SHARE
Source: Scott Webb

According to GreenCape’s Waste Economy: Market Intelligence Report 2017, 65% of the waste (around 38 million tonnes) that South Africa creates is recyclable. That amounts to an estimated R17 billion/year worth of resources that could be redirected into the economy if 100% of these waste streams were recycled.

“It is so important that we look after the environment. We encourage all homeowners to do their best towards living a greener lifestyle – if not for the benefit of the environment, then at least for the benefit of their own pockets,” says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.

But, where does one start? Well, it is important to remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Becoming a zero-waste household is a process of slowly unlearning old habits and replacing them with new ones.

Below are just a few changes you can make to start forming greener habits:

1. Change the way you buy

We’re creating over 3 million tonnes of packaging waste each year – and just over half (1.9 million tonnes) of it ends up in recycling plants. Consider for a moment the content of your waste bin at the end of any given month: in all likelihood, there is a collection of plastic shampoo bottles, various assortments of plastic food containers, and a rainbow of colourful disposable razors and toothbrushes lying at the bottom of the bin.

“There are so many disposable products we habitually purchase without considering how much unnecessary waste they produce. Purchasing products in bulk can reduce the amount of unnecessary waste created by throwing away smaller bottles/containers more frequently.

RELATED ARTICLE: Introducing green cosmetics

However, if you are aiming to become a zero-waste household, you want to find items that: (a) have no packaging waste, and (b) can be reused or refilled when its contents have been depleted,” Goslett advises.

2. Create your own compost heap

There are so much kitchen and garden waste that ends up in a landfill that could have been used in your own backyard. Items such as egg boxes, old newspapers, teabags and coffee grounds, as well as egg shells and all of your veggie scraps, can be used to create a great fertilizer mix.

You can grow potatoes on grass with this method ! 🌱 . The concept is to put your potatoes on what ever surface and recover them with organic matter. The potatoes will then grow over the soil surface in the decomposed organic matter building over it. This technique alow you to create new garden bed during spring and summer saison. By placing the tubers on the grass and placing organic matter over it, this will act as a surface compost charging your soil in nutriment, potatoes and life for next years 🌱 . Step 1: Place your potatoes on the ground (leave them some space to grow between them) . Step 2: Cover your potatoes with soil (you don’t need to recover the all area, you can only cover the tubers) . Step 3: Cover the soil with organic matter (any carbon base mulch) . Comming soon: Create your compost over your potatoes and increase your production. 🌱 • • • #permaculture #agroecology #tips #gardening #biodiversity #organic #sprouts #growyourown #homemade #selfsufficient #growyourownfood #organicfood #blue #farming #farm #hapiness #happy #philosophy #garden #seed #greenhouse #lifestyle #spring #april #2018 #solanaceae #potatoes #soil #fertility #compost

A post shared by SLV permaculture (@slv.permaculture) on

“Many homeowners avoid this option because they do not want the stench that it can create. But, this can be avoided entirely if the proper mix of materials is added to the heap,” says Goslett. Compost tends to smell pungent only if you have included too much nitrogen-based material (green waste), if there is too much moisture and not enough aeration, or if the pile has not been mixed often enough.

3. DIY where possible

“Another way to reduce the amount of waste your household creates is simply to buy fewer consumable products each month,” says Goslett. Cleaning products are a prime example of unnecessary consumable items we continually purchase – from furniture polish in each scent in the range, to dusting cloths in three different shades of pink.

RELATED ARTICLE: How to become an early riser in 8 simple steps

There are so many simple cleaning solutions that you can make in a reusable glass container at home that will save all the waste that would have been created if you had purchased the detergent instead. White vinegar diluted in water, for example, is great for cleaning all sorts of surfaces as its acidity is strong enough to dissolve dirt, soap scum and hard water deposits without marking the surface.

“Going green is not always the easiest thing to do. Then again, nothing worth doing normally is. It will take a while to get used to these new habits, but the long-term effects will make it entirely worth the effort,” Goslett concludes.

[Adapted from RE/MAX press release]