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Green Gardening

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

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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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  • How to recycle grey water around your home

    By now you may be well aware that certain municipalities have placed strict limits on water consumption as dam levels have shrunk to alarming percentages over the last couple of months. And, with parts of South Africa still caught in the grip of drought, water conservation should be a top priority for all citizens. Even if you live in a region where water is slightly more abundant, your household is urged to reduce its water footprint.

    Not only will water conservation help lower your utility bill so you don't have to turn to a Personal Loan to make ends meet, but grey water recycling can also help prevent water pollution in local dams and lakes. In this article, written in collaboration with Hippo.co.za, we present ways how you can put grey water to good use. These tips are adapted from Hippo.co.za's original post How to Save Water and Recycle Grey Water in Your Home.

    What is grey water?

    Grey water is usually meant to go down the drain after you are done showering, bathing, doing the dishes or the laundry. It is waste water that contains relatively small amounts of chemicals from soaps, shampoos, and washing powders, which can be safely reused to keep your car shiny or your grass looking great.

    How to harvest grey water manually

    Usable waste water can be captured with minimal manual input through a grey water system; however, these can cost a pretty penny. Fortunately, extracting grey water can be done without special equipment if you’re willing to put in the effort.

    • After washing the dishes, use a dish pan to scoop water out of the basin and into a bucket.
    • If you're washing your hands or rinsing vegetables, place a bucket under the tap to collect the water.
    • When showering, place a bucket in the shower with you.
    • Connect the drain hose of your washing machine to the sealed laundry sink where you can collect the water. If possible, point the drain hose directly to nearby plants if the water can flow into that direction without creating a mess.
    • Unused water from your pet's bowl can be emptied directly into pot plants.

    Grey water systems

    You can opt to have a grey water system do all the work for you. When installing a grey water device, you can consider either a diversion system or a greywater treatment system. Diversion systems distribute grey water without using biological processes to convert the water into a purer form. This system normally transports grey water directly to the garden or toilet; however, they can also be equipped with a surge tank to help leverage the pressure of water flow as well as filters to remove particles such as hair from the pipes.

    A greywater treatment system goes the extra mile by disinfecting and removing all chemicals from the grey water, which can be used for laundry or your irrigation system. This option is more viable if you need to use the water for a vegetable garden or if your area is severely affected by water shortages when you can put purified grey water to other uses besides the garden or your car. Water is a valuable resource which is why it's vital for everyone to do their bit in making sure each drop counts. For additional water saving tips, read the full article on Hippo.co.za's blog.

  • 10 Amazing DIY Eco-Friendly Lighting Ideas

    Solar Jar Table Piece

    The holiday season is around the corner, which means that it’s time for summer fun and entertaining friends and family. We searched the web for some creative DIY ideas to customize your eco-friendly LED and solar lighting that will create a perfect ambiance both inside and outside the home over the festive period.

    Read these facts and safety tips about lighting and LEDs before you get started…

    • Never overload electrical outlets. To avoid this common cause of holiday fires, stick to only one high wattage appliance per outlet.
    • Prevent your electrical cords from becoming a hazard. Ensure that your cords are not pinched by furniture or windows and placed out of the way of high traffic areas (like doorways and hallways). Do not fasten your cords and wires with staples or nails! Remember, electricity pulses through these cords. Instead, use duct tape or cable ties, which do not interfere with the electrical current.
    • When decorating your lighting with paper or other flammables, make sure that the material does not directly touch the bulbs you are working with.
    • Don’t connect more than 3 strings of incandescent lights. You may run the risk of blowing a fuse or starting a fire. Consider using LED lights as a safer and eco-friendly alternative.
    • LED lighting operates at a lower temperature than incandescent light bulbs. This means less energy is wasted in heat production and less subsequent heat loss.
    • LED light bulbs are energy efficient – producing more light per watt than incandescent bulbs. This results in cheaper LED lighting costs in comparison to regular lighting.
    • LED light bulbs last longer than incandescent bulbs. Normal light bulbs have an average life span of 1,000 hours, but an LED bulb can have a life span of between 40,000 and 60,000 hours.
    • LED lights are more robust than conventional light bulbs. LEDs can also be made significantly smaller than conventional bulbs and can be used in flashlights and other small devices.
    • LED lights don’t contain toxins, such as mercury, which are found in incandescent or fluorescent bulbs.
    • A final and important safety precaution is to not leave your lights on when you’re not at home.

