Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle. These three R’s are of so much importance to our planet. Far rather our children and grandchildren run through piles of leaves than through piles of discarded rubbish. Our government wants to reduce the amount of plastic, cans, paper and glass going to landfills by 70 percent in the next decade or so. To meet that target, households need to stop simply throwing away rubbish and start implementing the three Rs.
There are definite advantages for the household too: by separating out the food waste from the recyclables there is a much smaller proportion of waste in a smelly dustbin. Fruit and veg and garden waste are ideal components in a compost heap – if you don’t have the garden space for this, consider a worm garden!
Recycling for your average suburban household in South Africa is a little more trouble: the infrastructure for collecting recyclable material isn’t really in place – yet. Households generally have to separate their rubbish and take the recyclables to a municipal drop-off centre or a buy-back centre. Many people just can’t be bothered but there are more and more households, complex dwellers and hospitality establishments* who are doing their bit for the planet.
*Stonecutters Lodge Recycling Programme:
Stonecutters Lodge between Dullstroom and Lydenburg in Mpumalanga implemented a recycling programme a year ago which is working extremely well. The lodge kitchen, as well as all the guests’ kitchens, are equipped with recycle bins which are emptied and carefully resorted by the lodge staff. All glass, clean paper and packaging, and plastic is set aside and the kitchen waste and ash from fireplaces and barbeques is trundled off to the compost heap. The recyclable goods are then loaded onto the bakkie and taken to the recyling company in Lydenburg. Only cooked kitchen waste is sent to the landfill -so trips to town (40kms return) have been reduced considerably- further reducing our carbon footprint.
We are also supporters of art projects by the local community and a supply of tin cans, bottle tops and caps are set aside to be used by craftsmen and end up as multi- coloured geckos and other imaginative items!
So our endevours also help job creation- a win-win for us, local craftsmen and South Africa.
We all need to be accountable for our carbon footprint and the waste we generate needs to be handled in an intelligent and responsible manner. Take a little time to make a positive contribution!
There is no time for complacency. We are using the Earth’s resources and need to consider ‘giving back’. If you haven't started a recycling programme in your home or business -it's not too late to start!
Some useful Links:
Sappi Paper/Refibre : Paper is is truly sustainable product. It's made from renewable resources, and is reusable, recyclable and bio-degarable.
Guide to recycling in South Africa
Recycling in Mpumalanga