Directive (EC, 2000) which aims to minimizes the environmental impact of ELVs through reuse, recycling, recovery and the EPR principles (Santini, 2012).
In Italy, vehicles produced are supposed to enter into mandatory recycling according to Directive 2000/53/EC, and its National enforcement D.lgs. 209/03. Germany also supports the idea of recycling for resource recovery through the Closed Substance Cycle and Waste Management Act of 1996. The legislation views returning the secondary raw materials contained in waste to recycled of resource as an important element of sustainable resource management (Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, Germany, 2010). In addition, many countries have introduced landfill tax to divert waste stream toward recycling and incineration. Yang and Innes (2007) reach the same conclusion for common household materials in Taiwan where recycling activities are regulated through the 4-in-1 Recycling Program.
In developing countries a different scenario prevails regarding policing and legislation for recycling. In a study to assess the impact of Extended producer responsibility (EPR) for packaging waste in South Africa Nahman (2009) pointed out that developing countries have been far slower in implementing EPR policies to promote recycling. A number of factors were found attributing to this. Some of these are lack of funding to finance recycling or even adequate waste management, lack of safe and efficient infrastructure for recycling or appropriate waste management and lack of awareness among consumers and collectors of the environmental and health impacts associated with inappropriate waste handling and disposal, and of the benefits of recycling.
Despite the fact, some countries like South Africa and Botswana have tried it. South Africa introduced these policies back in 2003, where the government was involved together with private companies in steel, glass and plastic business with less positive results produced. Mandatory, government-imposed plastic bag levy was not effective in stimulating recovery in South Africa. As a result, efforts to recycle these materials are still a long way. In Botswana, however, the situation was different as the introduction of plastic levy contributed to a reduction in littering (Bolaane, 2004). However, more still needs to be done, especially in terms of regulation and in promoting household recycling. The public needs to be made aware of the numerous initiatives already being undertaken, for example the e-waste and battery recycling collection points.
2.3.4 Benefits of Recycling
Benefits of recycling have been explored and highlighted through many scholarly works. A number of researches agree that recycling has some benefits, environmental, social and economic (Chanda, 2014; Abdul-Rahman, 2014; Mosia, 2014; Muzenda, 2013; Nahman, 2009; Harris et al. 2009). However, recycling has also been criticized for having disadvantages as well.
In both developed and developing countries, recycling is a means of job creation according to Sakala & Moyo, 2017; Scriba, 2015; Mosia, 2014; Muzenda, 2013; Botes, 2012; Ezeah et al., 2013; Fakir, 2009). In South Africa, Nigeria, Zambia and Mozambique recycling industry employs a numbers of people. Scriba (2015), studying the Recycling industry in Europe, reported that the industry employs about 30 000 people while Botes, (2012) stated that the industry in South Africa employs around 15 000 people in the formal sector. According to Muzenda (2013) studying the recycling situation in South Africa, processing of recyclables is a labor intensive exercise that creates more jobs requiring various skills and education background than waste collection and disposal. As a result of this, recycling jobs are fast growing as waste will continuously be generated and also increase in population growth. Sakala & Moyo (2017) also reported the same on a research to determine the contribution of solid waste recycling companies to the job market in Zambia.
In a Paper on “Waste Recycling in Developing Countries in Africa: Barriers To Improving Reclamation”, Liebenberg (2011) revealed that, in the developing world reclamation of recyclable waste products from the municipal waste stream has become an important source of income for many people who cannot find formal employment and it is their only source of income.
Besides employment creation, recycling is a source of raw materials for manufacturing industries such as automobile, electronic and steel. Through recycling, rare and expensive materials can be recovered (Muzenda, 2013). For example, a variety of rare earth metals such as platinum, gold and copper are recovered despite the presence of some hazardous metals such as mercury and lead (Abdelshafie, 2014 ; Yamoah, 2014). Mosia, 2014 noted that recycling is good for the South African economy as it decreases the necessity to import raw materials.