     

    1. Cupcake Lamp Shades

    We found this beautiful design for string lights by Camilla Fabbri online. Using an Anti Cutter, make a cross cut in the bottom of the cupcake liner. Remove each strung bulb from its socket, slip on a cupcake liner and refasten the bulb. This idea can work with colourful paper bags and a range of other objects – some alternative ideas will be featured later on. It is suggested that you use LED lights to minimise the risk of the light bulbs overheating and catching fire.

    Cupcake Lamp Shades

    2. Repurposed Tin Can Lanterns

    This simple idea requires minimal materials and is very easy to do. Craft Foxes suggest filling recycled tin cans with sand or even freezing water in it so that when you nail your pattern into the tin can, the can maintains its shape. Another tip is to draw your pattern on a piece of paper which will act as a stencil for your design, prior to hammering the holes into the can.

    Tin Can Lighting

    3. Solar Jar Decoupage

    To create your own stunning decoupage solar light, you’ll need a clear Solar Jar, all-purpose glue, a brush or a small sponge and thin paper cut-outs to stick to the glass. Tip: after letting your decoupage work dry, apply a layer of clear varnish over the surface to seal and protect your design. See how it’s done on Hello Natural.

    Solar Jar Decoupage

    4. Hula Hoops Chandelier

    This awesome idea is a great way to repurpose unused objects in your home. Wrap lint around to hide the hula hoop’s colour and to create a beautiful soft effect. Then neatly wind fairy lights around the hula hoop and fasten it with lint or tape. Watch this tutorial on creating your very own hula hoop chandelier.

    Hula Hoops Chandelier

    5. Grapevine LED Balls

    If you’re looking for the perfect outdoor lighting idea, Lynne Knowlton has it. The first step is to wind grapevines into a ball.  Tip: use a cheap beach ball to guide the shape of the ball. You can easily deflate or puncture the ball for easy removal later. If you can’t find any grapevines, a great alternative is wire, which is often easier to work with. After shaping your ball you can wind LED fairy or string lights around the ball and place it in your garden.

    Grapevine LED Balls

    6. Glass Bottle Runner

    This next idea is by Beth at Snacker Doodles and is perfect for casting a romantic light in any room or even outdoors.  Gently insert fairy lights into the bottle tops and, if you have the patience and the right tools, you could even drill a hole at the bottom of each bottle so that the lights can be arranged seamlessly.

    Glass Bottle Runner

    7. Wrapped Tree Fairy Lights

    Tip: solar powered fairy lights are a great option, since they require no energy input.  At Sustainable.co.za you can get waterproof solar powered fairy lights too!

    Wrapped Tree Fairy Lights

    8. Solar Jar Table Piece

    This is a simple idea that requires no crafting. Simply place interesting objects in your solar jar, seal the lid, and voila, you have created a table piece in seconds. Complement with items from our Christmas lights range. [Image credit: Magpie Creative]

    Solar Jar Table Piece

    9. Seashell Fairy Lights

    To create a beach house effect, glue seashells onto strings of fairy lights. Use strong glue and leave ample time for the glue to dry. [Image credit: Martha Stewart]

    Seashell Fairy Lights

    10. Origami String Lights

    This Japanese inspired lighting idea by Cute DIY Pins takes a little longer than some of the other ideas, but is well worth the effort. See the instructions in the image below. Remember as explained above, when crafting lighting with paper, we highly recommend the use of LED lights.

    Origami String Lights

    We hope these ideas have inspired you to have fun with your own lighting at home this holiday season. You can find the solar fairy lights, solar jars, and LED fairy lights used in the designs on the Sustainable.co.za website. Have any lighting ideas of your own to share? We’d love to see your DIY creations. Remember to follow our blog for the latest green home tips.

     

     

  • Lovely Lighting for a Sustainable Winter Garden

    Winter’s creeping in, which means it’s getting darker earlier now, and despite popular belief, solar lighting is just as effective during these darker months. It’s time to start thinking about how to light up your garden and home without the added expense. Switch those old light bulbs to LEDs or capture, store and use the energy of the sun to save money and electricity. When it comes to the garden, you don’t have to skimp on investing in lighting - there are a number of beautiful outdoor lights on the market that will lessen the energy consumption of the electricity-hungry winter home. Here are our favourite outdoor lights:

    1. FL waterproof strip light

    LED strip lights create a beautiful ambiance in the home and garden.  FL’s waterproof strip lights are flexible and can be stuck on top of or tucked under surfaces, making them ideal for illuminating outdoor entertainment areas, stairs, bar counters, decking or garden features. These lights come in white, red, green and blue in rolls of 5m. The power supply is sold separately.

