I’m so glad to see these days that nobody has any reason to dump illegally. Poorly managed municipal sites have been replaced by well managed ‘recycling depots’ which are so much more accessible and user friendly.

When I started my garden maintenance business 14 years ago there was no easy way to get rid of your garden waste properly. Ok there was a municipal dump here and there but they were run so badly that people were almost forced to drive to an open piece of land to dump their waste, anything from builders rubble to black bags of garden waste.
Thankfully these days the story is a very different one and I would love to meet the person who finally decided enough was enough and outsourced waste management in Cape Town. Whoever it was obviously understood that the way things were going it was a ticking time bomb.
The depots have been opened and enlarged to accommodate all types of waste that can be recycled and later reused.

I frequent the Hout Bay depot almost every working day and if you want to see how a dump site should be run this is probably the best in Cape Town. I’ve visited eight in the Cape region and it is so different from the previous tiny over crowded dump area that is now Hout bay police station. I used to see people bribing the council worker to let them dump for R10 so that they didn’t have to go to the poky office in the Harbour before 1:35pm to purchase a dump ticket, of which you were allowed only one per person per day, for R10.50! I still want to know what the 50cents was really for!

Today I, as the owner of a gardening company, can do up to 3 loads of garden cuttings, which includes anything from logs to bags of grass cuttings, a day or one load of builders rubble and its all for free! If you have any old planks they will take it as well but it gets stacked in a separate pile. I’ve been told the reason for this is that the chemicals they used in treating the wood is no good for making compost. A permanent industrial chipper processes all the green waste which is then taken away to a farm to be turned into compost. The removal company gets paid by the ton of waste removed.

What particularly impresses me about the Hout Bay depot is that it is clean at all times, as clean as a dump site can be, it has a large, well maintained, colourful garden – hell its even got a working pond with a pump and gold fish! The foreman tells me that 95% of what is in that garden is recycled waste and the remaining 5% is bought by all the workers on site with their own money! If that is not pride in your work place then I don’t know what is. They have old rowing boats filled with recycled soil and plants. All the irrigation is from site to keep all the garden areas green and flowering.

It’s so great to see a work force so proud of turning a dump site into a pride of joy. The depot employes are happy in their work, they’re friendly and chatty and only too glad to take what you don’t want. Its people like this that give me so much hope for this country and its future.

If you’re ever in Hout Bay, or if you need to get rid of your garden waste, go give them a visit and see the unbelievable work they have done. The hand painted logo as you enter is ‘Hout Bay cares’, and they obviously do.