It is estimated that each year, 8 million tonnes of litter end up in the environment - causing a serious threat to people, wildlife, soil, water and air. The World Cleanup Day is a call to action for the public, decision makers and all citizens alike, to take real action in solving the waste problem. For the past 22 years, Plastics|SA has been partnering with Ocean Conservancy by coordinating South Africa’s involvement in the annual International Coastal Cleanup Day. This annual event takes place on the third Saturday in September and sees thousands of volunteers each year collecting and removing litter from our waterways as part of Cleanup & Recycle SA week. This year, the week will take place from 10-15 September 2018 - culminating in the first World Cleanup Day on Saturday, 15 September 2018. “This is the biggest positive civic action the world has seen, and we are fortunate to be part of this global movement that hopes to inspire change in human behaviour,” says Douw Steyn, Sustainability Director of Plastics|SA. Plastics|SA’s commitment to reducing packaging waste Packaging waste continues to be one of the biggest culprits when it comes to pollution of our water sources and marine environment. However, as one of the first signatories of the Marine Debris Declaration, whereby 74 plastics associations from around the world have committed themselves to fight marine litter in 2011, Plastics|SA actively supports projects in six key areas aimed at contributing to sustainable solutions, namely education, research, public policy, sharing best practices, plastics recycling/recovery, and plastic pellet containment. “We have managed to get other packaging streams and retailers to support our efforts and recycling initiatives, such as our beach clean-ups, Operation Clean Sweep, sponsoring litter booms and the Aqua Amazing schools’ education programme. Last year alone, we donated 350 000 yellow refuse bags that were used for clean-ups around the country . . .
Former competitive South African pool swimmer Sarah Ferguson's close encounters with nature on her recent Elephant Coast expedition have unequivocally reinforced her determination to expose the dangers of plastic pollution. As an ambassador for SPAR Eastern Cape's Stop Plastic campaign, Ferguson swam 100km over a six-day period, from Ponta Dobela in Mozambique to Sodwana Bay in KwaZulu-Natal last month. In July, Ferguson linked up with SPAR EC to support them in their Stop Plastic campaign, which was launched in April. The Eastern Cape retail giant are focused on ending the practice of single-use plastic by encouraging consumers to consider the dangers the material poses to the world and offering them alternative and viable packaging options. The chief objective of the swim is to create a seven-part documentary series which Ferguson's environmental movement, Breathe Conservation, is producing to demonstrate the threat of plastic pollution. During her swim, the Cape Town-based physiotherapist said her intimate encounters with ocean animals had made a lasting impression. "The sound of humpback whales and the waves pushing me from behind, plus the odd turtle and shark sighting, was enthralling and filled me with such a sense of awe and immense well-being," said Ferguson. "Also, being totally exposed to the elements was utterly invigorating and freeing." She spoke about the importance of society taking responsibility for the threat posed by plastic. "The issue of plastic pollution is a global one," she said. "The marine animals I was privileged to swim amongst are essential for our ecosystem. "They do not have a voice to speak out on the negative effects of human ignorance and waste and I am choosing to use my voice to advocate on their behalf. "We are destroying the planet we are called to look after. It is not too late to change but if we do not change our behaviour today, the next generation may not have the privilege of encountering . . .
The South African plastics industry has reiterated its commitment to keep South Africa’s water sources free of plastic pollution. Plastics|SA’s Executive Director, Anton Hanekom, said reducing the amount of plastics that make their way into streams, rivers and the ocean is one of the biggest focus areas for the plastics industry worldwide today. Plastics|SA was one of the first signatories of The Declaration of the Global Plastics Associations for Solutions on Marine Litter, a global declaration and public commitment by the international plastics community, signed in March 2011, to address the issue of plastics in the marine environment. Operation Clean Sweep was developed as an important step towards implementing the core principles of this declaration. “When we re-launched Operation Clean Sweep in South Africa as one of our product stewardship programmes last year, our call went out to every segment of the plastics industry, including plastic producers, transporters, bulk terminal operators, recyclers and plastics processors, to implement good housekeeping practices. Every employee of every factory has a role to play if we are to achieve our goal of zero pellet, flake and powder loss. We need the commitment from every person in every company, from top management to shop floor employees, to help protect the environment and save valuable resources,” Hanekom says. Pellet, flake and powder loss has many negative impacts on individual companies, on the plastics industry as a whole and on the environment. Slips and falls caused by pellet, flake or powder spills in factories are one of the causes of accidents in the plastics industry, resulting in lost work time, higher worker compensation costs and lower employee morale. Once spilled, they can end up in waterways and the ocean if they are casually swept into storm drains instead of properly cleaned up and discarded. “All employees in every aspect of the industry must be educated on how to properly handle and . . .