    2. Sun Jars

    Sun Jars are extremely popular because they can be moved around the garden and home to highlight certain spaces and are great for camping and parties. Sun Jars automatically switch on after dark and have a watertight seal, so your Sun Jar can be left outside in wet weather. In times of prolonged bad weather, you can remove the light’s battery and charge it in a normal battery charger. These lovely lamps are offered in a range of colours including white, pink, blue, orange, and in a 7 colour sequencer, and add colour to a dormant winter garden.

    3. Mooni Cornet hanging solar lights

    The design of Mooni’s Cornet hanging solar lights is inspired by the Swedish tradition of making paper decorations. These lights are an elegant option to any home garden – hang them against the wall or in a tree and receive long lasting light. At the moment these LED solar lights are only available in white. These light are versatile and work especially well for lighting up entertaining areas.

    4. Mooni Cornet standing solar lights

    If you don’t have a lot of hanging space in your home, or would like to specifically light up flower beds or pathways, Mooni also manufactures a standing version of its Cornet lights. These lights can easily be removed at any stage if you would like to work on your flower beds or if you would like to shift your garden’s focal point. There’s no need to stumble around the garden in the darkness!

    5. Nokero N200 solar bulb

    These cute light bulbs by Nokero contain four wide-angle LED lights and are designed specifically to be mobile and easy to use. The size and light coverage of a Nokero N200 solar bulb makes for an ideal household, camping or emergency light, safeguarding your lighting requirements during Eskom power cuts. The Nokero N200 solar bulb is one of the most economical solar lights on the market.

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    11059_KissiiBulbHangingN200

    6. miSolar The Courtyard Light Solar Light

    Designed to fit on top of a standard 60mm pole, the miSolar Courtyard Light has an appealing design with its battery box snugly fitted behind its solar panel. All steel work is fabricated from high grade galvanized steel and epoxy coated to give the unit a long life span. The unit will switch on at dusk and can be set from 1 hour to 15 hours (or dawn).

    the-courtyard-light_1

    7. Elbro Slim-line Power Spotlight

    Elbro’s Slim-line 10W Power Spotlight is a reliable wide area LED spotlight, ideal for the security-concerned home owner. The light has a warranty of 3 years and is also ideal for commercial and industrial use or at sporting events. Browse our entire range of LED spotlights and floodlights to find the perfect option for your home.

    elbro-slim-line-floodlight_1

    How well do solar lights work during winter?

    Many people are under the impression that solar lights don’t work well in the winter. Days are shorter, which means that there is less time for solar panels to pick up sunlight, and since nights are longer, more light is needed for a longer period of time. However, this is a misapprehension - solar powered light can be very effective throughout winter. According to the solar experts at Sustainable.o.za, the energy yield of solar panels is better on cool sunny days. Solar panels cannot overheat from charging, but would generate less of a charge when exposed to high temperatures. Cloud cover will reduce yield, but it won’t stop power generation. Overall a 15% reduced yield may be expected with full cloud cover. Here are the team at Sustainable.co.za’s tips for buying solar lights to use in the winter:

    • Invest in good quality solar lights. Cheaper solar powered lights cannot convert as much sunlight into energy.
    • Make sure you place your solar light in the best place, with the panel facing the sun. If there are obstacles in the way, you may find that it is not picking up as much sunlight as it could. Winter months mean more shade and shadows, so angle the panel directly towards the midday sun.
    • Get creative! There are a range of colours and lighting options available. Make your home stand out.

    We hope that this article has inspired you towards creating a beautiful and sustainable garden and home environment.

  • Fun in the Sun this Festive Season

    The festive season is nearly upon us. Luckily here in South Africa we can enjoy a lovely, warm, sunny Christmas. To take advantage of this great weather, what’s better than having a Christmas braai? Here are some tips to really enjoy your patio and pool in an environmentally friendly way.

    Why Energy Efficient Lighting?

    You can create a fantastical land in your backyard while keeping your family safe with Sustainable.co.za’s range of energy efficient lighting options. Our price range is diverse enough to fit any budget and any need. LED and Solar fairy lights can capture the imagination of your friends and loved ones, while providing quite a few benefits. They may cost more than your average 60W bulb but are definitely worth the investment.

