We’re celebrating Earth Day on 22 April and we have to look after the one we’ve got. Afterall … there’s no Planet B. You’re probably already recycling, but we thought it would be a good idea to get back to basics and give you the lowdown on how to reduce your waste footprint, reuse what you already have and recycle what you can.
Did you know that 90% of an estimated 59 million tonnes of general waste produced in South Africa in 2011 ended up in landfills, while only 10% was recycled? We’ve come a long way since then and recently South Africa overtook the European recycling rate. But even though we’re ahead of the curve in terms of stats, it doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods yet. There’s so much more to be done. So scroll down and learn more about how you can make this planet of ours greener for generations to come.
How can I reduce?
- Try avoiding disposable products (razors, cameras, paper plates).
- Grab a refillable coffee cup for your morning coffee run. Some coffee shops give you a discount when you bring your own reusable packaging. That’s saving smart!
- Wherever possible, take your own reusable bags and buy fruit and veg loose from the store.
- Take your own bags when you go shopping. All the major stores have plastic-free options available at the tills these days.
- Buy bulk refills of deodorants and hand soaps. This way you won’t be throwing away a big plastic container everytime you run out.
What can I reuse?
The possibilities are endless if you let your imagination go. We’ve seen vertical gardens made from plastic bottles, greenhouses made from recycled windows, jars used as decorative vases, recycled as gift wrapping and many more. And if you can’t find a use for the items you no longer need, you can donate them to charity shops, shelters or hospitals.
- store food in reusable containers
- reuse gift wrapping and ribbons
- cut up used papers and use the back as a notepad
- almost anything can be turned into a veggie or herb garden if you use your imagination
- your new black bsmart card is on its way, so get creative and find ways to reuse your old green bsmart card
- use all single-use plastics that cannot be recycled and start building EcoBricks
Ready to recycle?
- White office paper
- Magazines and books
- Drink and beer cans
- Food tins
- Metal lids of glass jars
- Aluminium foil and foil packaging
- Paint tins and aerosol cans (leave labels on them so recyclers can see whether they contain hazardous material)
- Beverage bottles
- Food jars
Before you add plastics to your recycling bin it’s best to get acquainted with the following acronyms:
The easiest way to determine whether a plastic product is recyclable is by looking at its recycling logo. These logos will tell you what type of plastic a container is made of. Each group should be recycled separately.
How to get started …
Set up 3 bins. You don’t have to go buy a fancy set, just use old cardboard boxes and colour code them for the different types of waste.
- an ‘organic’ bin for the compost heap
- a ‘dry’ recyclables bin (cans, plastic, glass bottles, plastic wrap, paper and egg boxes)
- a bin for non-recyclable waste (try using what you can in your EcoBrick first)
Are you already a recycling rockstar? We’d love to hear how you tackle this hot topic in your household! And if you’re just starting out, we’d love to know what tips and tricks you’ve picked up along the way. While you’re on a green streak read our blog on joining the war against plastic or how you could change the world. We share tips and tricks like this so that our members can spend smart, save smart and live smart.