Entries are now open for the country’s most prestigious accolade for sustainable restaurants. Launched in 2016 as a first for South Africa, the Eat Out Woolworths Sustainability Award acknowledges a restaurant that brings its customers seasonal, local and responsibly produced food. “We launched the award to acknowledge the one restaurant leading the pack in South Africa,” says Eat Out Editor, Linda Scarborough. “We’re looking for an awareness of not just the environment and higher animal welfare standards in farming, but of human health and social justice, too.” Since the award’s inception in 2016, more restaurant owners have worked to make connections with their farmers, asking for proof of claims from suppliers, taking steps to improve their own methods and menus, and thus improving the education of their consumers. “We hope to continue and encourage this trend to foster sustainable practices in South Africa,” Scarborough adds. Says Feroz Koor, group head of sustainability, Woolworths Holdings: “Each year it becomes more apparent how important it is for us all to be aware of our environmental and social impact. Restaurants have a vital role to play because they bridge the gap between food suppliers and diners, and can influence both sides. Our aim with this award has always been to increase awareness and inspire all parties to reduce their impact. We are starting to see the results of this reflected in the entries.” Entrants can find the entry form on the Eat Out website here. Entries will be judged on a strict set of criteria in three categories: responsible sourcing, community impact and environmental impact. Scores are allocated for the sourcing of meat, seafood and fresh produce; the design of menus; the impact of the restaurant on its surrounding communities; treatment of staff; use of resources like water and electricity; and efforts to recycle, amongst other measures. Last year’s winner was Camphors at Vergelegen Estate in Somerset West. The . . .
Gamtoos Valley's Kouga Dam is at a low...6.9% We all need to be waterwise and save as much water as we can. What do you do to save water? Do you shower in a plastic 'bowl' and reuse the water to flush your toilet? Do you have a plastic container in your basin to harvest water when you wash your hands, to reuse the water on your potplants? Please be waterwise and save water! Water from the Kouga Dam in the Gamtoos Valley, is distributed to consumers by means of a system of canals and pipelines. The Kouga Dam and the main canal supply water for both irrigation and urban use; the branch canals are used mainly for irrigation and the Loerie Dam for urban water supply only. Water is supplied to the Port Elizabeth Municipality's purification works at the Loerie Dam site by means of an outlet control tower and tunnel. The main canal starts at the Kouga dam and ends at the Loerie Balancing Dam. The canal system consists of canals, siphons, balancing dams and pipelines. The total length of the main canal is 97 km (72 km canal, 17 km siphons and 8 km tunnels). The total length of the branch canals is 30 km and the total length of the pipelines is 91 km. In addition to the Loerie Balancing Dam, a further two balancing dams were constructed along the route of the main canal to prevent the wasting of water due to fluctuations of demand. The main canal has a carrying capacity of 8,5 m3/s at the Kouga Dam. The carrying capacity decreases at each of the balancing dams until the ultimate caring capacity at the point of discharge of the canal into the loerie Dam is 3,1 m3/s. The Loerie Dam with a capacity of 3,4 million m3 consists of an earth-fill embankment with a clay core and a side channel spillway on the left flank of the dam wall. The dam also has a crest spillway which was added in 1983 after the earth embankment had been overtopped on two occasions. From the Kouga Dam, irrigation water is supplied by means of the canal and pipeline system to more than 7400 ha of . . .
