Illegal dumping: how you can play your part

Illegal Dumping WID

It costs the City R350-million every year to clean up illegal dumping. Cleaning up illegally dumped waste is about 20 times more expensive than collecting it from individual wheelie bins, as specialised equipment, including front-end loaders, must be hired to remove the waste. That’s money that could be better used in beautifying and upgrading our shared, public spaces  –  rather than maintaining the status quo.

City-wide dumping still remains a major problem. All residents are issued with one bin; however, sometimes ratepayers are renting space to more people and fail to apply for another bin. 

Wind-blown litter and illegal dumping of uncollected waste are probably the most visible aspects of poor waste management within any community and one that unfortunately receives the least attention, particularly in newly developed communities. Of course, in Cape Town, this is heightened in the windy season from October to March, when the south-easterly blows.

If not controlled, waste becomes a major contributor to blocked stormwater drains and sewers, often the main cause of complaints within communities. Street cleaning is unfortunately an unrecoverable cost but a necessary component of the waste collection service that needs to be provided, and should be budgeted and planned for in any collection system.

“Although matters are improving, dumping remains a problem that we continue to address, “ says Gene Lohrentz, CEO of Geocentric, the management company of Woodstock Improvement District.

In Lohrentz’ experience, offenders seem to target cul-de-sacs, alleyways and areas close to and on the railway corridor. Private and public open land also ends up being used as impromptu dumping sites. He says the extent of the refuse being dumped ranges from just a few cardboard boxes and bags of household garbage to much larger quantities. 

“Our motto is to remove all illegal dumping as soon as possible to prevent it from becoming an “invitation” to others to dump litter at the same spot,” he says.

How to apply for a new wheelie bin from the City:

The registered property owner or property managing agent must download and complete the Supply of Services Application Form that can be downloaded here. Ensure that you fill in all the sections related to refuse removal. Submit your application with a certified copy of your ID at your nearest Walk-in Centre or email it to Tenants living in Council rental stock must visit the nearest housing office to apply for a new wheelie bin. Please remember to bring along your original ID.

How to replace a stolen or damaged bin:

If your bin has been stolen, you will need to report the theft of your bin at the nearest SAPS office to obtain an affidavit.

Send an email to with the following information:

  • Municipal account number
  • Residential address
  • Name and contact number
  • Copy of affidavit (if the bin was stolen)
  • If you are renting, include a letter of authority from the owner or managing agent.

You will be issued with a reference number and your new bin should be delivered within ten working days. The City will ensure that your waste is collected during the waiting period. If you are a tenant living in Council rental stock, visit your nearest housing office for further information on the replacement process.

On 6 January 2021 mayoral member for water and waste Xanthea Limberg said: “The City of Cape Town regrets to advise that we are currently experiencing delays in the maintenance of solid waste vehicles, which is causing delays in both formal refuse collections as well as area cleansing services.

“Every effort is being made to ensure that refuse is collected on the scheduled day. However, should this not be possible, residents should take their bins in at 9pm, and bring them out again the following morning at 6am.

“If not collected on the scheduled day, it will generally be collected the following day.

“In exceptional cases where even this is not possible due to various issues, residents should please bring their bins out every day until it is collected, including Saturdays and Sundays.

“Residents are also implored not to resort to illegal dumping if collection delays cause refuse to build up to the point where it cannot fit into the wheelie bins.

“Where possible, practise home composting and recycling. This will allow further space in the bin during this period.

“Refuse collection delays are not due to Covid-19 but rather due to the challenge with regard to vehicle availability.

“There are Covid-19 cases in the refuse collections and cleansing branches but the impact on services for this reason has been minimal.”

She said there were a number of suburbs across the city currently experiencing refuse collection delays.

“If there is a delay, refuse should please be taken out every subsequent day until the truck comes past. Bins in all areas will be emptied by each Sunday,” said Limberg.

Please report any faults and service requests using the following options:

Tips on how you can play your part in preventing illegal dumping:

  • Dispose of your waste only in bins and at approved drop-offs or landfill sites (Beach Road in Woodstock has well-managed recycling and refuse centres)
  • Buy additional waste bins if you need them
  • Make others aware of the importance of keeping our environment clean and litter-free
  • Fence off your property to prevent others from dumping on it
  • Look out for the big green waste bins placed in public places

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