Besides, economic benefits, recycling makes environmental sense. Fall (2015) highlighted recycling and waste management as major contributors to environmental benefits. Some of the benefits cited include reducing the amount of energy required to extract and process raw materials hence reducing pollution associated with landfill and carbon emissions that contribute to global climate change and encouraging the development of systems and technology for using resources efficiently. According to Mosia (2014) less energy is used when recycled materials are included in the manufacturing process. This is also supported by International Aluminum Institute; European Aluminum Association (2009), the energy needed to melt aluminum scrap is only a fraction of that required for primary aluminum production. On the other hand, recycling waste is known to save three times more as much energy as what is produced by burning it and to generate new energy with plastic recycling saves five times as much.
Recycling also saves valuable landfill space, land that must be set aside for dumping trash, construction debris, and yard waste untreated garbage of the kind discarded by homes and small businesses. The land space savings at the landfills enables an extension of the life span of the landfills, as well as an obvious saving in operational costs (Liebenberg, 2011). Japan’s drive to promote recycling is partly due to land scarcity, for instance for waste disposal.
A study on e-waste issues in Ghana carried by Yamoah (2014) found that the activities of the industry were impacting negatively on the environment, a situation demanding urgent attention. For example, hazardous chemicals like copper, lead, tin, antimony, cadmium, etc that are released in the course of open burning of WEEE have already been found in toxic quantities beyond the background levels in soils at e-waste recycling yards claimed Yamoah (2014). As highlighted at the beginning of this section, this is one of many examples of why recycling has been criticized as a disadvantages.
According to Guamba ; Tembe (2016) the industry has some social benefits as well since waste picking work provides opportunities for social integration of people who have always been marginalized. Global recovery of recyclables has been observed to be a source of livelihood for thousands of people particularly in developing countries. Botes, (2012) pointed out that the recycling industry in SA as a whole, employs approximately 440 000 people in the informal sector. At the same time Ezeah et al., (2013) suggested that recycling provides employment and a livelihood for impoverished, marginalized and vulnerable social groups that survive in a very hostile social and physical environment. The same idea is supported also by Manhart (2011) studying informal e-waste management in Lagos, Nigeria that the 1s stage of recycling does not require specific skills, hence it is open to poor migrants from rural areas.
E-waste recycling is emerging as a lucrative business in Africa (Oteng-Ababio, 2012; Benedicta, 2012). In a study on e-waste recycling in Ghana, it was found that the industry was mainly done by the informal sector but there are no specific laws for e-waste recycling in Ghana. Activities of the formal sector are still limited due to lack of safe e-waste recycling infrastructure and regulations. Thus the informal sector dominates the industry. The collectors are mostly youthful employing rudimentary tools in the dismantling processes despite the hazards nature of e-waste. A similar situation was observed by Hecker (2012) who noted that India’s e-waste recycling industry was dominated by the informal sector as well, where tens of thousands of people are estimated to make their living from its recovery. Thus, the practice of collection and separation of recyclables is prevalent as a survival strategy for the unemployed, the marginalized and homeless members of society.
2.3.5 Recycling value addition processes
The subject of value addition has been a field which has attracted research from academics for some time in Africa.
According to Ochieng (2010)’s study ‘Effect of value addition on price: a hedonic analysis of peanut in retail supermarkets in Nairobi, Kenya value addition was found to have effects on the final price of goods. The study established eight different levels of value addition for peanuts, and prices differed significantly across the various levels of value addition as shown on retail outlets in Nairobi Kenya. Venkatesh (2010) also noted the same in a study on coffee value addition process, with the aim of developing small coffee producers in Karnataka, that coffee beans go through different processes before it reaches the hands of a consumer. In another study on economic value chain analysis study of Namibian diamonds was carried by Palander, (2015). The study found out that the Namibian diamond value chain is divided into four stages of processing: (1) rough diamond mining, (2) sorting, valuating and trading of rough diamonds, (3) cutting and polishing of rough diamonds, and (4) jewellery manufacturing and retail.
