The WWF SA estimates that 10 million tons of food goes to waste in South Africa each year.
However this amount can be reduced if we all take responsibility and try our best to live waste free. Here just a few things that you can do to live a zero waste lifestyle in South Africa.
Food production involves the use of energy and fresh water, among other resources. The more we buy, the more these resources are used and the less we consume, the more we throw away. Reduce your food waste to live a zero waste lifestyle. As Farmer’s Weekly puts it, “The energy wasted every year in South Africa to produce food that is never consumed could power the City of Johannesburg for roughly 16 weeks.”’
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To prevent it:
- Plan your shop
Making a shopping list is helpful as it prevents you from buying unnecessary items. Be realistic about your consumption patterns, don’t buy a 2kg bag of potatoes if you live alone or have a small family, no matter how great that deal is. Purchase only what you need.
- Use up everything
When you’re shopping, keep future meals in mind. This ensures that everything gets eaten. Pickle, preserve or freeze your food to make it last longer. If it starts to look worse for wear, find other uses for it. For example, compost, topical uses like face masks and using lemons to make cleaning products.
- Donate it
If you know that the food in your pantry or fridge will not be eaten, give it to the nearest feeding scheme. You can also give to those in need at traffic lights or the homeless.
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Eco-campaigns are constantly encouraging us to reduce, reuse and recycle. However, not enough steps are being taken to prevent material waste. Just last year it was announced that our country is one of the biggest culprits of marine plastic pollution.
To prevent it:
Divide your waste in to recyclable and non-recyclable goods. Find the nearest recycling depot and dispose of it appropriately.
Instead of throwing things away, turn them in to something useful.
- Avoid fast food
Rather than ordering a takeaway, plan your day so that you can cook your meal at home or sit down and eat at a restaurant. This means less polystyrene and plastic take-away boxes.
Use things more than once
Buying these products can help save the environment, as well as money.
- Coffee cups / flasks
- Metal straws
- BPA-free water bottles
- Canvas shopping bags
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These are just a few stores where you can find sustainable or organic products:
- Toiletries and cleaning products
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Spread the word
The best way to save the environment, is by doing it together. Suggest eco-friendly products and places to friends, family and neighbours. Show them the steps you’re taking, and hopefully they’ll follow your example.