Spring is around the corner and Let It Grow Foundation's Jayson Foxx and Cliff Rosen share some advice on how to begin preparing and planning your soil mix for seed planting: How do you start the process of planning to plant seeds? At Let It Grow, we prefer pre-planting in seed trays and once they have sprouted, leave in the trays for another two weeks for them to get strong and hardened off, before planting in the ground. We also use this method as we often pre-plant for our projects and this is an easy and simple way of both protecting the plants and transporting them. Planting in trays and then keeping them in a protected area, and watered, is another way of getting a head start on the growing season, so by the time spring is here the seedlings are ready for the ground. In permaculture, which is the agriculture method we use as it is an ecosystem intended for sustainability and self-sufficiency, everything begins with the soil. Good soil rich in nutrients yields produce that is healthy and nutritious. Therefore, when planning your urban garden for spring, start with the soil mix that you will use in the seed trays. How do you make your soil mix? We mix a coco peat growing medium with worm castings or sieved compost in a bucket. Coco peat products are natural, organic and environmentally friendly growing mediums, produced from aged and mature brown coconut husks. Coco peat is also known as coir, coir pith or kokos. It has an excellent water retention capacity and holds almost 1,000% its own weight in water. The high water holding capacity is ideal for water conservation. Plus the coco fibres increase the air-water ratio which promotes strong and early root growth and better crop yields. Worm castings are an all-purpose organic fertiliser that is easy-to-use, odourless, weed-free, guaranteed not to burn, and suitable for all soils and plants. It is full of microorganisms which help with all soil health. Add a sprinkle of bone meal and rock dust . . .
Water leakage and non-revenue water have become two of the biggest problems facing municipalities around South Africa in recent years. Under the leadership of André Kowalewski, Senior Engineer: Water Services, and in line with their vision of being a “City of Excellence” the Drakenstein Local Municipality in Paarl, Western Cape, began a 20-year master plan to replace old or aging asbestos pipes with HDPE pipes, thereby allowing them to achieve significant successes in reducing water loss throughout the municipal area. Background to the problem Ever-increasing water losses in the Drakenstein Municipality were surpassing demand growth. By 1999, the water losses stood at 34% and were increasing, thereby forcing them to investigate the reasons for the high water losses and find ways to mitigate these on a broader front. The municipality began prioritising projects that included pipe replacements, the replacement of bulk and domestic water meters, pressure management, leak detection and repair, public awareness and upgrading information and management tools. Reaction time to attend to burst pipes was also reduced to less than one hour. These initiatives have brought water losses down to an average of 16% – and 11% at its lowest. The lower losses enabled the municipality to delay the construction of reservoirs and large pipelines for several years. There was also a decrease in the occurrence of burst pipes. However, the reduction in residual pressures in various pressure zones had the biggest water saving effect. Replacing aging pipes with HDPE Pipes The municipality has placed significant emphasis on replacing 14.2 km of old asbestos pipes with new HDPE pipes, at a value of R120 million. “Prior to embarking on the project, we carefully compared steel pipes with HDPE pipes. We were fully convinced that the latter offered us significant more advantages and impressive cost saving benefits. Taking the life cycle of the HDPE pipe as a material into . . .
Boxes. Labels. Books. Your child’s first report card. A tissue for their first heartbreak. All made from paper; a renewable, recyclable material that is an inextricable, often invisible part of our lives. Think about it…from the moment we wake up to when we nod off with a book in hand, paper is there. In a world that strives to go paperless, very often for the wrong environmental reasons, the paper industry firmly believes that paper is making a comeback in some quarters, and that it is here to stay. The Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa (PAMSA) shares the reasons why paper is good for us, our economy and our environment. 1. It’s versatile Paper is categorised into three principal types – printing and writing, packaging and tissue – and chances are that we use each kind every day. Paper in its most common form – white copy paper – could be the start of something, a blank canvas, a new project or design, your first book. A variety of printing and writing papers help to communicate and inform through news and advertising, the label on the coffee jar, the medicine box insert and the month-end supermarket specials. Paper also educates – from your child’s first reader to their last matric exam. Paper packages and protects. From our eggs, teabags and cereal, milk and juice in cartons, to medicine and cosmetics. And let’s not forget that new computer equipment for the office or your online shopping order. From the bestseller of your favourite author to a night at the movies with popcorn, a drink and a box of chocolates, paper entertains. Facial and toilet tissue, kitchen towel and baby and feminine products help to improve our lives through convenience and hygiene. 2. It’s renewable In South Africa, paper is produced from farmed trees. Some 600 million trees are grown over 762,000 hectares for the very purpose of making pulp and paper. “If it wasn’t for commercially grown trees, our indigenous forests would have been eradicated . . .