In a report on global value chains and Africa’s industrialization, African Development Bank (2014), findings revealed that little value addition was carried is out in Namibia with regards to agriculture products despite the favorable environment e.g. reliable infrastructure, modern transport and communication infrastructure, easy access to a range of South Africa’s expertise, research and development, advanced technology, and its strategic geographical location connecting it with southern African countries, Europe and the Americas through the Walvis Bay Corridors. However, some problems were identified that need to be addressed in order to enhance Namibia’s competitive advantage: 1). the country is facing skills shortages across all sectors of the economy, especially middle-level skills, 2) the business environment in Namibia is also relatively less attractive than that of neighbouring countries e.g. a wide range of policy, legal, regulatory and institutional weaknesses places the country at a competitive disadvantage compared to South Africa and Botswana, for example key weakness areas include excessive bureaucracy, regulatory bottlenecks and a weak PPP framework as revealed by the report.
Most researchers agree that most of Africa’s recyclable material is mainly prepared for export markets. Value addition processes were observed to be limited mainly to collection. For example, Carbon Africa Limited (2014) found out that in Mozambique, most of the material products end up in SA and Asia. In addition, the added value of the activity is weak in that there is little local processing of recyclable materials into finished products. In another study focusing on, waste collection by waste pickers in Maputo municipality, Mozambique: Ribeiro (2015) noted that waste collection was hampered by lack of local industries that transformed recyclable materials into recycled products. The same findings are revealed in a study on management of PET plastic waste through recycling in Khartoum Sudan done earlier by Fadlalla (2010). Plastics processing simply involved grinding, cleaning and baling before export despite the fact that the collected plastics can be processed into raw materials. In another study, focusing on scrap metal recycling, Saremo (2015) found out that little recycling of scrap metal was taking place in Bulawayo Zimbabwe due to limited technical capacity resulting in simply dumping of most of the material posing a threat to the environment and humans.
In order to tackle some of the country’s developmental challenges of unemployment, inequality and poverty, Mugano, (2016)’s study “The New Growth Path” concluded that one way out of poverty rests on the idea of value addition, a concept still limited in most African countries. No studies on value addition in the recycling industry in Namibia, have so far been done, and thus an area for study.
2.3.6 Challenges of Recycling
Participation in recycling has been studied in different parts of the world and a number of factors were found to be affecting recycling activities by different stakeholders among them are behavior, attitudes, perceptions and awareness. According to Stern (2000) recycling behavior is a function of internal and external factors which include education levels, gender, infrastructure availability etc. To support this, Siddique et al., (2010), suggested public education and information campaigns as effective approaches to change behavior, attitudes, perceptions and increase awareness, hence promoting recycling.
Ali 2008; Riedik, 2009 & Anderson et al., 2013 revealed that although governments promoted recycling programs through various campaigns, little was achieved due to the lack of participation and lukewarm attitudes of households. In Botswana, a study conducted by Bolaane (2004), revealed that the major constraints to organized recycling were low public awareness about recycling initiatives and lack of support from governing authorities despite the potential value of waste. There remain barriers to consumers’ commitment to fully support action required for recycling in the absence of appropriate incentives and structures to deal with people’s apathy and ignorance. Kotze (2015) studying perceptions and attitudes of women towards recycling in South Africa found that women were ignorant and lacked knowledge to implement effective recycling practices.
In Kampala, Uganda, Banga (2011) investigated households ‘knowledge, attitudes and practices on the separation and recycling of solid waste. Findings revealed that, although the public is aware of solid waste separation and recycling practices it has not participated in such initiatives due to low level of awareness of recycling activities in the area. Increasing accessibility to recycling facilities and an introduction of incentives were cited as motivating factor for promoting more recycling in Uganda, according to survey results, a situation not different from other studies done elsewhere.
Anderson et al., (2013) examining the effect of race, socio-economic status and demographic factors on recycling by urban South African households and found out that socio-economic status: household income, educational level and gender; and contextual factors do influence perceptions and attitudes on recycling and littering as a problem. For example, it was found that the respondents with higher level of education recycled more than the less educated.