The Buffelsdraai landfill management is a large-scale project to improve waste management practices in Durban. The project as whole aims to alleviate poverty in the surrounding disadvantaged neighbourhoods, to generate renewable energy, and to reduce GHG emissions.
The City’s goal is to be the most livable city in Africa by 2030, and the Buffelsdraai landfill footprint and buffer management is contributing towards that goal. The project contributes to social and economic goals and to the city's renewable energy program.
During the site’s establishment, many public meetings were held over a 1-year period, once a month, to explain the process and to build the relationship between the city and the local community. The community fully participated in the Environmental Impact Assessment process.
By extracting the gas and reducing the GHG potential of methane, the City is expected to reduce 10 million tons of CO2 equivalent over the life span of the landfill, nearly 50 years.
As per the environmental activities, in only 5 years, the city and the community have managed to plant 723,000 trees (up to around 750,000 trees through natural regeneration and natural transport of seeds via wind and birds). This aspect of the project is expected to save another 55,000 tons and growing of CO2 per year.
The methane gas captured will be sufficient to produce the equivalent of 10-12 MWh of electricity. The gas capture will commence at 2 MWh and increasing to full capacity over 10 years: the facility will be in operation for the next 30 years.
The co-benefits of the project include stronger community engagement and social capital (as the surrounding community is earning a living and improving their economic situation), environmental benefits (through the reintroduction of coastal forests which would otherwise be under threat from farming, specifically sugar cane cultivation), and economic development (through energy use and sale, and local contracts).
The project has already been replicated in Durban's own landfills. The project first started at the Mariannhill Landfill and has since spread to the Bufflesdraai Landfill. It is now also being implemented at Lovu landfill. When Mariannhill landfill closes around 2020, the new landfill at Shongweni will also be run in this manner.