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 . . .
In honor of International Mandela day, together with a specialized them, founder of Conservation Guardians, Greg Vogt (57) and Italian-born, Sara Agostini (28) have taken on the mammoth challenge of rescuing the Shongweni Resource Reserve which has deteriorated since the land claim in 2013. The reserve situated in Outer West, Ethikweni is 1700 hectares of pristine biodiversity and is currently home to 12 Giraffe, 12 Buffalo and a number of other species. Conservation Guardians founded in 2008, cooperates with local structures, Conservation Authorities and global tourism organizations to achieve biodiversity targets, improve the welfare of wildlife, and the integrity of tourism and aims to inspire a community of conscious travellers. “Conservation Guardians is mandated with the task of restoring the Shongweni Resource Reserve back to its original splendour and we will not be able to achieve this without the right attitude, the right people and the necessary resources.” - says Greg. Hoping to raise funds to maintain the reserve for the next 3 months, Greg and Sara have committed to paddle for 67 km’s on what would have been Nelson Mandela’s 100th Birthday and have set up a campaign on donations based crowdfunding platform, BackaBuddy to appeal to the public for support. The campaign went live on 13 July 2018 and has thus far raised R8 398.54 towards their fundraising target of R350 000 with contributions from 20 donors. The funds will be used to cover vital operational costs and combat various threats to the sustainability of the facility as well as protect the ecosystem from poaching, vandalism, copper and brass theft from the dam wall. “The fences that keep these animals safe have never been maintained and today the beautiful herd of giraffes, and the other animals are at risk and are exposed to various threats. Since the previous managing company has been operating the reserve, it has deteriorated and it’s been really upsetting to the . . .
JOHANNESBURG – Recycling SMMEs received support from the PET recycling sector on Friday (July 13) in the form of equipment that will enable their effective participation in the mandatory recycling programme launched by the City of Ekurhuleni this month. This follows concerns from small industry players and informal waste collectors that they could be sidelined by the new “separation-at-source” municipal recycling initiative. PET plastic bottle producer Serioplast and the PET Recycling Company (PETCO) donated the equipment – baling machines, industrial platform scales and signage – to local SMMEs with the aims of improving the collection, weighing and baling of recyclable material for resale to recycling businesses. More beneficiaries are set to receive similar donations from PETCO in the coming weeks. The Gauteng-based small businesses included Ekhuliza Gauteng Primary Cooperative and CJU Environmental Management in Boksburg and Lakhwisha Holdings in Vosloorus. Speaking after the event, which was hosted in partnership with the City of Ekurhuleni, PETCO chief executive officer Cheri Scholtz said the citywide household recycling initiative was a positive step forward in creating a recycling consciousness among ordinary South Africans. “It is also an important opportunity for local government and industry stakeholders to develop meaningful strategies for waste reduction as well as an inclusive framework that facilitates participation and creates income-generating opportunities for businesses of all sizes,” she said. Scholtz said PET recycling had been particularly effective in creating a “circular economy”, with plastic water and soft drink bottles offering post-consumer value to waste collectors and recyclers, while also reducing producers’ need for virgin PET material. “The hard work and efforts of all players in the PET value chain – from brand owners and producers to individual waste pickers – allowed us to recycle 2.15 billion bottles in . . .
Anton Hanekom, Executive Director Plastics|SA Photo: On the 3 rd of July, citizens throughout the world celebrated Plastic Bag Free Day. This, hot on the heels of Environment Day and World Oceans Day, both celebrated a few weeks earlier. On all three these days, and throughout the month of Plastic Free July, consumers were encouraged to #beatplasticspollution and join the challenge to “choose to refuse” single-use plastics. Calls for action such as these make it clear that consumers around the world are tired of visible litter. By responding on social media platforms with zealous passion, they demand to see an end to plastic packaging such as carrier bags, drinking straws and cotton ear buds. Recognizing an opportunity to gain significant marketing and PR mileage some retailers and brand-owners were quick to respond to these public outcries by introducing alternatives such as paper bags and piloting a compostable bag made from starches, cellulose, vegetable oils and combinations as an “environmentally friendly alternative to plastic bags” to replace all plastic carrier bags, barrier bags and fruit and vegetable bags. To the uninformed, this might seem an excellent and practical solution to solve an irritating problem. The reality, unfortunately, is far from the truth. Many of the so-called “plastic alternatives” that are now flooding the market have not been properly evaluated. Offering a compostable carrier bag to consumers sounds good in theory; however further scrutiny reveals that these bags and other biodegradable plastic products will only degrade in a properly managed composting facility and definitely not in the normal suburban compost heap. According to the internationally accepted standard for compostability (EN 13432), the packaging must be mixed with organic waste and maintained under test scale composting conditions for 12 weeks. If not kept under ideal conditions, these bags will not biodegrade and are most likely to end up in one of . . .
JOHANNESBURG, JULY 12, 2018 - With the world’s attention focused on finding greener solutions and cleaner technologies, opportunity is ripe for young wood and paper scientists and engineers in the forest product and paper sectors to step up to the challenge. The International Council of Forests and Paper Associations (ICFPA) invites students and young researchers to submit their work for the 2018-2019 edition of the Blue Sky Young Researchers and Innovation Award. The Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa (PAMSA) is co-ordinating the local leg of the competition which has now opened for entries. The entry deadline is 31 August 2018. Only three candidates from around the world will have the chance to travel to Canada in May next year to present their ideas to global CEOs in the forestry and paper industry. “In the new age of the bioeconomy, we want to stimulate competition among students and young researchers under the age of 30 who are doing exciting things with wood, paper and the process waste,” says PAMSA executive director and ICFPA president Jane Molony. “The sky is the limit with wood fibre,” she adds. Projects could include a wide range of activities relevant to forest-based science, products using forest-based raw materials, process improvements and other innovations throughout the value chain. Layered theme “The theme for the 2018-2019 award is centred on disruptive technologies that are revolutionising the future for forest-based products and services,” says Molony. The overarching topic has been divided into two categories: ‘future generation forestry’ and ‘innovations in wood-based industries’. “However projects are certainly not limited to these two categories,” she explains. Future generation forestry could encompass forest tree breeding and biotechnology; precision forestry and measurements and inventory. Innovation in wood-based industries could cover the analysis and properties of pulp and paper; facilities, . . .