8 Ways to create less waste this festive season

The festive season is notorious for being the most wasteful time of year. We buy too much, cook too much, eat too much and ultimately, discard way too much. But Dr Suzan Oelofse, President of the Institute of Waste Management Southern Africa (IWMSA) says there are simple, yet effective ways for ordinary people to be more waste-conscious. Here she shares eight tips to help reduce the amount of waste your family creates over the December holidays.

  1. Shop realistically – It is part of the human condition to fear under-catering and leaving guests hungry. The truth is this seldom, if ever, happens! We tend to buy, bring, braai and cook up to twice as much as is needed. The way to combat this is to plan meals carefully. With specific shopping lists, you can budget accurately, buy only what is genuinely needed and avoid impulse buys.
  2. Take your own bags – Do your bit to reduce plastic in landfill sites by taking your own material bags when you go shopping. This small habit can make a huge difference, so encourage your family and friends to do the same.
  3. Store food correctly – Make sure you put cold foods into the fridge or freezer as soon as possible after purchase to avoid any unnecessary (and costly) spoiling. Store crackers, rusks and crisps in airtight containers once the box or packet has been opened and make sure any fruit is stored in a cool area, away from direct sunlight.
  4. Save it before it spoils – If you can see that something is nearing its use-by date or starting to spoil, use it as soon as possible or turn it into something you can save for a later date. For instance, if the bananas are looking over-ripe, bake banana bread; if the butternut has reached its sell-by-date, make a butternut soup to freeze.
  5. Use leftovers creatively – If you find you have cooked too much and there’s a mountain of leftover food, don’t throw it away. Even if you’re sure nobody is going to want more of the same tomorrow, you can freeze things like rice, gravy and vegetables and re-use the meat – for instance in pasta, on sandwiches or as part of a hearty breakfast. Leftover salads can be served with fresh bread later as a healthy snack.
  6. Separate – Even if you have never recycled bottles and plastics before, there is no better time to start than doing so this season. You could turn it into a holiday project and get all your visitors involved. You want five different waste containers, boxes or crates – whatever works for you. Label them CANS, GLASS, PLASTIC, PAPER and KITCHEN and then make sure everyone in the house separates accordingly. Kitchen waste can be turned into compost very easily, and at the end of the season, you can take your cans, glass, paper and plastic to collection sites. If this sounds like too much effort, try separating only the wet (food waste) and dry (paper, packaging material) waste.  Perhaps it will be the start of a lifelong habit?
  7. Give to the less fortunate – Before you throw something away, ask yourself if there is anybody out there who would see your rubbish as more than just waste. If the answer is yes, find a way to give it to someone who would appreciate it. This could be leftover food, building material, clothing – absolutely anything. If someone can use it, give it away!
  8. Green your gifts – Think about ways to green your gifts. You could start by wrapping gifts in recycled paper and giving recycled cards. When buying gifts, try to buy locally-made items with recycled or recyclable packaging. You could even go a step further and buy gifts that will directly promote the reduction of waste, such as a Bokashi compost bin, or green shopping bags as stocking fillers.

For more information on the IWMSA visit www.iwmsa.co.za

Japan and South Africa Share Waste Management Knowledge at Sustainable Waste Management Seminar


Waste management is a challenge faced by every country on every continent in the world. Issues faced by South Africa, while somewhat unique, can certainly benefit from the leanings of those in other parts of the world. Japan and South Africa recently shared their knowledge and experience at a recent Sustainable Waste Management Seminar hosted by UCT and endorsed by the Institute of Waste Management of South Africa (IWMSA).

On Tuesday 26 November, the University of Cape Town hosted a seminar on Sustainable Waste Management, organised by UCT’s Engineering Department, the Japanese Embassy in South Africa and Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO). The seminar, endorsed by the IWMSA, National Recycling Forum, and Greencape, is one of a series of conversations happening between South Africa and other countries, which IWMSA President Dr Susan Oelefse believes is vital to making a real difference in the waste management arena.

“Waste management is a global concern,” says Dr Oelofse. “No two countries share exactly the same challenges and events like these allow us to share our unique knowledge and experience, and learn from the experience and expertise of others.”