The Diners Club Winelist Awards have honoured the best wine lists in the country for over two decades. This year 225 restaurants from the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng submitted wine lists for judging by a select panel led by Publisher of the Platter’s by Diners Club Wine Guide and convenor of the Winelist awards panel, Jean-Pierre Rossouw. “This year we tightened the standards and set expectations higher – so kudos to the restaurants that rose to the challenge,” says Rossouw. “The Diamond award is becoming a more and more prestigious achievement and we congratulate the entrants that offer diners high quality winelists.” Diners Club has a long history of supporting the wine industry. The response to this annual competition confirms the high standard of restaurants around the country and the significant choice our cardholders have when it comes to eating out. The Diners Club Winelist awards are a benchmark for excellence in the restaurant industry. 21 Kwa Zulu Natal restaurants were recognised this year, and awards were presented in Gold, Platinum and Diamond categories. Seven restaurants received Diamond awards; 11 Platinum awards were presented, as well as three Golds. ‘We are delighted with our Award, enthused General Manager John de Canha “The essence of the Beverly Hills (https://www.tsogosun.com/beverly-hills ) lies in culinary excellence, and this Diamond Award endorses the high standard set by Tsogo Sun (https://www.tsogosun.com). Our unique offering of rare auction wines (https://www.tsogosun.com/restaurants-bars/our-wine), certainly enhance our Wine list. We look to welcoming our guests to experience for themselves.” Elaborating on the judging, JP Rossouw says: “As the premium Award, we expected Diamond lists to carry correct vintages throughout as well as offer diners a good selection of interesting wines in all styles. We also required reserve and international wines to be present on the list. As ever, good wine . . .
The 2017 African Marine Waste Conference took place from the 9th to the 13th of July in Port Elizabeth, and was attended by approximately 200 delegates from 9 African states and a further 10 countries from other continents. The inaugural African Marine Waste Conference was managed by the Sustainable Seas Trust (SST) under the leadership of Dr Tony Ribbink, CEO of SST, and aimed to continue the concerted effort of better managing marine litter with the help of governments, NGOs, researchers and other stakeholders across the African continent. Plastics|SA hosted the first two African Marine Debris Summits that took place in Cape Town in 2014 and 2016 with the support of UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme), the Department of Environmental Affairs and SANBI (SA National Biodiversity Institute), and also participated in the launch of the African Marine Waste Network that took place in Port Elizabeth in July last year. “This year’s conference built on the initiative started three years ago to create a platform for African and international delegates and experts to discuss issues relating to marine waste around the African continent, including data and research, capacity building, prosperity through the development of economic enterprises centred on waste management, education and awareness and the role of the consumer, government, industry and municipalities. The focus at this year’s event was on finding innovative solutions that would cater to African circumstances and cultures and using opportunities to shape a brighter future for the human health, economies and environments of Africa,” explained Douw Steyn, Sustainability Director at Plastics|SA. “By bringing together delegates primarily from Africa, along with advisors from other continents, a variety of different sectors and insights were represented. We participated in various fruitful discussions and debates on issues relating to marine waste in Africa, enabling us to develop a strategic plan . . .
Smoking is a global phenomenon that’s not going away anytime soon, no matter how pervasive the bans in South Africa become. Since the turn of the century, global cigarette volume sales have increased by about 8%. Cigarette butts continue to be the most commonly littered item in the Country and around the world today. They are one of the top 10 pollutants on our beaches entering the marine environment. Cigarettes contain toxins that, when littered, leak into the surrounding environment. It only takes a single cigarette butt to contaminate a liter of water. Animals can also mistake littered butts for food. A local Company called Verda Waste has established partnerships with Local and International Waste Management Companies to address the problem. Cigarette Waste is collected, shredded and separated. The plastic (such as the cigarette filters) undergo palletization and extrusion and molded into various industrial products, such as shipping pallets, railway sleepers, bricks, ashtrays and any remaining tobacco is recycled as compost. Not only is this good for the environment, but a huge job creation boost in our economy. Verda Waste is in the process of stringent selection and training of 10 suppliers in Gauteng who will be allocated territories to collect and sell cigarette waste to the company. www.verdawaste.co.za CLICK HERE to submit your press release to MyPR.co.za. . . .
Schools around the country stand a chance to once again win big prizes in Plastics|SA’s annual schools competition, entitled “Let’s do it … Let’s Clean-Up South Africa!” According to Douw Steyn, Director: Sustainability at Plastics|SA, the aim of this national competition is to educate and encourage schools, communities, businesses and organisations to play their part in cleaning up their immediate surroundings. “We have been running this national competition for the past 10 years as part of our annual Clean-up and Recycle SA activities. During this time, we have given away prizes to deserving schools for hosting various clean-up activities and being committed recyclers of their waste,” Steyn says. The competition is open to primary and high schools as well as businesses or organisations around the country who are eager to initiate a clean-up and/or recycling activity in their area. By writing a short report about their clean-up and recycling, and sending in the photographs and information of what they had managed to accomplish, they stand a chance to win one of the following exciting prizes: Prizes 1st 2nd 3rd Primary School R5 000 R2 000 R1 000 High School R5 000 R2 000 R1 000 School: Primary & High 6 Seater Picnic Table Garden Bench Plastic Recycle Bin Business/Organisation 6 Seater Picnic Table Garden Bench Plastic Recycle Bin Entries for last year’s competition were received from around South Africa and were judged based on how many participants were involved in their respective projects and whether they managed to involve their community. Kabega Primary in Port Elizabeth was announced as the ultimate winner for proving their mettle as a group of learners committed to sustainability and cleaning up their environment based on the amount of recycling and other environmental and sustainability activities they were involved in. The closing date for this year’s competition is 31 October 2017. Entry forms and competition rules can be . . .
