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Eco General

  • Load Shedding - Don't be left in the dark

    Load Shedding - Don't be left in the dark again.

    Is Load Shedding back? Are we forever waiting for another run of stage 1, 2 and 3bs? Whenever there is a power cut, many of us wait with bated breath for the dreaded announcement. For some South Africans, load shedding has never stopped. After another scare a few weeks ago, we at Sustainable.co.za have decided to write a guide on how to prepare yourself for power cuts. From small cost effective solutions, to larger, long term applications, we have ensured that we have it all.

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  • Planet or Plastic? Reduce your Reliance.

    This amazing picture that was featured on the cover of National Geographic is as poignant as it is effective. Not only did it speak volumes, but the fact that the  actual magazine was plastic wrapped is indicative of the conundrum we find ourselves in - we want to make a change, but do we?

    Dedicate this year to breaking free from Plastic

    Plastic has become so much a part of our lives that it almost seems impossible to break free completely. Sometimes it feels like plastic has been forced upon us by the consumer industry and that living plastic free is next to impossible. We at Sustainable.co.za feel that everybody
    should be able to at least make a start in reducing their reliance on plastic products.

    Shopping no longer needs to be a plastic affair

    15 years ago, thin plastic shopping bags came standard with grocery shopping at leading supermarkets. In 2003, a new law came into effect, namely that plastic bags be made thicker so that they could be easily recycled or reused. The problem with this was that this did not do much to deter consumers from treating them much the same as their thinner counterparts. Leaving rubbish dumps full of thick plastic bags.

    It is time to start making a concerted effort to using reusable bags. Not only does this save you approximately 50c a packet but perhaps leading retailers will stop offering plastic shopping packets as an option if the cost of stocking them outweighs what people (and the earth) will pay for them. We have a few great solutions to your grocery shopping requirements. The Hemp Circle Shopper is a truly environmentally friendly shopper bag made from sustainable, unbleached hemp fabric and can fit quite a lot of groceries in it. We also have the fantastic reusable Freshbag for your fruit and vegetable shopping. You will never have to resort to the small thin plastic packets used for fruit/ vegetable storage.

    Plastic Straws Suck!

    One of the biggest campaigns at the moment is the anti-straw campaign. Straws pose a huge threat to the environment and the animal life around us. These single-use plastic death traps are not necessary but are freely available at a number of retail outlets. We challenge you to give up on straws completely by using a glass for your drinks or if you love having the luxury of a straw, either invest in paper straws or reusable steel straws. Again, this comes down to supply and demand and the consumer sets the tone.

    Take home more for less

    Takeaway packaging is another culprit of single-use application with terrible results. In this day and age, fast food is a luxury that most people can afford. The health implications is a discussion for another blog as this blog is focused on the dire consequences of Styrofoam packaging and plastic packaging. Polystyrene is one of the most common forms of plastic used today. Although it can be recycled, the costs are high and due to the chemicals contained in it. It cannot be used for food packaging due to the health risks.

    We have noticed a significant upsurge in restaurants turning to compostable takeaway packaging. A wide range of this alternative packaging is now available and food distributors no longer have an excuse. Would you be willing to pay a small fee towards biodegradable takeaway packaging? We know we would.

    Remember that biodegradeable goods need to be composted and not thrown into a rubbish dump. We have a wide range of recycling bins and composters available so that very
    little waste has to go to the dump.

    At the end of the day, plastic reduction is about playing our part as a member of the larger eco-system of our planet, ensuring that we are not the reason for its deterioration. We are Earth-Keepers and have been sitting idle for too long in our role as perpetrators in the degradation of the earth and its animals. It is time to make a concerted effort to make a change, before it is no longer an option.

  • Come out of the Cold this Winter

    Winter has arrived in Summer-loving South Africa, and that means the days are darker, the nights are colder and the electricity bills start creeping skyward.

    At Sustainable.co.za, we are all about improving lifestyles the green way, not only through energy efficiency but by saving you some cash for a rainy day adventure.

    Let there be Light

    The fact of the matter is that the nights last longer in the cold months, so lighting is imperative in keeping things cosy. Simply replace your lights with their LED counterparts and they can burn all night while still using a fraction of the power used by incandescent bulbs in the evenings.