Visitors to the Garden Ideas market this weekend at Simondium’s Country Lodge will have the opportunity to interact with a variety of experts during a series of talks and demonstrations. The inaugural market will take place from Friday, 27 July, to Sunday, 29 July, and presents gardening enthusiasts the chance to get inspiration for their gardens. The informal sessions will take place in the Peacock Palace and promise to be fascinating for season and aspiring gardeners – young and old. Renowned author and conservationist Edward Netherlands will talk about frog-friendly gardens and the importance of the species to bio-diversity. Ed will give guidance on how to attract frogs to your garden, the benefits of frogs in your garden and how to ensure that they thrive in specific environments. Willie Schmidt from Aspidistra Garden Centre will chat about chickens and how to incorporate them in an urban garden. Willie breeds more than 35 different types of show chickens and will give great tips on how to make chickens a functional and decorative part of your garden. He will also have special chicken coops for sale. Botanical artist Ann Kerr will share her lifelong love and enthusiasm for plants and botanical art. This Fine Arts graduate and former art teacher now lives in Prince Albert and is looking forward to engage with visitors about succulent plants and container planting. “Plants and gardens speak to me and I am looking forward to showing people my art, hanging baskets and succulent boxes. I just adore plants and their beauty, which continue to inspire me.” Other interesting participants include Cathy Esterman of Heatherby’s Heritage Roses, who has been championing these low maintenance, disease-resistant blooms for years. Heritage roses date back more than three centuries and were established in the Cape by the early settlers. Another enthralling exhibitor is Harry Lewis of Desert Living Plants, who will have a diverse selection of Haworthia and other rare . . .
Plastics|SA, the umbrella body representing the entire value chain of the local plastics industry, has just released the plastics recycling figures for the year ending 2017. For the seventh year running, plastics recycling in South Africa has continued to grow, with more than 334 727 tons recycled back into raw material. This gives South Africa an input recycling rate of 43.7 % - well above that of Europe’s recycling rate that currently sits at 31.1 %. Commenting on South Africa’s latest recycling figures and how it compares with the rest of the world, Plastics|SA Executive Director, Anton Hanekom says: “South Africa is doing phenomenally well with its recycling, and I believe the latest results show that we are slowly but steadily beating the odds”. South Africa vs Europe Hanekom goes on to explain that the South African recycling industry is based on economic principles whereas in Europe, recycling is an environmental principle subscribed to by most citizens and local councils. “In South Africa, recycling needs to be financially viable in order to succeed, whereas in Europe it is the right thing to do. Locally we rely on manual labour to sort the waste and recycle, whilst overseas the entire process has become mechanised. Furthermore, there are landfill restrictions in place for recyclable and recoverable waste in some of the EU-28 countries, whilst in South Africa we only have formal waste management for 64 % of all households. More than 12 % of Metropolitan households do not even have regular refuse removal, much less a two-bin waste collection system where recyclables are collected separately on a weekly basis,” he states. Sources of recyclable waste “One of the biggest challenges to building our recycling industry over the years, has been getting access to good quality, relatively clean materials before they reach landfills. Despite our calls for separation-at-source, whereby recyclable materials are separated from non-recyclables, a staggering . . .
Old Mutual’s Mutualpark in Cape Town is one of the largest corporate head offices in South Africa. With more than 9 000 employees working at this 166 000 m² office space, it is to be expected that a lot of waste would be generated at these premises on a daily basis. However, operating as a Responsible Business is at the heart of Old Mutual’s strategy and is embedded into their operations, culture and shared value strategy. The essence of shared value is to ultimately create mutually beneficial value - not only for Old Mutual’s shareholders in terms of being a profitable business but also for the benefit of all stakeholders, including the communities in which Old Mutual operates. Environmental sustainability is one of the five pillars of Old Mutual’s Responsible Business strategy and thanks to the concerted efforts of the Mutualpark Waste Management programme, the company has managed to divert waste from landfill to more optimal and useful source streams. Moreover, it strives to educate visitors and employees alike about the importance of recycling. Old Mutual as a leading responsible business in the investment, savings, insurance, and banking sector has become a shining example of how to find opportunities and innovative ways to live and work that are sustainable and environmentally conscious. “We conducted a waste audit at Mutualpark in 2015, after which Old Mutual developed an integrated waste management policy which formed part of our application to the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) to be recognised as a Green Building. Upon completion of this submission, Old Mutual was proudly awarded a 5-star rating under the existing building rating category – making the company the largest, existing building to achieve the level of environmental excellence in the Southern Hemisphere,” says Executive General Manager, Heloise van der Mescht. According to Van der Mescht, Old Mutual acknowledges and embraces the value of an effective waste management . . .
