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Eco General

  • A Sustainable Journey

    For the first time in 18 years, Sustainable.co.za has been forced to stop all deliveries. While we know this is absolutely necessary in the current climate, it has been a sad day for us as we have always endeavored to get our orders out as soon as possible.

    Now that we have some extra time to focus on the webstore and improve it where we can, we have decided to tell you more about ourselves and our purpose as a small business in South Africa.

    Our History

    Sustainable.co.za was founded in 2002, under the name Sustainable Living Centre, and had a vision to providing information and eco-friendly products to South Africans for a more sustainable lifestyle using the internet as the marketing channel. There was no other company of the sort at the time and green living was a niche industry. It began with a small range of around 50 products and 6 articles(this was before we had blogs) covering sustainable living in the home and office. It started off as a custom built online mail order system.

    In 2004, our current director Zeke took over and moved it to the first version of e-commerce management software. The range had then grown to around 75 products.

    In 2006, version 2 of the e-commerce management software was installed and the product range had increased to over 100.

    In 2009, the company renamed to Sustainable.co.za to be more inline with the ethos behind the business of bringing eco products to as many as possible through our online platforms. It also saw its first additional team member being added.

    2010 saw our very first complete solar water heating system shipped to Pofadder. It was the first time that the process was followed through purely online means. The second team member was added, bringing the team to 3 members. We saw a need to offer complete Solar Power Kits to our clients and we were one of the first companies to do so. Those kits can still be found on our website but the range has extended greatly.

    In 2011, we hit a record of 1000 orders on our platform and were very pleased with how many people we had helped.

    2013 saw our very first export into Africa. With this, we realised that we could cover a bigger footprint and set our sights to offering green products and energy solutions to the rest of Africa

    In 2014, we became founding sponsors of the Eco film Festival. We saw this as something that was definitely needed in South Africa and we enjoyed attending these events which were both eye-opening and awe-inspiring, fueling our passion for what we do.

    We reached a record of 3000 products available online in 2015 and determined new ways of packaging our offerings to allow for seamless ordering.

    In 2018 we moved out of our office to our new premises which boasts a warehousing, a storefront and offices in the back. This allowed us to expand our team even more thus bringing green solutions to even more Southern Africans.

     

    Our Team

    We have spent many years building up our team. Our criteria when finding a suitable team member is someone who is a team player, can work well under pressure, who has a great attitude (particularly when it comes to customer service), someone who can wear many hats and who has a thirst and passion for green living. We are proud to say that we have built up a strong, enthusiastic team who loves what they do and want to share it with you.

     

    Zeke - Director and Senior Technical Sales Consultant

    As per our brief history above, Zeke took over the Sustainable Living Centre in 2004 and developed it to become what it is today. Zeke has had a passion for green living since he can remember and spent many years helping his dad with green building as a teenager. He is very experienced in both technical design and installation but has opted to focus on design in more recent years and assist our preferred installers when needed. Zeke loves the great outdoors including sailing and 4x4ing. He will be adding more vlogs focusing on solutions for 4x4ers. Watch this space.

     

     

    Angela - General Manager and Marketing & Sales Consultant

    Angela started with Sustainable.co.za in 2010 when we were seeing an increased interest in the webstore. Through sheer hard work and determination, Angela has gone from half day receptionist to one of our senior team members. Angela is very involved in Scouting in her free time and loves all things green. She also has a passion for solar energy and making a difference in the world. She enjoys art and loves working on marketing our fabulous range of solutions online. She was one of the first female technical consultants in CT and fondly remembers customers being fairly wary about taking her advice. Luckily this has changed in recent years!

     

     Sian - Logistics Manager

    Sian has been a part of the Sustainable Team since 2011. She started as our Orders Assistant and has dispatched thousands of orders over the years, ensuring that our fantastic solutions arrive on your doorstep safely and intact. When we started exporting goods, it was only natural that Sian take over this department which she has done with aplomb while managing the Logistics side of the company. Sian is family-oriented and loves spending time with her husband and children. She also has a great passion for our products and will be happy to tell anyone nearby all about it.

     

     

    Rieyaat - Products Co-Ordinator and Tech Support

    It has not been easy finding the right person for this position as they have to be both technically minded with an eye for detail, a flair for the English language as well as being skilled with image creation. Luckily in 2015, we found the perfect fit with Rieyaat, fondly known as Rie Rie, joining the team. Rieyaat is technically skilled and will often be found assisting customers on the phone with queries in between uploading and updating our wide range of products. He also spends his time hunting down the perfect goods to allow South Africans to enjoy an improved green lifestyle. Rieyaat is a family man and recently welcomed a new son to his family.

     

    We have an additional 5 team members, namely Logistics Co-Ordinator, Customer Services, Orders Assistant, Products Assistant and Driver who spend their days making sure that your orders are processed, packaged and arrive on your doorstep as soon as possible. Many of them are working from home remotely during the lockdown period so please feel free to drop a mail to say hi to our dedicated team. We love helping Southern Africa to live an eco-friendly lifestyle and look forward to assisting you.

