Going Green At The Offfice – An Infographic
Thinking about going green? In the age of digital and wireless, it’s become easier to have a ‘paperless’ office. However, that doesn’t mean that your office is any greener with all the added tech to replace the paper! This infographic includes some easy and useful tips to inspire going green at the office. From things as simple as setting up a recycling station to making sure your computer is switched off or put to sleep each night, it’s all about the little things that’ll help make your office go green.
Why should your office go green? Businesses make up a large percentage of the waste and electricity useage, as well as paper and water. Going green at the office is just as easy as going green at home – in just a few simple changes of habit. Do you have a canteen at work? Our eco-friendly food packaging is perfect for all kinds of canteens, and we’d love to help make yours green – contact us to find out how!
So check out this infographic, print it out and place it at the office, and try make some small changes each week to go green.
Click on the image below to see the full infographic.
E-Waste – An Infographic
A great infographic on electronic waste – aka e-waste. Many of our old computers, laptops, printers, phones and kitchen appliances die eventually. Sometimes we don’t throw them away, like old working phones, but other times we do throw them away and they’re not properly dealt with. Sadly this is out of our control unless we make a concious decision to take our e-waste somewhere better. If we don’t, then our e-waste will end up like the waste in this infographic. It’ll break down, leak chemicals, harm the environment and much more. It’s a sad but serious matter that only we can change.
EWASA is South Africa’s E-Waste collection company, making sure that all appliances are recycled and handled carefully. They focus on the environment so that E-Waste doesn’t do more harm to our environment, plus it goes into the right places to be recycled into other things. There are a number of collection sites around SA, from local supermarkets that’ll collect your lightbulbs and old batteries to larger sites that’ll take your old appliances. There’s probably one just a short drive away from your house, so make a day of taking all your e-waste there and knowing it’s gone to the better place – unlike this infographic!
This infographic is an interesting read on where our e-waste goes if we don’t throw it away in the right places, and how much of a difference we’ll be making if we dispose of our e-waste properly!
The Truth About Plastic
Have you ever thought about how much plastic we use? Not just things we buy from the shops, but from the electric cables of appliances to shoppings bags and more! Here’s a rather enlightening infographic about the serious truth about it, because it goes much further than just buying and using it and where it ends up. But the more positive side of it is the great simple tips to reduce your ‘plastic footprint’, so you can make a difference to your environment.
Click on the image to view a larger version.
Green Product Packaging – It’s The Future!
Plastic was the greatest innovation when it came to creating ways of packaging products, but after decades of research, we’ve realised that it’s not the friendliest for the environment. Whether it’s the shrink-wrap plastic for batteries or polystyrene and double walled corrugated cardboard for packaging, few of these materials are able to be recycled or composted. It’s tough for consumers to be picky about packaging for a product, but that’s why so many companies are making the change to use green product packaging.
Unilever has made a big decision to reduce the amount of packaging it uses while also focusing on the effect it has on the environment. They’ve changed the materials that make up the packaging and the amount they use, which means they can reduce the amount of packaging material needed for transport and ship more products. This means a saving of up to 55% on product packaging and up to 45% on transport packaging On top of this, they have created sustainable packaging principles to be followed that takes into account environmental, social and economic considerations. They use the 5 principles of ‘Remove’, ‘Reduce’, ‘Reuse’, ‘Renew’ and ‘Recycle’ for packaging. All of the principles have been applied to all types of packaging for products produced by Unilever, from shampoo bottles to laundry detergents, beauty products and even food packaging.
Dell has made a bold decision to use sustainable and eco-friendly packaging for transporting products. They’ve also launched a new initiative to have waste-free packaging by 2020. They’re starting off by ensuring that 100% of packaging materials are sourced from sustainable materials, including recycled and renewable content. They’re also hoping to ensure that 100% of packaging is recyclable or compostable at the end of its life. As parts of the strategy they’re going to be using wheat straw as a sustainable material for packaging. That doesn’t mean we’ll receive our Dell products wrapped in bales of hay, but they’ll be using it to create ‘cardboard’ boxes for products. The wheat straw is a byproduct of harvesting which many Chinese farmers burn, but Dell sees the potential in it for eco-friendly packaging. They will also use other recycled materials for extra packaging. Dell has already reduced its packaging waste by 12% and upped its use of recycled material to 40%, so that by the time the packaging is thrown out, at least 75% of it is completely recyclable. So the next time you buy something from Dell, chances are you’ll be receiving it in eco-friendly packaging!
