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green on the local scene

Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2008-05-08 09:47

There’s a lot that’s happening on the green local scene that is incredibly positive and emphasises just how South Africans are quick to ‘catch on’ when it comes to greening their businesses and their lifestyles.

Craig Jacobs’ Fundudzi Free range clothing label – the range with a “clear moral conscience, committed to sustainability and social activism” is a range of clothing made from organic fabrics like bamboo, soy and corn. Whilst many of you may have heard of the Fundudzi range – we’ve blogged about it before – you can now buy Fundudzi online at adam and eve! All of Craig’s clothes are created and produced locally.

Woolies wins international responsible retailer of the year. Go on then, shoot me, but I am super impressed with Woolworths - corporate retailer though they might be - for setting international standards. Woolworths received recognition in Barcelona last month for its commitment to responsible business practices in their good business journey, beating the likes of Sainsbury’s and Tesco. Last year’s winner was Marks and Spencer. Their good business journey is aimed at sustainable growth that includes accelerating transformation, driving social development, enhancing the environmental focus and addressing climate change. [nextcustomer] [woollies good business journey]

Eat smart organics – first certified organic kitchen in the country. Eat smart organics - an all women, majority black shareholding company prepares and packages home-cooked organic meals – available at a selected Checkers stores, Wellness Warehouse, and certain health stores in the western cape. Not only has the team come up with a totally unique concept, but their kitchen and their meals are certified organic. The team source all of their produce locally and use seasonal vegetables. They’ve literally ‘made a meal of it’ and their signature ‘smart stack’ meals not only set organic standards, but the business also has a very big heart – they provide their nutritious meals to autistic children at two or three facilities in the Cape. [cape times]

Vital going green. Vital health foods is doing its bit at going green, focussing on using resources more economically and allowing minimal wastage. Their focus has already saved them 20 000 litres of water a month by recycling water in the manufacturing process. They use heat generated from their air compressors to heat their water systems – the first company in the Western Cape to buy the machine that enables this - and they have installed another system that reduces the amount of electricity their factory uses. They’re also seriously investigating getting all of their products into recyclable packaging. [vital is going green]

recycling: some success with pilot

Submitted by turbosprout on Tue, 2008-02-19 15:36

I managed to speak with Barry Coetzee, from the Cape Town City Council last week and found out more about the progress of the pilot recycling collection scheme.

Helderberg (Strand North, Gordons Bay, parts of Somerset West)
The tender was awarded to Hlumani Wasteman who collected both disposable and recyclable waste for four months, then backed out of the contract as they "could not deliver the service". From other sources I've read this was "because the original tender price submitted and awarded some years ago was based on figures that turned out in practice later to be uneconomical."

Southern Suburbs (Hout Bay, Glencairn, Fish Hoek, Kommetjie).
The tender was awarded to Millenium Waste who ran the scheme for a few months, before it collapsed, apparently due to an "error in calculation".

Delft and Mfuleni and Brown's Farm and Philippi.
Barry Coetzee conceded that these low income areas are "not necessarily participating" in the project, but added

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cape town recycling in crisis

Submitted by turbosprout on Thu, 2008-02-14 15:29

The pilot kerbside recycling collection project launched in September last year appears to be in crisis. Of the five areas initially targetted only three are still running. And only one of these - the Atlantic West Coast & Pinelands - seems to be running well.

According to yesterday's report in the Cape Times Barry Coetzee, Manager: Integrated Waste Management at the Cape Town City Council, blamed the problems on "financial difficulties" because of poor business planning and under-tendering.

Footprints recycling centre overloadedFootprints recycling centre overloadedThere is a great demand by residents of Cape Town to recycle, but a feasible, city-wide collection scheme is yet to emerge. Residents living in areas where free recycling collection is not available are even paying private enterprises a fee to collect their recycling and take it to community drop off centres.

Abundance Recycling provide a collection service to 800 households (saving 20 tons of waste from landfill monthly), but have had to suspend their service as the Footprints Environment Centre, a small community initiative, cannot handle the volumes and the City Council provides no alternatives for this area of Cape Town.

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rubbish – a burning issue

Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2008-01-21 13:46

Naples is clearly the site of garbage overload. With its landfill sites full to overflowing, the army has been called in to help clear the mess on the streets. With nowhere to put it, local Italians have begun burning their own rubbish and the fire brigade has been struggling to put out fires as a result. [bbc world]

But you don’t have to look far to see that this scenario isn’t that far off for South Africans. Our mounting rubbish problem, and lack of landfill in which to put it, is fast growing into a serious issue.