The Seminar was well-attended and featured five key note speakers, including two Japanese speakers – Mr Michikazu Kojima, the Director of Environment and Natural Resource Studies Group at Institute of Developing Economies in JETRO, who spoke on various aspects of waste management, including collection, recycling and the fascinating “Eco Towns” in Japan; and Ms Akiko Robinson, from the CFP Corporation in Japan. Ms Angela Blake from JETRO’s Johannesburg office shared some of JETRO’s innovative waste management activities, while independent consultant and Waste Management Specialist Susanne Karcher from EnviroSense, discussed the waste management challenges faced by Cape Town today.

Also in attendance was UCT’s own Professor Harro Von Blottnitz from the Chemical Engineering Department, who shared some of his students’ work on life cycle assessment of plastics recycling in Cape Town.

In the opening address, Minister Counsellor Yukio Yoshii asked why Japan is today considered one of the world’s most environmentally advanced nations. He then went on to explain that historically Japan was one of the most environmentally damaged nations and that concerted efforts were required to combat the effects of the environmental damage caused by rapid economic growth. He also pointed out that over the next three years, Japan will spend $2 billion in development assistance in areas such as air pollution, water pollution and waste management.

Many other interesting points were made during the seminar. Susanne Karcher, an integrated resource and waste minimisation specialist, discussed the issues facing South Africa and in particular, the effects of urbanisation on waste. Karcher also made an extremely interesting point about the definition of “waste” and noted that in many instances, what some might consider waste, could be considered to be material by others. Karcher proposed that we relook the definition of waste and pay special attention to making a distinction between “waste” and “material”. She also pointed out that the reason there is so much waste is because we keep “buying things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress neighbours we don’t like”.

Ms Akiko Robinson from the CFP Corporation in Japan, spoke about the opportunities that exist for converting plastics into fuel, in order to aid sustainable waste management. She proposed that instead of sending plastics to landfill sites, the plastic be cleaned in a special “washing machine” and then separated into many different categories of plastics. She explained that while PA, PET and PVC products cannot be converted to oil, PP, PE and PS plastics can. Three other types of plastics can further be converted in various products – LDPE plastic can be used to make pallets and other building materials; PET plastics can be turned into fibre for making clothes and shoes; and PP plastics can be turned into containers.

In his closing remarks, Professor Harro von Blottnitz reflected on the value of the workshop and the symbolism of having hosted it in UCT’s new engineering building, home to both Civil and Chemical Engineers. In his assessment, the challenges of achieving sustainable waste management solutions and getting really good at reducing, reusing and recycling, require a ‘new kind of engineer’: one who can avoid ecologically unintelligent product designs and poor operating practises, and one who has the cultural competencies to learn from the successes of others – of which the Japanese team presented plenty.

“While South Africa still has a long way to go to creating a sustainable waste management system, we are constantly learning from the experiences of those dealing with similar issues in other countries and on other continents,” says Melani Traut, IWMSA Western Cape Chairman. “The IWMSA is actively seeking out synergies and discussions on effective and sustainable waste management. We are especially looking forward to the 2014 WasteCon, the largest waste management conference in Africa, which will be proudly hosted by Cape Town.”

For more information on the IWMSA visit www.iwmsa.co.za

Mom’s nomination leads to Gold Business Award for an Educator

The Edublox West Rand franchise scooped Gold at the prestigious Roodepoort Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ROCCI) Business Awards.

The annual ROCCI Awards celebrate achievements in service excellence, with nominations coming from members of the public, clients, customers and even other businesses.

“We were delighted to discover we were nominated by one of our clients,” says Monique van Heerden, owner and manager of the winning West Rand franchise. “She is a mom who was so impressed with the results she saw in her own child, as well as the service and support she received from our office, that she nominated us for the award.”

The categories were Emerging Business, Micro Business, Medium Business, and Large/Corporate, with Edublox West Rand receiving the Gold Award in the Micro Business category.

Monique says the Gold was a very pleasant surprise. “We were hoping for a merit award for service excellence, so it was wonderful to be awarded the top prize in our category. We are especially happy about it for two reasons – firstly, because recognition of excellence might help to encourage more parents, caregivers and teachers to investigate the Edublox solutions to learning difficulties; and secondly, because it is a wonderful affirmation that the training we offer are truly world-class – and the absolute best we can do for the children.”

Monique attributes the Award to the impressive results demonstrated, as well as the Edublox approach to service.

“The Edublox Programme shows real results,” says Monique. “The training works, the children respond exceptionally well and importantly, so do the parents. Often for the very first time, moms and dads are able to talk to teachers who are not only passionate and knowledgeable, but who also understand their situation fully. Add to that our highly defined quality control measures and I believe we have a recipe for success.”