HP has been focused on being kinder to the environment since 1992. An example being their printer cartridges – in 2007 they redesigned the packaging that reduced greenhouse gasses by 37 million pounds a year – that’s about 3600 cars off the road. In 2003, they reduced the cartridge packaging by up to 80%, meaning they could ship 4 times as many cartridges and save on transport. They have also reduced transport packaging by reducing foam and using recyclable transparent plastic film. For HP, less really is more!
Intel is one of the greenest companies at the moment, running 100% renewable and sustainable power. They make use of biogas, biomas, hydro, solar and wind to create electricity. On top of this, they’re ensuring the products they produce are as green as the power they use to make them. They have also pledged to focus on the environment in terms of manufacturing waste, make their products more efficient and decrease power usage of their datacentre by at least 25%. Their latest line of Xeon processors have also been designed to be greener than other processors of its kind, using less power and being made from more eco-friendly materials.
Good Recycling Habits
The 3 R’s of Recycling!
Some simple ways to improve your good recycling habits even better. Use them wherever, at home or at work! If you don’t have a recycling setup in place, here are some easy tips to try.
We find ourselves getting comfortable with the things we use, even if they are luxury items or not. But sometimes we need to take a step and think about whether we need certain things, and do we really need that much of it? Start off by assessing how much you buy, and see what you can reduce. Bringing your own shopping bags means reducing the use of plastic bags. Buying items in bulk to make fewer trips to the shop. Keep a water bottle handy so you can fill it up at the tap instead of buying bottled water. Little steps go a long way to reducing the use of unnecessary items!
Many items can be used more than once, and we just need to decide which ones. Shopping bags and water bottles are simple and obvious. But things like old cell phones and computers can be fixed up and donated to those who need them to be used and appreciated instead of heading straight for the landfills. Make use of empty plastic bottles and turn them into crafts such as candle holders, plant pots and can even be reused for gifts with a touch of creativity!
Recycling is an easy process that can be turned into a neat system for the whole family to follow. Start off by creating a set of bins to house the various types of waste – paper, plastic, glass and general rubbish. Then, each time you have something to throw away, simply place it in the correct bin. General rubbish can be collected as usual, and you can make a trip once or twice a month to drop off your plastic, paper and glass. Check out Pikitup’s website for information about what you can take to their sites and what you can’t. You can also make your own compost to reduce the amount of food and garden waste that gets thrown away. It’ll also give back to your garden and save you from buying compost.
Bring Your Own Shopping Bag – Fight The Plastic!
Plastic bags are one of the largest contributors to our earth’s plastic problem. While regulations have ensured that thinner plastic bags are used and must be levied, it still doesn’t solve the problem of these bags ending up in trees, gardens, fields, rivers and oceans. In several states of the US and areas of Europe have put bans on plastic bags. It’s a start, but it’s small, and it’d be great to continue the trend by making a conscious choice to not use plastic bags! Using reusable shopping bags means a small change in our shopping habits, but it’s a big step in the fight against plastic bags!
Many cities around the world have implemented a plastic bag fee – but some have gone as far as banning them completely. Los Angeles is the largest city in the US to have a complete ban on the bags, making paper bags available at a fee instead. In 2003, South Africa decided to charge for all plastic bags, but after an initial drop in use, bags continued to be sold, and it made very little impact. It’s up to shoppers to make a bigger change by refusing plastic bags altogether and bringing our own bags.
