A passion for refuse is growing small business, saving the planet

The critical service of dealing with the country’s waste is big business: the local sector is valued at over R5bn and is deemed one the of most efficient on the continent.

Dealing with around 122 million tons of refuse per year, the environmental impact is also a major consideration. Especially when only 10% of that is estimated to be recycled with the majority ending up in landfill.

As a result, the ability to reduce the physical footprint in the refuse management process and the environmental footprint becomes intrinsically linked to the costs of processing it.

Enter the role of the compactor: an integral link in refuse management.

Key to heavy machinery in any material handling industry remains efficiency, reliability, and overall operating costs – factors that, combined, create bottom-line margin for business; and clean and healthy living conditions if they operate in the refuse management sector.

The Orakci refuse compactor delivers against all these objectives – and more. It also offers a local job creation benefit.

Distributed locally by 600SA, one of CFAO Equipment SA’s three business divisions specialising in premium industrial and material handling equipment for industries requiring lifting, loading and refuse management from prominent global manufacturers, the Orakci refuse compactor is manufactured and assembled locally at the 600SA plant in Johannesburg to meet South African chassis standards and road conditions.

“The robust, yet simple design of the Orakci is what makes it so attractive to businesses working in the refuse management space,” says Sonia Pretorius, National Sales Manager for 600SA. “Being locally manufactured, parts are readily available to reduce down time and access to national service centres to ensure compactors are processing refuse, not producing wasted revenue of their own.”

The Orakci tailgate is designed in and imported from Turkey in a kit form. Locally produced parts are prioritised and used where appropriate in the assembly process, where it takes a team of highly skilled technicians two weeks to build a unit.

“We have a phenomenal team of dedicated technicians tasked with assembling the compactors, maintaining them, and training customers,” says Pretorius. “Four of our 13 technicians have completed over 30 years of service, which is testament to their commitment, skills and professionalism.”

With three main service centres in Johannesburg, Pinetown in KwaZulu-Natal and Parow in Cape Town, customers are supported by aftermarket service with product technical expertise, workshops and customer support services. 600SA has a network of partner agencies countrywide, including hydraulics repair centres, while mobile service teams are also able to go out and assist customers in the field.

“We’re committed to keeping our compactors operational, running their businesses and processing refuse,” says Pretorius. “We have done so for more than 50 years, establishing vast experience and an understanding of the challenges facing the local sector, backed by buying expertise.”

While collection is critical, discharging waste at landfill sites is also a significant efficiency gain for Orakci products. The tailgate of the Orakci compactor is designed for speed and efficiency, taking less than a minute for the compactor to stop, lift the tailgate, and discharge the waste, ensuring quick turnaround times to resume the collection cycle.

“We see ourselves as our customers’ business partners, and we want to see their businesses succeed and grow,” says Pretorius. “We are in the business of selling businesses, not compactors. Whether it be large corporate customers with a substantial fleet, or a one-man SMME starting out with the purchase of one compactor, we walk the journey with them to ensure they succeed in building value for their business while contributing to the economy.”

“Working hand in hand with our customers, we understand their challenges and opportunities. Continuous training and annual refresher courses are Orakci’s investment towards those operators’ success,” says Pretorius.

Each Orakci compactor processes and compacts 10 tons of refuse per load. Compacted refuse decomposes faster, while obviously occupying less initial space in already congested landfill sites. This is the first practical environmental benefit above more traditional refuse vehicles. Decomposing waste is a natural gas generator, which can be harnessed to create energy and contribute towards sustainability. The sophisticated refuse industry really is cleaner than one might imagine.

Recycling is, of course, the obvious solution, but the country is not yet properly geared for this. Policy is not consistent across municipalities and active citizenry is not yet entrenched to enable the necessary separation of refuse before compactors collect it.

“A central and amazing opportunity for South Africans is the waste pickers,” says Pretorius. “They play a critical role in recycling refuse, creating opportunity out of the need to separate materials from general household refuse. Given more efficient tools to do their jobs, such as PPE and reflective gear, and the necessary training about recycling, and their impact could be far greater.”

A compactor capable of recycling waste as it collects it by splitting the unit into two parts is something the 600SA team is considering together with the design teams. A product that could collect and split out various tiers of waste would be far more sustainable but would require buy-in from both the public and private sectors.

CFAO Equipment SA and its three business divisions – 600SA, Toyota Material Handling and Heavy Lift – is playing its part to become more energy efficient in its daily operations. Development of a self-sufficient solar future is already underway, with solar energy already powering the Toyota Material Handling division. Solar is also being used to charge forklift batteries within the 600SA division and an on-site recycling shelter ensures all waste is split at source before it is collected.

Orakci compactors are primed to answer the needs of refuse management fleets, providing a sustainable and efficient basis to deal with the critical service.