Susanne Dittke Cape Town December 21, 2007

Dear List Member of FSB

Our South African parastatal energy provider ESKOM has recently embarked on a Demand Side Management programme for both households and businesses to fight the increasing amount of power failures all over the country due to severe energy generation capacity problems. In response, in 2006 the company handed out 5.5 million energy saving CFL's in the Western Cape province alone mostly to poor and medium income households via a free give-away through local retailers. Now, only one year later, some of these CFLs imported from Asia have already started to fail. In response, both the Provincial Government and the City of Cape Town Municipality held various brainstorming workshops with Eskom and other key stakeholders (including manufacturers) to jointly find a solution to the potential mercury waste problem we face now. In response and to fulfill their corporate social responsibility, Eskom recently appointed a team of consultants (including myself) to conduct a study to propose how to remove CFLs from the general household waste stream to a hazardous landfill site for safe disposal (immediate focus). Based on the resulting feasibility study findings and sustainability focus the consultant team will then look at the diversion and complete closed loop cycling and material reclamation options (long term focus). The main goal of these investigations is to develop a pilot project for the responsible disposal of CFLs in the Western Cape for roll out to the rest of South Africa, and to compile an associated recycling plant/facilities and material reclamation strategy.

I would appreciate any information on international best practice with regard to :

1) how to divert CFL's from general household waste
2) treatment and recycling options of CFLs
3) different collection and finance models for CFL recovery
4) successful public educational programmes to drive those initiatives.

Since this study will have to adivse on strategies that work for the entire Western Cape province a range of different take-back and collection strategies need to be developed in response to both rural and urban communities cross-cutting from high income to low income households. Thank you very much for any support you could give me with your expertise to develop a viable CFL strategy for the Western Cape and ultimately South Africa.


Susanne Dittke
Integrated Resource and Waste Management Specialist
EnviroSense CC
61 Peninsula Road
Zeekoevlei 7945