Bringing your own shopping bag starts off with buying a few fabric or recycled bags. They’re available in a range of sizes, materials and designs, and you can get them almost anywhere! Buying a few means you can replace all the plastic shopping bags you’ll no longer be using. Also, many bags are being made and sold to raise awareness and funds for organisations that protect our environment, so you’ll be donating to a worthy cause too. Fabric bags are great because they can be washed regularly without breaking. Buying different sizes means you’ll be able to use them for small or big loads too.
If it initially sounds like a lot of work, here are some simple tips to help you remember to take your bags with you:
Keep a few in the car so they’re always with you when you go to the store
Keep a small one in your bag just in case as a backup
Hang bags up by the front door so you’ll remember to take them as you’re leaving
If you have children, find some fun and interesting bags and get them involved in bringing the bags to the shops
When you’re done unpacking all the groceries, put the bags back in the car – that way you won’t forget them at home and they’ll always be with you
Try bringing your own bag to the shops for a week and see how easy it actually is and know you’ll be helping your environment!
Packaging Comparison – Biodegradable vs Conventional Takeaway Packaging
We have a great range of biodegradable take away packaging, and it was time to do a comparison of the packaging against conventional packaging to see if it was a suitable competitor. We put our packaging up against a standard cardboard burger box and a large cooldrink cup with lid, a single walled takeaway coffee cup with cardboard sleeve, and a plain disposable paper plate.
You can see larger versions of each image by clicking on them.
Our biodegradable burger box is made from bagasse fibres. Our takeaway competitor is a common cardboard burger box with printed coating for branding. The cardboard is fairly thin which results in a flimsy and weak container, especially when containing a large burger. The bagasse is thicker and feels stronger, and holds its shape better with a burger inside. The cardboard wasn’t able to withstand any kind of liquid, make the board weaker on the inside and damaging the printed coating on the outside. The bagasse was able to withstand more liquid and didn’t have much damage inside or out. For us, the bagasse box is a much better option, and probably has a better chance of keeping your burger safe.
Our biodegradable cup (we used the 12oz) is also made from bagasse with a PLA lid. The takeaway cup was made from cardboard with a wax coating inside. The takeaway cup feels fairly sturdy, but it’s easy to see that without the wax coating the cup would absorb the liquid and fall apart. Wax coated products aren’t recyclable due to the combination of chemicals and have to be handled separately when thrown away. The bagasse cup didn’t feel as sturdy as the takeaway cup, but for a single-walled cup, it was still strong and didn’t absorb any liquid even though it didn’t have a wax coating. While the bagasse cup looks smaller than the takeaway cup, it can still take just as much liquid, and it won’t biodegrade while you’re drinking!
We used the same biodegradable cup as above as it can contain both cold and hot drinks – something not many takeaway products can boast! The takeaway cup was a single walled cardboard cup with a cardboard sleeve (not shown). It was able to retain heat for a fair length of time, but the outside of the cup was too hot to touch without the sleeve. It retained heat for roughly the same length as the bagasse cup, with the assistance of the sleeve. Both the bagasse cup and lid are biodegradable, unlike the takeaway cup – the cup also has a wax coating inside which means it is not recyclable. The lid is a Type 6 plastic which is recyclable but not environmentally friendly. the only part of this cup that can be recycled is the cardboard sleeve.
Our bagasse plate is a 26cm plate. We do also have an 18cm plate option. Our takeaway plate is a plain ‘paper’ plate made from layered paper. The paper plate felt thin and flimsy, and unable to hold much weight, making eating anything off it more than a mission. The bagasse plate is much thicker and feels considerably stronger. It can hold more weight than the paper plate, and can resist liquids far better – the paper plate simply absorbs liquids and damages the plate. The bagasse plate is fully biodegradable, although the paper plate is recyclable at least, but not as environmentally friendly.
From all our comparisons, we’ve found our biodegradable packaging to be a great alternative to most of the usual takeaway options. They feel stronger and more capable, less likely to break in use, able to withstand liquids and heat. Not that the other packaging can’t do that as well, but we feel the biodegradables do it better. Want to find out why? Order your biodegradable packaging from us today to see and feel the difference!