     

    Our Purpose

    The motivation for establishing Sustainable.co.za was to make it easy for the average person or household to improve their environmental ‘footprint’. While many people are aware that serious local and global environmental problems exist, and that they are likely to be contributing to them in their daily lives, they have to do substantial research to find out which activities of theirs are the most environmentally damaging, as well as to find suppliers of goods or services which would help them reduce their ‘footprint’.

    Few people have the time or inclination for such research, yet with access to the right products and information it is surprisingly easy to live a much more environmentally sustainable life. Sustainable.co.za hopes to help people achieve this by providing the necessary information and eco-friendly products all in one location.

     

    Our Values

    Ethical/Integrity
    We endeavour to always go the extra mile. We don't try to take shortcuts. Our price and value are congruent. Our behaviour doesn't change when we are not in the spotlight.

    Nurturing
    In all aspects of the business. We cultivate relationships with our staff, our customers and suppliers. We go the extra mile to find out what they want and deliver it to them.

    Curiosity
    Always on track with the latest and best quality offerings in the industry. We know our products well and sate our customer's thirst for knowledge by offering comprehensive solutions, information and guides to our clients.

    Honesty
    We remain transparent in all our dealings with clients, suppliers, installers and staff and do our best to deliver on our promises.

    Passion
    Always focused on what our end goal is i.e. to provide services and solutions to save the planet. Researching and reading about all asepcts of Sustainability to provide a value added service of quality advice in forms of blogs, life hacks, newsletters etc. Promoting this outlook to staff and customers, always reminding them of this ultimate goal. Spending time networking with like-minded people. Commuted to "giving back" i.e. involvement in environmental initiatives.

    In short, we endeavor to walk-the-talk of a passionate, homegrown, small South African Business dedicated to providing green solutions for the country and the rest of Africa.

     

    Our Promise to you

    We solemnly promise to offer the following to you, our loyal customer:

    • Free Professional Advice
    • High Quality Products
    • Excellent Customer Service

     

    Where to from here?

    There is currently no certainty that the world as we knew it will ever be the same again. We, at Sustainable.co.za, will continue to offer excellent service, great products and free advice. We are currently using this downtime to upgrade the webstore, with a particular focus on easy navigation and more info available to make online shopping that much easier. We will also be brainstorming new innovative ways to provide a great offering and continue our plight to change the world.

  • Your Guide to Green Gifts this Christmas

    On the upside, Christmas is a time for giving, for holiday cheer and for spending precious time with the special people in your life. On the opposite end of the scale, Christmas can also bring about some anxiety from packed shopping centres, over-priced goods and not knowing what to buy for that special someone in your life.

    At Sustainable.co.za, we believe that Christmas should be a time to relax with your family and not have to worry overmuch about these sort of things. That is why our worker elves have put together a list of ideas on what to buy and for whom. We've also added some great specials, so that you can shop from the comfort of your own home and not worry about breaking the bank. A green gift is not only something unique but also something that keeps giving back by saving the planet.

    Green Gift Guide

    Listed below are a few types of people who would greatly benefit from an Eco Gift this Christmas:

     

    The Braaimaster

    You KNOW this person, the one that's always at the braai and takes over, whether at home or at a friend's place. To start off with, we would recommend our Eco-Logs. The smoke is odourless and the logs stay hot for a long time. With that in mind, it's a good idea to ensure that there is a light source around. Our Solar Torch would be perfect as well as our Solar Lanterns which will create some great ambiance around the fireside. Don't forget to ensure they have a drink in their hand by getting them a Sol Glas that come with a convenient sleeve to protect the hands from heat or cold. And last but not least, a Hemp Holster Belt will allow them to operate hands free.

     

    The Chef

    Whether a master at home or at work, there are some great green gifts that you can get your Chef this Christmas. Working with food in the kitchen always produces a lot of waste. Make your waste work for you by investing in the Bokashi Composter Kit. Easy to use and produces precious "Black Gold" for your garden. Hygiene is of utmost importance when working with food and our Optimus Bio Cleaning products range will ensure that your kitchen is squeaky clean. If you are a budding Barista as well and are concerned about coffee pods littering the earth, we have a great new Coffee Pod Recycling Bin which will make your life easier. To top it all off, eco-packaging is the way to go when serving your cuisine, whether it be at home or at a restaurant.

     

    The Gardener

    With water being scarce and more people focusing on farming food from their garden, an eco backyard is the way to go. Get great results from a Worm Farm, which is not only great to dispose of natural waste but produces invaluable nutrients for your soil. Create your own indoor garden with our range from Microgarden. Our Solar Automatic Watering Systems will keep your plants hydrated and a Grey Water System is always a great investment to reduce water wasteage.