A new molecularly-oriented PVC pipe (PVC-O) - used specifically for pressure applications - has opened up exciting new opportunities for plastic pipe manufacturers around the world and in South Africa. “Designed to be lighter, have better impact resistance and increased tensile strength when compared to standard PVC, PVC-O pipes are for the first time technically competent and commercially viable to compete in the large diameter, high pressure, bulk water, trunk main pipe market that has historically been dominated by steel and ductile iron,” explains Jan Venter, Chief Executive Officer of SAPPMA (the Southern African Plastic Pipe Manufacturers Association). The first PVC-O pipes entered the market about 40 years ago in the United Kingdom after the shapeless structure of PVC-U was reorganised into a layered structure. This realignment of the PVC molecules is done through a process called biaxial orientation, and greatly enhances the material properties – making it about twice as strong and ten times more impact resistant compared to traditional PVC-U material. “PVC-O pipe offers unbeatable mechanical properties in plastic pipes, such as high impact resistance (almost unbreakable), high stiffness and fatigue resistance, an excellent behaviour with external loads, crack propagation prevention and maximum flexibility. It is also the most eco-friendly pipe system in the world as it requires less energy to produce than conventional PVC-U and other pipe materials, as well as less energy in service than all other pipe types,” Venter says. Thanks to the fact that the wall thickness of PVC-O pipes can be reduced by up to 50% while maintaining the same pressure as that of the traditional PVC pipes, PVC-O has a larger bore offering greater hydraulic capacity. It also offers excellent mechanical characteristics thanks to its fatigue resistance, elasticity and tensile strength. Furthermore, PVC-O pressure pipes have a spigot and socket jointing system that enables . . .
About 177,000 tonnes of polyolefin plastics, such as milk and detergent bottles, bread bags and assorted food containers, were recycled last year - contributing approximately R1.7 billion to the country’s GDP and creating over 14,000 jobs. However, 363,000 tonnes were not, meaning that South Africa is missing out on potential GDP growth and much-needed employment opportunities. These figures were revealed at Polyco’s recent fifth Annual General Meeting (AGM) by Chairman, Jeremy Mackintosh. Polyco was established in 2011 by polyolefin packaging producers, to reduce the amount of polyolefin waste going to landfill by providing funding to increase the sustainable collection, recycling, recovery and beneficiation of polyolefin plastics. At the AGM, it was announced that the non-profit company (NPC) - which is focused on making waste a valuable resource that works for the economy - would be rebranding to Polyco+, creating a movement designed to change mindsets and behaviours around recycling. Mackintosh said that while the polyolefin packaging market grew by 3.3% in 2016, recycling volumes remained at the same level as the previous year. The South African Plastics Recycling Organisation confirmed this, with its General Manager, Annabe Pretorius, stating: “The demand for recyclate (raw recyclable material) is still at an all-time low – which has been the case for more than 14 months. This low demand can be attributed to the general economic slump, which has specifically affected commodity market applications for recyclate.” Polyco Chief Executive Officer, Mandy Naudé added: “We, as South Africans, are facing a national crisis, with a recent Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) study noting that only 5% of our population recycles. Over and above slowing economic development and withholding employment opportunities from thousands, the consequences of this lack of responsibility when it comes to our waste has resulted in unsightly and harmful . . .
Launched last year 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 inspiring work that is already being done in the hospitality sector, and to increase awareness of the many ways in which a restaurant can become an economically and environmentally sustainable business,” says Eat Out editor Abigail Donnelly. “Feedback from the 2016 awards has already resulted in restaurant owners making more connections with their farmers, asking for proof of claims from suppliers, improving the education of their consumers, and taking steps to improve their own methods and menus.” Says Justin Smith, group head of sustainability, Woolworths Holdings: “We live in an age where it’s imperative for restaurants to be conscious of their environmental and social impact. The aim of the Eat Out Woolworths Sustainability Award is to inspire readers and members of the food industry to reduce their impact, to create greater awareness about responsible sourcing and eating, and to reward a restaurant that has shown true commitment in this regard.” Entrants will be judged on a strict set of criteria, which include 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. The inaugural winner was The Table at De Meye in Stellenbosch, a country-style restaurant that was praised by the judges for its abundant garden, ethically sourced meat, and support of local small producers. Some of the criteria for the 2017 award have been slightly revised following feedback from the judges and participating restaurants. Interested parties, whether chefs, restaurant owners, food producers or diners themselves, are encouraged to read the entry form, which contains all the . . .