Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My adventures in domestic recycling


So I haven't published any new content to this blog lately, but that does not mean that I have not been saving the environment, little by little.

I have recycling diligently since Oct 2008. I guess I have gathered about 40 boxes of recyclable material in that time. That's for two people!

Storage and convenience problem

I have a very simple system which means its quick, clean and easy to recycle.

I have three boxes stacked in my garage, which is attached to the house and a main traffic path. The boxes are open with a flap or two folded in. The top box is generally for plastics. Next box down is for paper. Finally in the bottom box I recycle cans, glass, batteries, light bulbs, nails etc.

To recycle glass you just pick up the top boxes and go for it, plastics you shove in the top. I have had up to 7 boxes stacked. The bottom boxes are the full boxes and don't need to be moved much.

Actually I am lazy about this and just stuff the top box until it is full. It takes about 2 mins on an evening (once or twice a week) to sort everything out and the top box is ready to go for plastics again.

How I recycle my junk

First thing is I rinse the items shortly after using them, if they need it.

I don't crush bottles, cans or other plastic containers.

Then I leave it to dry by the morning I have gathered a few things in the corner (eg sweet wrappers, packaging from dinner, papers, sauces that's almost finished etc. On the way to the car, I take the stuff and jam it in the top box, regardless of what it is.

What do I recycle?


My logic is as follows:
This drop off point is controlled by Mondi and these drop off points will know how to sort the plastics and other material.

The drop off point is kept up to date on which materials they can sort and which need to be discarded. Much more so than I. Technologies change all the time.

Social Impact

I use a drop off point at a local municipal dumping area in JHB East. My first impressions were that this place was a hovel. The tar in the area is stained and covered in an impressive layer of grime. The recyclable material is lying exposed like cheap European p*rn. Signs are dented, rusted, broken or all three. The people who run the site, are dirt poor, dirty and smelly. The sorting area is basically a few rusty drums and some very large plastic bags with two or three people sorting plastics, rummaging a living from what people have thrown away.

No attempt is made to hide the rubbish and poverty for what it is. That is why I help these people out by sorting and cleaning. This stuff is worth money to them and more so clean.

I keep reusables in a seperate bag. Reusables are for me: Take away salt and peper, sturdy plastic containers, serviettes, paper and plastic packets, damaged or useless tools, almost empy sauce bottles and things I don't want anymore. These are things that will make a difference.

My domestic worker expresses interest in the recycling, obvously she can get money for it too. But these people are broken, and she understands that. She is entitled to the reusables of course.

The first time I arrived at the site, I proudly unloaded a black bin bag full of plastics and a large box of paper. The guy was so disappointed at what I had dropped off. I felt a bit sheepish for my pride and gave the guy a couple of bucks.

Anyway by the time I got everything ship shape and got back to my car door, the guy was standing there holding my black bag of plastics. He said"Sir we dont want any rubbish". So I was like "What do you mean, that's cleaned plastic in there". He looked at me skeptically and opened the bag and looked through it. He came up smiling and says "Hai man this is good stuff".

He has never forgotten my car and I make sure he gets a little extra every time.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Links to Cape Town Recycling Centres

Over the months I am going to provide you with links to local businesses or people involved in all aspects recycling.

The aim is to give you a large reference

The first area I am going to cover is Cape Town.

Recycling Depots in the Cape Town area:

Leanne Proctor is trying to get a group of volunteers together to recycle and re-use:

Businesses in the Woodstock area, involved in recycling:

Virgin Earth will recycle e-Waste (Computers and electronics). They are based in Somerset West:

Bingo Bins, suppliers of recycling bins. You can hire them, but them or use them for an event:

Earthworm farm kits:

Great list of recycling centres:

A Pdf with a list of City Of Cape Town community drop off centres:

Here is a comprehensive list of recycling and buy back centres. All kinds of stuff here.

Household recycling

Buy-back for used cooking oil in the Cape Peninsula area:

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tips for paper recycling in a sectional title housing complex

If you are on the body corporate at your complex, or even if you are a resident in a sectional title complex, consider introducing recycling.

Even if you are living in a complex, it makes sense to talk to your body corporate about recycling your paper.

You can use the income from recycling to offset the running costs of the common property running costs.

Newspaper and magazines are relatively easy to collect from residents living in in a complex. Recycling on a large scale can bring in quite nice money!

Residents can leave a cardboard box outside their unit once they collected some paper. The garden or maintenance staff can move this into a storage area. Once you have enough contact your local recycler and they will collect the paper. Mondi will drop off quite a large paper cage on your property for storage.

However if you are not taking your paper to a buy-back centre, then you will not receive cash for your paper.

Here is where some recycling buy back centres are in Gauteng:

Be sure that the residents only put only what the recyclers want.
Check out http://www.paperpickup.co.za/tips.asp

According to Engineering News (March 2007):

"Hunter says a challenge in the recovery of paper is that only 14% of paper is recovered is from householders and 42% from the business sector. This is in comparison to the national recovery rate of 57%."


"The low percentage of paper recovered from households is because individuals tend to throw away newspapers, magazines and cardboard."

So here are some paper recycling links:

Mondi Recycling - Lots of recycling options.
prasa.co.za - Paper recycling association of South Africa - Not much here
www.paperpickup.co.za - Local paper recycling information

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

SA to introduce a possible Cabon Levy

South Africa wants to get serious about its environmental commitments. Environment Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk briefed the press on Monday 28 July 2008, about the possibility of introducing a carbon tax.

2003 figures indicate that South Africa's green house gas emissions was the equivalent of 446 million tons of carbon dioxide a year.
According to figures presented at Monday's briefing, this will rise by 100 million tons over the next decade, reaching about 550 million tons in 2027-28.

With regards to the possible carbon levy, van Schalkwyk mentioned they are studying their options.

Options include moving SA's electricity generation away from predominately coal fired power stations and introducing "mandatory national targets for the reduction of transport emissions".

This would include "stringent and escalating" fuel efficiency standards, promoting a shift towards public transport and the "aggressive promotion of hybrids and electric vehicles", van Schalkwyk said.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Cabon levy on power consumers

Its time to start paying a Carbon Levy on South Africa's electricity production. The article from Business Report mentions that the levy could be 2c per Kilowatt.

The organization Seifsa, which represents up to 2,700 companies, wants the carbon levy deferred. They are saying that since we have no choice in where we are getting electricity from, this tax is unfair. 90% of SA's electricity comes from burning fossil fuels.

Eskom annnounce that there is no Loadshedding

I read this article on IOL.

The good news for businesses and consumers alike is that the stockpiles of coal have improved and that there has been no deliberate power cuts since May 2008.

Furthermore Eskom are planning on spending R46 Billion this financial year to improve infrastructure.

Welcome to Green Carbon SA

Welcome to a blog full of interesting links, tips and ideas which can help the environment.

I am starting this blog not only to try raise some environmental issues but also to show how other people are helping our planet while keeping their businesses competitive.

The blog aims to be practical by providing solutions which can work and will make a big difference.

Please enjoy your stay and come back soon!