    Some people are concerned by the quality of the light but fear not, we have a wide range of LED lights available in warm, natural and cool white, catering to all tastes. Our Solar Lights are also great for outdoor use, whether you crave the ambiance of outdoor lighting or have them installed for safety reasons, we have what you need.

    Snuggling up

    It is very easy to reach for the aircon or electric heater/ blanket when the days are cold but we have some alternative solutions that will warm your cockles.

    If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace, rather opt for a roaring fire over an electrical heater or aircon. Anything that generates heat uses a lot of power so the environment and your pocket will feel the expense. We have fantastic eco-logs and firelighters available. Our eco-logs burn longer and hotter and create minimal smoke and our firelighters don't smell at all because, you guessed it, zero parrafin! Best of all, our prices match standard bags of wood and firelighters
    that can be purchased at retail shops so it's a win-win kind of deal.

    To beat the cold in bed, pile up on the blankets, or put a hot water bottle in the bed for a few hours before you go to sleep at night.

    Keep things Steamy

    Geysers struggle in Winter and become less efficient due to the cold. Keep your geyser happy by wrapping it in a blanket and pipe insulation and greatly reduce heat loss. Gas geysers are also a great alternative to standard electrical geysers and can be great back-up for off-grid homes. For those that do not like wasting water, the Dafi Instant Water Heaters are a great way to save on water by reducing the time it takes for the water to heat up. This also allows you to switch your geyser off and save on electricity. Why not install an Efergy Electricity Monitor so you can watch all your savings?

    Warm Winter Fare

    In many households across South Africa, the aunties start gearing up for Winter by hauling out their secret stew and curry recipes and spend all day cooking for the family. Keep
    aunty (and your bank manager) happy by investing in a gas stove. For those who enjoy slow cooking, the hot box and hot bag can keep the pots hot all day long without using a stitch of electricity. Simply bring the food to the boil and pop it in. It couldn't be simpler. On a personal note, my mom swears by the Eco Zoom. It takes much quicker to cook a rice on this fantastic little wood burner than it does on a conventional stove.

    Our Sustainable Promise

    Not only do we promise to keep you up to date with the latest and greatest products that will improve your lifestyle and the future of this planet, but we also always ensure that we have a little something extra to offer. For the first time, we will be running a competition where you can choose your prize. Read more about it here. Father's Day is also in June so we have put a spotlight on our green dads and will be running a giveaway on our social media pages so keep an eye out!

    "What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness." -John Steinbeck

  • Spotlight on our Sustainable Fathers

    “Anyone who tells you fatherhood is the greatest thing that can happen to you, they are understating it.” ―Mike Myers

    Celebrating Father's Day

    Father's Day is a celebration of the role of the father in a child's life. This month we celebrate the amazing fathers in our team by putting the spotlight on them. We find out more about their role in their children's lives and what it means to be a part of the green industry.

    More from the great fathers on our team

    " As a child growing up, I always tried to live as sustainably as possible. I joined our school wildlife and clean-up programmes and spent a lot of time outdoors, trying to save the planet.
    As a father working in the green industry, I strive to find innovative products and creative ways to make the future better for my children and others. I truly believe that to make a significant change in the world, we have to start at home with our family."  ~ Rieyaat

    " What does it mean to be a father? It is an honour and a rite of passage. How special is it that you can be a mentor, a teacher, the chief tickler and the bear to hold and protect your children? Every day is a chance to guide your children on how to be the best they can be and that can be hard at times when most of us are merely just trying to be the best we can be. The results of this comes when you see them trying to emulate you and preaching to someone about how better to save water or start a fire.  

    Being an advocate of eco-living it is great to see my children asking about how solar energy works and using it when we are road trips, charging the music player, setting up the solar lights at camp. Or have my second in charge of the tools handing spanners as we install the water purification filters on our home system. What fun to watch and just absorb the moment." ~ Zeke

    Fathers look toward the future

    We believe that a parent's job is to ensure a bright future for their children to enjoy. This goes hand in hand with making conscious choices in the way we live so that children may learn from this. With this in mind, we will be giving away 3 x R 250.00 gift vouchers to dad's who tell us why being a father is so special (this is open to moms too).

    Great gift ideas for Father's Day

    Click here to check out the range of products that Zeke and Rieyaat selected as their favourite gift ideas for Father's Day.