A recent meeting in Pretoria, called by the department of environmental affairs, discussed a proposal to incinerate hazardous waste – broadly classified as waste that is harmful to human health or the environment that includes plastics, paint, pesticides, used oil and tyres – as fuel for the kilns of cement factories.

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getting in touch with your trash

Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2008-01-07 11:38

We get a number of emails a week asking us to pick up recycling for various businesses or individuals who are becoming more aware of their effects on the environment, and want to adopt greener lifestyles.

Whilst we’re not officially in the business of picking up other people’s rubbish, we’re heartened by the number of queries we get. For those of you who want to know more about getting your rubbish sorted, refer to our ubergreen directory, where the major centres of Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban have lists of places where you can drop off your recycling, and various businesses that will come and collect it for you.

We’ve been debating the issues of attempting a ‘zero-waste’ month – a month of no throwing away; a month in which we leave any wrappings that we might accumulate

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smart living

Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2007-12-12 13:30

The city of Cape Town has published a SMART living handbook as part of the city’s campaign to save water, cut power consumption, reduce and recycle waste, and save the earth. We think it’s great that Cape Town is putting its money where its mouth is, and actively promoting environmentally-friendly lifestyles!

At the moment, the city has only distributed copies of the handbook to their employees, but read further for an electronic copy of your own. Those employees who make the biggest energy and water savings will win prizes in the form of solar water heaters, grey water systems and worm bins.

The publication covers four major areas...

the cardboard house and diy water recycler

Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2007-11-08 11:32

There are some amazing design concepts out there if you know where to look that fulfil some radically yawning gaps in the market and put most of us to shame for their ability to position lateral thinking right at the fore of going green. Best of all, they’re not expensive.

Two such designs are very different but I’ve stumbled on both of them at the same time, so thought I’d bring them to your attention in the same blog, even though they’re not essentially related – other than making green more accessible.

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greening it up – mon 01 oct 07

Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2007-10-01 11:00

Plumbing the depths to stop global warming. Global warming can be halted by plumbing a gigantic array of pipes into the depths of the oceans, according to James Lovelock, the originator of the Gaia theory, and Chris Rapley, director of the Science Museum. [timesonline]

Waste glass recovery up by 24%. The Glass Recycling Company, a non profit organisation, has grown levels of waste glass recovery in SA by 24% in its first year of operation. The benefits of using recycled glass include electricity savings, emissions reduction and a lower dependence on finite raw materials used in the manufacture of glass (silica, limestone and soda ash). [engineering news]

SA takes rubbish underground in its ‘love Gauteng keep it clean’ campaign. 23 giant bins, holding five tons of waste each, are being introduced in Johannesburg and Alexandra...

how are we doing with this recycling business?

Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2007-09-25 12:20

Just how well are the two major cities of Cape Town and Johannesburg doing in the bid to recycle? The City of Cape Town has been running the start of a recycling programme now for a month, using five areas chosen as a mix of affluent and poor areas. [urban sprout] Residents are given both black and clear bags, with the intention of placing wet refuse in the black and dry in the clear. The clear bags are then collected and taken to recycling depots. In just one month, according to a city councillor, waste going to landfills has been reduced by 50%.

20% of us produce 80% of the waste
Both Cape Town and Johannesburg have indicated that there is a definite pattern of waste. Recyclables make up 30% of the waste in low-income areas, 50% of middle, and 70% in high-income areas. So the next time you point fingers at plastic bags that ubiquitously line fences on the highway, point it back at yourself, because chances are we’re responsible for most of what’s choking landfill. If you’re not on the city’s route for the new programme, you can still get involved by separating your waste and arranging to drop it off at either Oasis recycling in Claremont or Footprints in Wynberg. Conversely, both Abundance Recycling and Kool Waste Management will fetch your recycling from your home, at a nominal cost to you, and deliver it to Oasis on a weekly basis. And Jo'burg?

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the great bin walk

Submitted by sproutingforth on Sat, 2007-08-11 19:29

If you happen to pass two Capetonians pushing a wheelie bin en route along the Cape peninsula, they’re not one of the many destitute; they are in fact braving the wind and rain to raise awareness about the waste issues in Cape Town – their mantra: reduce, re-use or recycle our rubbish.

Ray Chaplin, for whom this is not the first mission to raise awareness – he also rode across South Africa for 41 days in support of BEN (Bicycling Empowerment Network) – and his friend, Mary Murphy, also an environmentalist from Full cycle, pushed their bin from the city bowl to Hout Bay on Thursday, continued on to Noordhoek yesterday, and today trekked further to Constantia...

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