The improper disposal of waste is one of the fastest growing risks to our planet and way of life. Rotting food leads to increases in methane gases as the food decomposes in land­ fills. To address this, the City of Cape Town plans to start banning wet waste from its land­ fills from 2022.

The Waste Transformers from the Netherlands and South Africa’s own JSE-listed international property company Growthpoint Properties have united to help take on this challenge. They are leveraging end-of-pipeline food waste from shopping malls and adopting a de-centralised approach to organic waste.

An on-site, anaerobic digester has been installed at Growthpoint’s N1 City Mall in Cape Town, which is processing the waste from the mall to generate clean methane. This methane is consumed by an internal combustion engine to produce green electricity and hot water for the shopping centre. A fertiliser is also created, which will be used for the mall’s gardens.

It is an on-site, smart, green, transportation-free approach to realising zero-land­ fill that makes sense.

Gavin Jones, Growthpoint Properties Regional Retail Asset Manager, Western Cape, says, “Shopping centres can be big food waste generators, especially those with a signi­ficant selection of restaurants and grocery shops. This makes them excellent locations for waste-to-energy conversion. N1 City Mall is proud to lead this initiative for its environmentally conscious retailers and customers.”

Nardo Snyman of Growthpoint Properties says, “Organic waste is one of the last barriers to truly achieving Net Zero waste at a number of our properties. With rising levels of pollution in our country and our oceans, it is no longer a case of best practice to re-purpose our waste but rather a necessity.

We are excited about this initiative as it is aligned with our commitment to environmental responsibility and economic empowerment. The containerised, small-scale, on-site approach to transforming waste into energy holds great potential. This pilot project will focus on positive impacts and ­ financial feasibility and, if successful, we would look to roll it out to other Growthpoint Properties by 2022.”

Lara van Druten, CEO of The Waste Transformers, comments, “This project demonstrates how companies can cooperate in a mutually inclusive way that generates energy for positive economic and social change.

We are excited about the opportunity to transform an unused resource – waste – into new energy for South Africa. And, we are truly delighted to embark on this journey with a company of the stature of Growthpoint.”

The Waste Transformers is a waste solution provider specialised in converting organic waste streams into energy while simultaneously transforming waste into new products. The Waste Transformers specialise in a smart, high-impact approach to resource recovery and energy production that aims to power South Africa’s growth with good, green energy, generated locally, while simultaneously recovering assets from waste.

Growthpoint is a leading international property company that provides space to thrive with innovative and sustainable property solutions. It is the largest South African primary listed real estate investment trust (REIT) and invests on three continents.

It is included in the FTSE/JSE Top 40 Index, a constituent of the FTSE4Good Emerging Index and the FTSE/ JSE Responsible Investment Index. The importance of “going green” is also becoming more important for homeowners. The recent drought, reintroduction of load shedding by Eskom and rapidly escalating costs of electricity and water have made energy- and resource-efficient homes increasingly appealing to home buyers, says Pam Golding Properties.

In a recent survey conducted among their real estate agents, 70% of respondents estimated that homes with ‘green’ features such as solar, grey water systems, rain water collection tanks, boreholes and waterwise gardens may command a price premium of approximately 5 to 10% above similar ‘non-green’ homes.

The participating agents also said they are experiencing heightened interest from buyers in the green properties of a home.

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