recycling sustainability

SA’s Greenest Municipalities

Ekurhuleni Metro has added a feather in its cap by being announced the overall winner in the Greenest Municipalities Competition, walking away with prize money of R3.5 million. eThekwini was the first runner-up and walked away with R3 million, while the City of Cape Town was the second runner up and scooped R2.5 million. At local municipality level, Greater Tzaneen topped the category, bagging the R3.5 million prize money. It was followed by Newcastle and Drakenstein, which walked away with R3 million and R2.5 milllion respectively. The winners were announced by Water and Environmental Affairs Deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi during an award ceremony held at Marianhill Landfill Site, Durban, on Friday. The prize money has to be utilised for projects that promote environment related projects and green economy initiatives. A total of 111 metropolitan and local municipalities had entered the completion.


The Greenest Municipality Competition (GMC) started its life as the Cleanest Town Competition (CTC), with a primary focus on implementing the National Waste Management Strategy. According to the ministry, the competition is premised on reducing, recycling and reusing waste materials. Although these principles are still relevant, other elements related to sustainable development and various greening interventions have been added. “Our Green Economy Plan emphasizes the implementation of measures to strengthen and expand our economic growth through recycling and enterprise development, so that we can generate and sustain jobs as well as formalise existing jobs in the waste area as part of the economy,” said Mabudafhasi.

The Department of Environmental Affairs has conducted numerous studies that have clearly illustrated the capacity constraints experienced by municipalities in delivering waste services in terms of landfill operations, waste collection planning and administration, and refuse collection. The deputy minister said the department was planning to bridge the capacity gap by involving community members as partners and ambassadors in the process of solving the environmental challenges in general and waste challenges in particular. “The low levels of capacity in municipalities present an excellent opportunity for the creation of jobs, on-the-job training, continuous up-skilling as well as enterprise development for the youth. “An estimated 3 577 jobs will be created by placing young people in municipalities, where they will work as landfill site assistants, waste collection administrators and environmental awareness educators,” said Mabudafhasi.

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.