  • Sustainable.co.za proudly partners with Ecobrick Exchange

    We are very pleased to announce that we have partnered up with the EcoBrick Exchange. This is one of our favourite initiatives and is close to our hearts.

    About EcoBrick Exchange

    The EcoBrick Exchange (EBE) is an eco-centric company that facilitates the construction of preschools in underprivileged communities. This is done by using EcoBricks (plastic waste compressed into PET-bottles). This is a highly insulating building material that is water-, fire- and even bullet-proof. Their programmes empower individuals to address the shortage of quality education facilities, implement sustainable waste management systems and raise environmental awareness.

    How can you become involved?

    It's really very simple. Collect, clean and dry all non-recyclable plastic rubbish and compress it into a 2L Bottle with a stick or suitable instrument. Pack it tightly so that it can't be squished. Once it is ready, simply drop it off at our shop.

    Extra Incentive

    We love this idea so much that we have decided to give a 5% discount voucher to the person that brings in 20 Eco-Bricks at any one time.

    Start making a difference

    If we can collect enough eco bricks, we can build a school! Keep an eye out for our Mandela Day Campaign where we will be challenging South Africa to make a difference. Watch this space.

  • Stay Warm this Autumn. Winter Can Wait!

    With summer now little more than a distant memory and the nights already starting to draw in, let us help you keep warm this Autumn by enjoying a comfortable green lifestyle and saving money at the same time. Our motto at Sustainable.co.za is "Buy once, buy well", and we have so many great products available that you will be coming back for more.

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  • How to reduce your vehicle's emissions

    The CO² emissions from vehicles are one of the biggest contributors to the production of greenhouse gases, which have brought about the patterns of climate change the world finds itself at the mercy of today. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), South Africa is 15th in the global list of largest CO² emitters. While South Africa may not be in the top five, or even top ten worst offenders, the country still contributes 1.2% towards global emissions. While the transport sector can take a number of steps to decrease its carbon footprint, so too can the average driver on South Africa’s roads. Here are four ways you can do your bit to reduce your vehicle’s emissions.

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  • Grow with us this Spring

    Spring has Sprung at Sustainable.co.za and we are celebrating in style this year.  To kick off for Arbor Week we have challenged our team to grow their own Bonsai Trees (from seed nogal). Indigenous trees only, of course, including the African Baobab, the Wisteria and the White Stinkwood Tree. Keep a close eye on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more updates. Can we just mention that we love trees? If you are interested in planting something yourself, contact Seeds for Africa, a really great website with a wide range of options. If you are not much of a gardener, why not donate some trees at GreenPop? Every bit counts.

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  • July is Madiba Month at Sustainable.co.za

    July is Madiba Month at Sustainable.co.zaAs everyone is well aware, Tata Madiba's birthday is on the 18th of July. At Sustainable.co.za, we love what Madiba Day stands for so we have decided to dedicate the month of July to Madiba and challenge everyone else to do the same!

    In the spirit of this, our team have dedicated themselves to 67 random acts of kindness in July. You can follow our progress via the checklist below. We will post evidence of our deeds to our Social Media accounts so keep an eye out!

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  • Tips to winter-proof your home

    Is it possible to save money running your household during winter? It is, and here are a few tips to make your home more eco-friendly and save money at the same time!

    Use existing insulation
    As soon as the sun begins setting, close curtains and blinds to keep warmth inside bedrooms and living spaces. It will mean your interior stays warmer for longer and will mean switching heaters on only if essential.

    Replace and switch off
    Replace all light bulbs with LED. Turn off lights, plugs and especially electric blankets and heaters when not using them. Just these few things can reduce your home’s electricity consumption by 15%.

    Lose 1 degree Celsius
    While going solar is ideal, turning your geyser down by 1 degree and switching it off during the middle of the day can make a difference. This can provide estimated savings of R100 a week on your electricity bill. Take it further and investigate using geyser blankets and timer switchers.

    Get a Spindel
    Doing laundry in winter is very costly if you are using a tumble dryer, so rather use a Spindel. It’s an innovative dryer that uses spin power instead of heat to remove up to 80% of the leftover moisture from clothes in just three minutes. Laundry dries in a fraction of the time and it uses 100 times less electricity than tumble drying. Spindel is also safe for all fabrics – perfect for those winter woollens and hand washed delicates.

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