environment recycling sustainability

WIN: The Lazy Man’s Guide to Saving the World

Hi Spriggers,

The Lazy Guide to Saving the World is a humorous guide for those looking to save the world in unconventional ways. The book has been sustainably printed on recycled paper, using vegetable ink on a 210mm by 210 mm format ensures there is no paper wastage. The images were created predominantly from objects  found lying around the house, including borrowed clothes, fabric offcuts and old paints. The main character is usually featured in the same setting, on the couch in the interest of saving energy.

Tuffy has offered us a few hampers worth R480 that include a copy of the book and a two month supply of green household products like 100% recycled black refuse bags, green garden bags, clear recycling bags, pegs, Fill n Freeze pouches, clingwrap, zipper bags, foil and scented bin liners.

If you would like to win this hamper, please sign up to our  weekly e-mail newsletter (under SUBSCRIBE / CONNECT) on the top right-hand side of the site and comment with your name below the post. Winners will be notified by email in the next few weeks.


environment recycling

What a great discovery!

Man Invents Machine To Convert Plastic Into Oil

The machine, produced in various sizes, for both industrial and home uses, can easily transform a kilogram of plastic waste into a litre of oil, using about 1 kW·h of electricity but without emitting CO2 in the process. The machine uses a temperature controlling electric heater instead of flames, processing anything from polyethylene or polystyrene to polypropylene (numbers 2-4).

environment recycling sustainability

e-Waste Recycling This Saturday, 6th April

In an increasingly electronic world, the amount of e-waste we generate is on the rise. The e-Waste Association of South Africa has announced the first of this year’s ‘National e-Waste Collection Days’, scheduled for this Saturday, 6 April 2013. e-Waste management companies will ensure that all the waste collected is dismantled, processed and or disposed of in an environmentally sound manner within the eWASA guidelines for e-waste dismantling and recycling.

According to eWASA chairman Keith Anderson, this year there will be 644 points nationally where the public can drop off e-waste, many of these points are permanent collection points while some will only be operational for the day. Click on the ‘Collection Day’ tab for a point near you:



environment recycling sustainability

Eco Coffee: Espress Eco versus Nespresso

When my wife’s parents first came to visit us in South Africa from France they tried to buy us a gift. The first option was a TV (we didn’t want one), the second was a dishwasher (I wanted it!! but we didn’t have space in the flat :-(), the third was a Nespresso coffee machine, which we got. It is great especially for quick, early morning coffees before work. The one thing I do hate about it though, are the capsules, which despite constant badgering of the staff at the Nespresso shop, I could not recycle (see bag full o’ capsules below). Outpresso offered one option of separating the aluminium casing from the ground coffee but didn’t seem to catch on in South Africa.


I recently encountered Espress Eco, which offers more promising recycling results. These capsules are “made from environmentally-friendly plant-based materials and are fully biodegradable.” I tried these out and I must say the difference between them and the Nespresso capsules is negligible, aside from the fact that these are easily disposed of and won’t clog up landfills as much as the Nespresso ones will.

There are discernable differences. The capsules don’t fit as snugly as the Nespresso ones. According to Espress Eco, because “they are made out of plant material, they heat up differently to other plastic capsules, which may cause them to swell and to get stuck.” Fair enough, it is not a train smash and on the one occasion that mine got stuck, it was easily removed. The range of coffee is not as broad as Nespresso, which again, is not the end of the world. Espress Eco are just starting out and entering a market dominated by Nespresso and a smaller range might be considered an advantage to the indecisive :-).