See our pressure test of a plastic knife and a biodegradable knife!
E-waste collection day: 13 July 2013
Have you ever had a large collection of electronics that you needed to throw away but didn’t know where? Well, tomorrow is your day! eWASA – the eWaste Association of South Africa – is having a nationwide collection day for eWaste. There are hundreds of collection points around SA, you’ll be able to find one closest to you below or go to eWASA’s website, and take your eWaste to be collected.
eWaste can’t be thrown away as easily as general waste and recyclables. eWaste is usually made from a variety of materials including plastic, metal and chemicals, both good and bad. From old computers to TVs, lightbulbs and batteries, all of these need to be handled specially in the refuse process. eWASA ensures that eWaste works in accordance with strict technical guidelines to ensure responsible dismantling and recycling of eWaste that other refuse companies can’t do themselves.
If you have some of these sitting around that need to be thrown away, then tomorrow is the day to do so. Do you have any of the following:
– Broken computers
– Computer mouse
– Electronic toys
– TVs and monitors
– VCR & DVD players
– Gaming consoles
– Fridges & freezers
– Washing machines & tumbledryers
– CFL & florescent lightbulbs
If you have eWaste that you’d like to throw out, simply find your nearest collection site and drop them off tomorrow. Check the eWASA website to find more collection sites if you can’t do tomorrow.
|Collection Point||E-waste collected||City||Province|
|Cape Garden Centre
56 Tarentaal Road, Joostenbergvlakte
|All e-waste||Cape Town||WC|
|Stodels Garden Centre
Eversdal Road, Bellville
|All e-waste||Cape Town||WC|
|Techno Park, Strand Rd
R44 between Stellenbosch
and Somerset West
|All e-waste||Cape Town||WC|
|Shop 4, Crystal Corner
353 24th Ave, Villeria
|3 Bontes St, Fleurdal,
|All e-waste||Bloemfontein||Free State|
|Aliangy, No. 6 First Avenue,
Industrial Site, Mahikeng
|All e-waste||Mahikeng||North West|
|Remade Recycling –
18 James Bright Avenue
46 Carr Street
240 Edison Street
Pretoria West Industrial
83 Zendeling Street
|All e-waste||Rustenburg||North West|
54, 1st Street
663 Main Pretoria Road
4 Main Reef Road
|All Pick n Pay Stores||Ink cartridges & batteries||National|
|Pick n Pay Hyper
Centurion Lifestyle Centre
|All Makro Stores||All e-waste||National|
|Hi-Fi Corporation Stores||All e-waste||National|
|Incredible Connection Stores||All e-waste||National|
|Northgate Mall||All e-waste||North Riding||Gauteng|
|Kollonade Shopping Centre||All e-waste||Pretoria||Gauteng|
|UNISA Sunnyside Campus||All e-waste||Pretoria||Gauteng|
|Brightwater Commons||All e-waste||Randburg||Gauteng|
|Builders Warehouse Strubens Valley||All e-waste||Struben’s Valley||Gauteng|
Testing Your Packaging – Conventional vs Biodegradable, Who Will Win?
Conventional food packaging is largely made from a mix of chemical-based unnatural materials. We know these don’t break down, but testing your packaging will tell you what it is made from by the way it reacts to the tests! We tested our own biodegradable products against conventional materials and you can see the results.
Our two test subjects were a plain clear plastic knife and a biodegradable PLA knife. The plastic knife felt thin and flimsy, and bent quite easily. The biodegradable knife felt thick and sturdy, and much less flimsy. While the plastic knife had sharper teeth, the biodegradable teeth were still sharp too.
Test One: Flexibility
We tested our plastic and biodegradable knives to see which one was more flexible. When pressure was put on the plastic knife, it bent easily, and even started to bruise, crack and give way. Not long after, it cracked and shattered. It wouldn’t be good if this happened while you were trying to eat!