     

    The Home Executive

    Being a Home Executive is not an easy job and those who tend to this do so with aplomb. Our range of Eco Furniture will have your guests exclaiming with envy. The Sputnik Wonder Wash is a perfect alternative to handwashing (plus you get a little exercise in too). If you are looking for a drier but don't want to waste energy then a Spindel Drier complements the Sputnik perfectly. The new range of Stasher Bags are great for food storage plus they can be used to cook AND freeze in. When shopping for energy efficient appliances, Bosch wins every time. Check out our range of fridgeswashing machines and dishwashers that save power and money! Replace your existing lights with LED lights and see the savings almost immediately. We even have a light bulb that can be dimmed without a dimmer switch! And last but not least, our stainless steel pegs are durable and easy to use, and we even have a marine grade option!

     

    The Adventurer

    Whether you are a Hiker, a Cycler, a Caravanner, a 4X4er or a Camper, if the outdoors is your thing, we have the perfect gifts for your. Check out our range of Solar Chargers and Powerbanks that will ensure that your phone, camera and laptop have juice when you are adventuring. Our Snomaster fridges are portable and efficient, and will keep your drinks cold. Our flexible solar kits are perfect to carry around as they are compact and easy to use. Look for appliances that can run directly off a 12V battery? Check out our 12V Kettle and Iron, no inverter required! Clean water not available? Our Water-to-go bottles will ensure that this is not a problem. Take along a Madidrop Water Tablet or some Aquatabs to be safe. Out in the middle of nowhere? Ensure that you are never stuck anywhere with our Hummer Powerbanks with Jumpstart capabilities.

     

    The Eco Child

    Start them young we say. The new generation is very much geared towards saving the planet before it's too late. Protect them from the effects of the sun with our Hemp Bucket Hat. Teach them about Solar Power with their very own small solar kit from Ecoboxx. Light up their room or the back garden with Solar Lanterns. Solar Fairy Lights are always a win with adults and children alike. We can assure you that the iHarvey Thermoelectric generator will keep your teenagers enthralled and is something very different to the norm. They'll also love our range of Speaker Lanterns. Why not get the younger ones a Snackbox made from recycled materials that are BPA free or a Stainless Steel Water Bottle? BPA, PVC, and phthalate free, they have a leak proof cap and are available in a variety of bright colours and designs.

     

    We consider our customers to be family and all of us at Team Sustainable.co.za are more than happy to help you find the perfect gift this Christmas. We are only a phone call away. Otherwise, pop in at our office in Cape Town for a cup of coffee and a chat and browse some of the products you can buy off our website.

    We look forward to celebrating the season with you and really making the end of 2019 count!

    Wishing you a prosperous and safe festive season.

  • 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.

    Continue reading

  • If I could, I would buy you the Earth this Christmas

    Well now you can. Christmas is a time for giving and the best investment you can make for your family is to "buy the earth" back.

    At Sustainable.co.za, we believe that green living should be easy and add to your lifestyle rather than detract. Our little elves spend all their time ensuring that we not only have an expansive range of high quality, cost effective products available, but that there is something for everyone.

    With warm Summer evenings, festive cheer filling the streets, and long, lazy days surrounded by family and loved ones, we certainly are lucky to spend this joyous day in the Southern Hemisphere.

    christmas-in-summerThe Gift of Christmas

    We understand that Christmas gift shopping can be stressful with long queues, packed shopping centres and low or no stock available, it is not a very relaxing thought at a time of year when we need it most. Online shopping greatly alleviates this stress. Browse through our range at any time of day, ask advice and get everything delivered right  to your doorstep from the comfort of your own home. Continue reading

  • Off-grid living is easier than you think.

    Many people aspire to becoming totally self-sufficient and living off-grid but feel that it is impossible due to the technology involved and the financial implications, but we are here to tell you that going off the grid is easier than you think, if you put the time in.

    Like anything desirable, achieving aspirations take time and dedication. Due to the fact that we have more than 15 years of experience, we have listed our top tips on how to go to make a smooth transition to going off-grid.

    Continue reading

  • Let us put the Spring back into your Step this Season

    Let us put a Spring in your step.

    Spring is, simply put, the reawakening from the slumber of Winter. Cold weather and dark days start turning around. Birds can be heard twittering harmoniously as the dawn breaks earlier and earlier. This is much to the enjoyment and pleasure of most.

    Renewal, Rejuvenation and Revitalisation

    At Sustainable.co.za we have decided to focus the start of the lighter, warmer months on the theme of the renewal, revitalisation and rejuvenation of your lifestyle and the life of the planet.

    Our team have spent many hours putting together fantastic, well packaged Spring Kits. From eco-friendly cleaning products to the perfect water-saving hampers and Braai Day packages and more. We will also be running the biggest competition we have had to date. Read on to find out more.

    Continue reading

  • 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.

    Continue reading

  • 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 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.

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