    LED Fairy lights

    LED lighting options have proven to be a better option than standard lighting. Firstly, they are energy efficient; the fact that they produce more light per watt than incandescent bulbs means you save on the cost of buying regular lighting in the long run.  Secondly, they last longer than incandescent lights, so you can use the fairy lights for quite a few festive seasons. They are also more durable and robust than conventional light bulbs, so they can survive any boy’s imagination (or lack thereof). They operate at a lower temperature, which translates to less energy wasted through heat, and can save you a pretty penny on your electric bill. Finally, they don’t contain the toxins that are usually present in incandescent bulbs, such as mercury. Unfortunately, this means that any dreams of becoming a superhero after exposure to harmful chemicals are thwarted. We at Sustainable.co.za like you just the way you are.

    Solar lighting can make a great alternative to LED lights while still reaping the benefits.solar colour fairylights In order for the solar fairy lights to remain enchanting all night, the solar panel will need about 6 hours of charge a day. There are 50 lights per string and the string is about 5m long. They are also rather versatile. You can mount the panel in the garden with the spike, or directly to a vertical surface. And then there’s the qualifying factor that makes them true fairy lights, which is that they can be in either blinkable or non-blinkable mode.

     

     

     

     

     

    Daymaker: Solar Flood Lights

    Keeping your family and loved ones safe is top priority while having fun. The best way to do that, while still enjoying your garden, is by investing in flood lights. All Sustainable.co.za’s lighting options are energy efficient, allowing you to enjoy your garden while saving you money in the long run.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    consol solar jar

    For those intimate festive evenings, we suggest our solar consol jars. Their soft, warm light, which is safely housed in a beautiful 1-litre Consol Classic preserve jar, can create the perfect romantic atmosphere. It is literally bottled sunshine. The LED lights are powered by sunlight which is harnessed through solar paneling fitted on the lid.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Badu Solar pool pump

     

    It is statistically proven that the rate of belly-flops increase during our summery festive season. In order to ensure that they take place in clean pools that also take advantage of the abundance of energy from the sun, it would be a good idea to invest in one of the solar pool pumps.

    Standard electrical pool pumps generally wreak havoc on your electricity bill and should be replaced as soon as possible. We now have a comprehensive solution for your pool of up to 60 000 litres. Sustainable.co.za’s solar powered pool pumps are easy to install and packaged for your convenience – they also have a lifespan of approximately 20 years and require virtually no maintenance. We have a wide range of pumps, all innovatively engineered, to suit your budget and save you money in the long run. Because not all solar pool pumps are created equal; before you buy one, make sure you have considered your pool’s needs.

     

     

     

     

    Amongst the hustle and bustle of this modern age, the moments we share with all our family and loved ones are too few and far between. At Sustainable.co.za, our ultimate goal is for those rare, cherished moments to be even more memorable. We hope you have a very merry festive season of sustainability with all your loved ones.

     

     


  • Sustainable Valentine's Day Competition: Dinner for Two

    It's easy to take your significant other out for a slap-up dinner on Valentine's-Day, but making it yourself shows another level of thoughtfulness. Make use of eco-friendly cooking methods this year and you'll be showing that extra bit of affection to the planet as well. Everyone wins.

    When it comes to the meal itself, keep it sustainable this V-Day and make use of locally grown, organic produce. Or better yet, grow your own. It always tastes that much sweeter, is much kinder to the environment and shows that extra bit of dedication your better half will no doubt appreciate.

    Remember to like our Facebook page and enter our competition here and you could win a R500 store voucher.

  • Growing your own food - and making ends meet

    Some of the easiest vegetables to grow can greatly reduce your family’s food costs. Courgettes are probably the easiest and most versatile, and the plants are stunning enough to belong in a tropical garden. The plants are deep green, bushy and don’t need much space. They are not prone to insect attack. Three or four plants will be enough to provide a constant supply from late spring to early winter. Of the other squash family, gem squash rather than butternuts will give you a better yield for the space they occupy. They are both sprawlers and gem squash will rampantly climb over anything in its path. I have only one plant with a six meter main stem, that has produced over 30 large fruits and is still budding profusely. If you want to impress, grow some patty pans – they look so pretty you’ll want to put out your first produce on display rather than eat them!

    Like us, plants need food. Anything planted in a patch of dead sand is going to be a disappointment. Rather start with a small area and dig in lots of ‘food’ for your plants. Continue reading

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