Sat. Sep 26th, 2020

Lockdown: Waste reduced by over 50% in Cape Town CBD

Cleaners from the CCID collected 35.5 tonnes of waste in April, which is a lot less than what was collected around the same time last year.

lockdown waste reduced by over 50 in cape town cbd - Lockdown: Waste reduced by over 50% in Cape Town CBD

The rate of waste has decreased in the Cape Town CBD under the lockdown. According to the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID), cleaners collected 44.5 tonnes of waste in March 2020 and 35.5 tonnes of waste in April, which is significantly lower than what is usually collected.  


This is a clear drop from an average of 72 tonnes of waste that was collected every month in 2019. This translates to a 50.7% reduction in waste in the CBD.

“While this is a drop from the average 72 tonnes per month the CCID picked up in the CBD in 2019, it is still a surprising amount of waste for a CBD shut down by measures to stem the tide of a global pandemic,” the CCID said. 

The CCID offers a top-up cleaning service in the CBD, in addition to that provided by its partner, the City of Cape Town. In 2019, the CCID spent R30 000 per day to clean the CBD, amounting to an annual spend of R11 million. This is in addition to the standard removal of waste (which includes litter as well as organic matter such as leaves, twigs and soil) by the City of Cape Town. 

Cigarette-butt litter, collected from the CCID’s 300 cigarette-butt bins, usually amounts to over 1 000 kg per year. Last year, the CCID collected 1 763 kg of cigarette butts from the CBD. 

“Cigarette-butt litter during lockdown has been minimal as the footfall of people entering and leaving the city centre has been very low,” it said. 

a2c4009f screenshot 2020 05 27 at 10.52.03 - Lockdown: Waste reduced by over 50% in Cape Town CBD


Assistant Manager of CCID Urban Management Kally Benito said the CCID’s cleaning teams, contracted via J&M Cleaning Services and NGO Straatwerk, have had to be agile in adjusting to the new circumstances presented by COVID-19. 

“Level 5 and 4 restrictions have given the department the ‘rare opportunity’ to focus on deep cleaning and sanitising specific zones and attending to much-needed maintenance projects,” said Benito. 

“As we slowly step into lower levels of lockdown, we will still need to ramp up our current levels of de-sanitising the streets to keep the public safe,” said Benito. 

As essential workers, the street cleaning teams were re-educated on hygiene and sterilisation protocols. The issuing of personal protection equipment (PPE) before each shift, regular hand-washing breaks, and decontamination steps before and after each shift are mandatory for every employee. 

“When the CBD returns to full functionality again, keeping the busy streets of downtown Cape Town at a higher hygiene standard can help build trust from global markets,” added Benito. 

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