Edublox Founder Henk du Plessis agrees: “Monique thoroughly deserved to win the Gold Award. She personifies the Edublox values, as she is exceptionally proud of the wonderful achievements of her learners, but remains humble and sees the opportunity to develop learners as an honour.”

“Furthermore, her relentless effort to deliver quality teaching ensures that the academic results learners achieve at school are nothing short of remarkable,” explains Henk. “She is often complimented on her excellent and compassionate service and is a true role model for other franchisees.”

Speaking of the future, Monique is excited about new programmes about to be launched, including an English language course and Edubrain home reading programme and tool kit. She has also recently opened a Randburg branch, which she plans to grow as strong and successful as the West Rand branch.

“I really love my job!” says an excited Monique. “I feel incredibly privileged to be working in this environment with great teachers, appreciative parents, and children who are improving not only their learning skills, but so many other aspects of their lives too.”

Edublox is a reading and learning clinic with 20 centres across the country. For more information about Edublox visit www.edublox.co.za or contact Monique van Heerden at the West Rand branch on (011) 764-5824. 

Durban Children’s Smiles Last Longer

Smiles will last longer this year for the children from Abalindi Children’s Home in Amatikwe, Mzinyathi locality Inanda, north of Durban with the Energizer Making Smiles Last Longer Campaign and Gateway Theatre of Shopping.

Following the overwhelming success of the Making Smiles Last Longer Campaign in Gauteng and the Western Cape, the longer lasting spirit of sharing is heading to KwaZulu Natal.

Abalindi Children’s Home forms part of the Abalindi Welfare Society, a non-profit organisation that was established to empower Inanda rural community. The Children’s Home provides shelter, food, clothes and education to orphans and vulnerable children between the ages of eight and 18 years.

“Together with the community, we are committed to expanding our longer lasting power to make the festive season and the children’s smiles last longer,” says Rashmi Vadivelu, Brand Manager, Energizer South Africa.

The youngsters at Abalindi will experience the cheer thanks to Energizer (makers of the world’s longest lasting AAA and AA batteries) and the Gateway shoppers who will be working hard to collect at least 40 gifts for the boys and girls.

“We are privileged to be to partner with the Rotary Club of Monte Edgecomb to assist Abalindi Children’s Home with the amazing work it is doing in our community”, says Penny Barlow, Marketing Manager of Gateway Theatre of Shopping. “We believe that we all have a critical role to play in creating a positive impact and bright future for our children and would like to encourage our shoppers to join hands with us.”

Shoppers can bring gifts for the youngsters to the Energizer stand located on the Lower Ground Floor at Entrance 04 at Gateway Theatre of Shopping, between Checkers and Super Spar, from 12 to 15 December 2013.

The team will then host a party for the children on 17 December 2013 at Abalindi Children’s Home where these gifts, smiles and the spirit of the festive season will be shared.

“By sharing our positive energy, together we can make the world a better place with brighter smiles,” says Vadivelu.

The Making Smiles Last Longer campaign forms part of Energizer’s That’s Positivenergy™ campaign, which was brought to life in South Africa by offering great opportunities to all South Africans to participate in activities geared towards making a difference.

Now that’s Positivenergy!

For more information about Energizer and its That’s Positivenergy activities, please visit the website at www.energizer.co.za.

To find out more about Gateway Theatre of Shopping and its involvement in the Making Smiles Last Longer campaign, please phone 031 514 0500 or visit the website at www.gatewayworld.co.za

Making Smiles Last Longer


Mitchells Plain, Cape Town: Smiles will last longer this festive season for the Newkidz on the Block, a Cape Town based non-profit organisation that refurbishes shelters, care centres and early childhood development centres to uplift vulnerable children and underprivileged communities, thanks to Energizer, Tyger Valley Shopping Centre and the Tyger Burger. During the sixth annual Wish Tree Campaign, Tyger Valley Shoppers collected a momentous 146 gifts, which were shared at the Heaven’s Shelter House in Mitchells Plain over the weekend. Now that’s Positivenergy! PHOTO: Tygerburger

For more information about Energizer and its That’s Positivenergy activities, please visit the website at www.energizer.co.za.

To find out more about Tyger Valley Shopping Centre and its involvement in the Making Smiles Last Longer campaign, please phone (021) 914 1822 or visit the website at www.tygervalley.co.za