Our biodegradable knife stood up to considerably more pressure and bent until almost folded in two before it snapped. It took more force to break, meaning it’d be a nice option to eat with – you certainly wouldn’t have to worry about it breaking like the plastic knife!
Test Two: Burnability
Grab a lighter and put the plastic and biodegradable knives to the test! Using a regular lighter, we tested the plastic knife first. It caught alight quickly and easily, the plastic bubbled and burned with a large flame and plenty smoke. It also gave off a strong smell of burning plastic – not very pleasant.
The biodegradable knife took a lot more effort to catch alight, and while it bubbled slightly, it simple turned black and gave off a light smoke, with no smell at all. After a while, it eventually caught alight and burned slowly, and the flame went out fairly quickly.
We reckon the biodegradable knife came out on top, judging with it’s strength and durability compared to the conventional plastic knife. The great thing is, it’s made from all natural materials and good for the environment, and you can put it in your compost heap when you’re done with it!
Making Events Greener.
If you’ve ever been to a large event such as a beer fest or music festival, you’ll know that they’re not very clean or tidy. After hours and event days of intense partying being held in a huge space, several thousands of plastic bags, cups, paper plastic, polystyrene boxes, aluminium cans and other things are left behind to be cleaned up. Invariably, many of these end up in the environment, such as trees, bushes, rivers, lakes and fields. These may seem like basic necessities for an event so large, and it may seem like too much to take the sustainable route, but there are ways to make them greener in a very easy way.
Music festivals in the US and Europe have been working hard to decrease their carbon footprint of their events. Events such as Rothbury, Glastonbury and Coachella are adopting greener habits and encouraging festival-goers to be cleaner and greener. One of the greenest festivals – Pickathon – works hard to ensure their event leaves almost no mark on the environment. Attendees are encouraged to make use of public transport to get to the venue, either via bus, shuttle or bicycle. They’re even looking at holding events where there are no cars at all. They make use of reusable cutlery and crockery. They provide steel cups with clips attached so it makes it harder to lose. Reusable bamboo plates and bowls replace single use containers and cutlery, and a washing service is available to make sure they stay clean and get reused. Most of the event is solar powered running alongside biodiesel generators. Each change in turn gives a little more back to the environment and reduces the carbon footprint a little more.
In South Africa, we even have our own green music festivals. Rise And Shine is held in Sandton Central, promoting use of the Gautrain and encouraging people to carpool, and emphasise ‘green’ thinking towards recycling and leaving a small carbon footprint. As well as being able to enjoy music from some of South Africa’s great bands, your ticket contributes to GreenPop, an organisation that plants trees to compensate for our carbon footprint. Rocking The Daisies is one of SA’s bigger music festivals, with the focus of being as carbon neutral as possible. Each year they create a new goal to reduce the amount of waste generated by the festival – and each year it decreases. They have sponsorships from major brands that allows them to make use of renewable power, recycling bins, bicycle services and more. Biodegradable packaging is used at food stalls – no polystyrene is allowed at all! GreenPop joins in and helps plant more trees around Africa. Biodegradable soaps are available at eco-friendly washing stations. No flyers or magazines were printed, all marketing was done online and an app was made for event goers. The list really does go on!
Event planners relied on sponsorships to make much of this happen, but they also reached out to local businesses who could help and were committed to ‘greening’ events. Eco friendly companies in South Africa may not be large at this stage, and being able to be a part of events such as music festivals is great. It also doesn’t mean spending more – it means spending budgets somewhere else and thinking more about the environment. The alternatives to all the services offering at festivals and events are eco friendly, easily organised and do the job just as well. People might find the switch to green rather refreshing if it means a clean event! It’s not impossible to make your event green – simply reach out and find companies and people who will help you, so you can help the environment.
Making an event green and reducing carbon footprint may result in changes from the norm, but it brings a new level to festivals that only festivals can offer. And by attending these festivals, you know you’ll be contributing to a greener future in a way that won’t inconvenience you in any way – have fun and be green at the same time. If you have an event that you’re holding and would like some help to make it greener, let us know and we’ll gladly get in touch to help you!