Two out of their seven coffees are also certified organic and Fairtrade but it seems that Nespresso coffee has a similar ‘AAA Sustainable Quality’ programme (see ‘Is Nespresso coffee fair trade coffee?’).  Pricewise, Espress Eco comes in at about a tenth cheaper, if not a little more in some instances, and their ‘discovery pack‘, ten sleeves for R371, is a bargain. These are my experiences and opinion. I would suggest trying out the Espress Eco capsules – less expensive, good coffee and you don’t have to babysit a huge bag of aluminuim capsule while Nespresso South Africa work out their recycling strategy.

aliens environment recycling tree

18 Eco-Furniture Factories to be established!

this is soooo awesome! 😀 mold-d

South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) is tackling the critical challenge of natural resource management, environmental protection and infrastructure through Environmental Programmes (EP). Over the past decade, EP’s Working for Water programme has piloted value-added industry projects in partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal Invasive Alien Species Programme (KZN IASP).  These initiatives have shown the viability of the approach of utilizing invasive alien biomass to create jobs, in making value-added products relevant to Government’s needs and, thereby, reducing the cost of clearing the invasive plants.

eco furn

In 2004, a value-added industry factory in KZN was established after exposure to the exploitation of the poor by some in the funeral industry, at the time of bereavement.  The concept of making “Eco-Coffins” from the invasive wood won the 2005 World Bank’s Development Marketplace prize for innovation, and the approximately R1 million grant was used to buy the necessary machinery.

The Eco-Coffins pilot project initially provided work for 89 people trained in woodwork and other relevant skills. Since then, coffins have been produced for a fraction of what people are being asked to pay for basic coffins from commercial funeral houses.

Establishing 18 Eco-Furniture Factories in 2013

The purpose of the project is to establish viable eco-furniture factories which will produce products needed by Government and marginalised communities, using wood harvested from invasive alien plants, creating jobs for approximately one hundred and sixty workers per factory, working at competitive EPWP rates and producing high-quality products.

  • 18 Value-added industry Eco-Furniture Factories will be established across the country by Environmental Programmes.  Approximately R383 million shall be invested in the project over a 3-year period.
  • Each factory will make products that help to address the needs of South Africa, with an initial focus on school desks, benches, eco-coffins and other furniture.
  • The products will be made from wood from invasive alien plants cleared as part of Government’s drive to restore proper ecosystem functionality.
  • Approximately 160 jobs will be created per factory, when fully operational, within the framework of the Expanded Public Works Programme, in this process.
  • These jobs will focus on the marginalized, in terms of race, gender, disability and age.
  • The intention is to sell eco-products to non-government organisations, faith-based organisations, government departments and schools across the country to meet their needs.
  • The factories are to be situated in areas where suitable stands of accessible and utilizable invasive alien plant biomass are available.


There is an estimated shortage of 6million school desks in the South African educational system.  High-quality, durable, steel-framed desks with wooden seats and tops (made from invasive alien wood) are planned to be manufactured at affordable and competitive prices.

Eco-Desks include the full costs of harvesting the wood and it is envisaged that the cost would be less than R500 per desk. It is also hoped that damaged steel desks could be collected from schools and refitted with new tops and new seats thus ensuring further efficiencies through recycling.

The collection of damaged desks – and recycling/ renovating them in Eco-Furniture Factories – is expected to make up a large percentage of the production going through the factories in the early stages of the venture.  Any damaged Eco-Desks can be collected from schools within an 80km radius of each Eco-Furniture Factory.

It is envisaged that Eco-Desk production units will be set up across the country, where invasive alien timber is accessible, to meet the backlog and future needs for school desks, including the repair of desks.  The relevance of setting up the Eco-Desks factories across the country is to reduce the transportation costs, even allowing for the fact that the desks are produced in kit form, and then assembled at the receiving schools.

The first five of eighteen factories are either in production or gearing up for imminent production:

  • Durban
  • Farley (Knysna area)
  • Heidelberg
  • Graskop, Mpumalanga
  • Makhado, Limpopo


Several simple sizes and designs of Eco-Coffins have been created for this initiative. Eco-Coffins will be sold and distributed to non-government charity organisations and faith-based initiatives involved in social responsibility programmes.

Originally posted HERE.