Commercially farmed trees offer a renewable, carbon neutral and versatile fibre for bio-innovation Tall timber buildings was just one of the topics deliberated at the recent annual meeting of the International Council of Forest & Paper Associations (ICFPA) in Tokyo, Japan. Country representatives discussed global priorities around climate change, tree breeding research and the role of the sector in the bio-economy. With Tokyo as the host city, it would be remiss not to have examined plans by Sumitomo Forestry to build a 350-metre high hybrid timber skyscraper to mark the company's 350th anniversary in 2041. Named W350, the ambitious 70-storey tower will be almost four times higher than the 18-storey Brock Commons Student Residence in Vancouver, Canada, which currently holds the record for the tallest timber building in the world. The skyscraper has been designed by Sumitomo's Tsukuba Research Laboratory in collaboration with Tokyo practice Nikken Sekkei. It will be Japan's tallest building. The company says it will be a ‘wood and steel hybrid structure of the right materials in the right places’ with a timber to steel ratio of 9:1. It is expected that 185,000 cubic metres of wood will be used in its construction. But where will it come from? “They will grow the trees,” remarks ICFPA president and executive director of the Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa Jane Molony. “Tree breeding forms an integral part of the W350 project, and Sumitomo envisages a convergence of materials, biorefinery and tissue culture technologies.” Green shoots of innovation "On the one hand, the sector has seen printing and writing grade production and consumption continue its downward trend with machines either closing or converting to more profitable grades,” explains Molony. “We have seen the death of some grades but now we witness the emergence of so much that is new, that is hopeful; green shoots are everywhere." Like the phoenix rising, Molony . . .
Owner of Okuhle Waste Management, Maxwell Ndlovu, is a savvy entrepreneur who has grown his recycling business from a tiny operation in a side-street in Johannesburg to the establishment of two well-equipped buy-back centres in Jeppe Street and Denver, which collect about 300 tonnes of recyclable material each month. Ndlovu is one of over 45 entrepreneurs to receive assistance from Mpact Recycling to start and grow their own buy-back centres. Equipment in form of scales, trolleys, bags, bins and cages was provided by Mpact Recycling to help increase the volumes at the centres it assists. Mpact Recycling communication manager, Donna-Mari Noble, says Mpact Recycling has helped establish 45 Mpact Recycling buy-back centres throughout Gauteng. “Of these, eight new centres were established in areas such as Soweto, Tembisa and Boksburg last year.” The programme brings in more than 104,000 tonnes of recyclables every year, significantly boosting the 630,000 tonnes of recyclable material collected by Mpact Recycling annually. The rest of the recyclable material is collected through Mpact’s own operations throughout the country as well as its 2,000 Ronnie Banks nationwide. It also buys material from more than 100 independent dealers countrywide. Noble says one of the greatest benefits of the programme is that it creates informal employment for thousands of people in local communities. “According to the Paper Recycling Association of South Africa (PRASA), recycling provides jobs for about 100,000 people in South Africa, many of whom are entrepreneurs and small business owners reliant on sustained volumes of recycled material to earn a living.” Mpact does not only collect paper and paper-based packaging. Other materials include plastic PET bottles, which provide the material for the company’s polymers operation. In addition, long-life milk and juice cartons – a relatively new grade – are now processed through a recently established liquid packaging plant at . . .