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  • 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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  • 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.

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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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, 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. This Winter, we will be running a Giveaway looking to Spring (as it ends at the end of Winter) and will be focusing on a Green Camping theme.  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

  • 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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  • 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.

  • Recycling vs Upcycling

    Glass, paper, aluminium, and plastic are materials we use every day to make our lives easier, however, if disposed or managed improperly, they can have damaging effects on the environment. Fortunately, recycling has become easier and more convenient than ever with recycling bins available in public places and domestically. But, did you know recycling isn’t the only option to reduce your waste?

    Whether you're spring cleaning or selling your home, you're bound to throw out a few items. But, if you're a DIY interior designer or just an ordinary housewife who prefers to use old clothes as a cleaning cloth, you are already following a practice known as upcycling. Similar to recycling, upcycling involves converting waste materials into new materials and objects. But, instead of sending them off to a recycling facility, we reuse them for household purposes.

     

    An article by Private Property, Why Recycle When you can Upcycle? provides a distinction between these two processes of waste repurposing.

    When the contents of your recycling bin reach the recycling facility, they are broken down into a raw state. For example, glass that is recycled is crushed and remelted into a new material called cullet. The new material is then used to produce something new at the same, lesser or even higher quality. A glass bottle can be recycled into another glass bottle and the quality stays the same. But, a plastic bottle can be reproduced as part of a backpack, shoulder bag or a sleeping bag.

    When something is upcycled, it does not entirely lose its original form. Although the item can be reworked into a variety of new products, the material stays the same and the new product retains roughly the quality of the old product.

    The concept of upcycling was popularised in 2002 by William McDonough and Michael Braungart's book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. The book states that the goal of upcycling is to prevent wasting potentially useful materials by making use of existing ones. The only energy you use is our own and the only limitation is your imagination!

    Speaking of imagination, here are some creative ways to put your upcycling skills to use:

    • Use old CDs to make coasters or mosaic tile plates
    • Old tyres can be converted into tree swings, an ottoman and a garden planter.
    • Tin cans can be used for almost anything – from pencil holder to flower vase to outdoor lanterns.
    • Paper bags can be reused as school book covers while used gift wraps can be saved for another occasion.
    • Use glass jars or take-away containers to store cake decorations or buttons.
    • Empty paper rolls can be used in your children's paper crafts and school projects or as bird feeders and campfire starters.

    Upcycling is great for decorating purposes but it could also be a life-saver around your household (bet you didn't know placing your laptop on an egg carton tray will help cool it down while in use). Plus it can help you save money (why pay for a plastic bag at the supermarket when you can bring your own?). Whichever way you look at it, upcycling can help you live more environmentally friendly.

  • Nuclear vs Renewable Energy

    We were suddenly given a ray of hope amid the current political gloom when the Western Cape High Court declared the Nuclear Procurement process unlawful. Launched in October 2015 by Earthlife Africa (ELA) and Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI), their case contends that the government is violating the constitution by concluding deals without first debating it in Parliament (read more about the Nuclear Deal). While this will hamper the Nuclear Program, there is still a long fight ahead and all gains made in the interim will stand testament to the value of renewable energy.

    Every step taken towards renewable energy diminishes the argument for Nuclear Energy. Rooftop solar has the potential to put Eskom under a lot of financial strain, leaving no option but to opt for the proven cheaper and safer renewable energy. Every kWh supplied by these alternative sources prevents the release of about 1kg CO² per unit of electricity. As the industry develops and allocates more funds to research and development it will become even more competitive.

    Russian Roulette

    No discussion on Nuclear and Renewable Energy is complete without taking full account of the risks posed by nuclear power. Only November last year was the final structure moved into place at Chernobyl to contain the nuclear waste, replacing the aging concrete structure that was erected in the weeks following the explosion. The biggest ever movable man-made structure is finally in place 30 years after the disaster.


    The catastrophic events following the Fukushima disaster on 11 March 2011 should be a reminder to us that contingency plans are not adequate when dealing with fission reactions. The power plant automatically switched off when the earthquake occurred which means the cooling of the reactors had to be powered externally by 13 diesel generators, only they were flooded by the tsunami causing hydrogen build-up in the reactors and their eventual explosion. The severity of the radioactive leaks into the atmosphere and the ocean will only become evident over time. Even so 116 children in the area have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer since the disaster, 20 – 50 times higher than the national average.

    The disposal of radioactive waste is considered a minor problem and mostly ignored by nuclear proponents, hence the absence of a permanent disposal plan for the high level waste i.e. spent fuel kept at Koeberg which is growing by 30 tons every year. In addition, 500 steel drums and 100 concrete drums of low to medium level nuclear waste from Koeberg gets buried every year at the Vaalputs Disposal Facility, 100 km south of Kimberley, and this from only two 900 MW reactors compared to 9600 MW planned for Thyspunt. A further cause for concern is the proposed fracking in the area which can lead to earth tremors, a factor almost certainly not considered when the 10 000 hectares was acquired in 1983.

    As if this is not enough problems for the Northern Cape, a local subsidiary of an Australian company, Peninsula Energy, has acquired 750 000 hectares of uranium exploration concessions in the Karoo. The hazards of Uranium mining are well known and pose a much greater threat to the region than commonly acknowledged. Half a million tons of waste rock and 100 000 tonnes of toxic waste tailings will need to be extracted to yield 25 tonnes of Uranium, enough to supply a reactor for one year.

     

     

    Sustainable Energy

    The abundance of solar and wind energy in South Africa are well documented. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) estimates that rooftop solar installation alone can provide 136TWh and the EIA areas can provide a further 420TWh when the aggregate demand currently stands at 225TWh. Critics of renewable energy point out that electricity demand peak in the evening due to increased domestic use and would thus need conventional ‘base load power’. Fortunately, wind power can take up the slack when the sun sets.

    Let’s look at the facts before shunning this as hippie conjecture. In theory, if we allocate 0.1km² for every MW wind generation capacity, our nation’s 1.3 million km² surface area can generate 38 000 TWh wind power per year. This is based on a load factor of 0.36 when in Germany in 2015 working on a load factor of 0.2, wind power amounted to 77TWh (at 44GW capacity), about a third of our annual demand.

    Since the first of four REIPPPP bid windows in November 2011, the cost of Solar Power has dropped from R3.65/kWh to R0.62/kWh and Wind power dropped from R1.51 to R0.62/kWh, whereas the cost of coal power currently stands at R1.3/kWh and Nuclear R1.17 - R1.30/kWh. Sadly the bidding has been stalled by Eskom since November 2015 and 37 Independent Power Producers (IPPs) are left waiting to invest over R50 Billion in the country.

    Clearly there are vested interests in the fossil fuel industry that view renewable energy as a threat to its profits. Acting Eskom CEO, Matshela Koko, claims he is prepared to sign the IPP bids at the current tariff, but this may be up to the new CEO stepping into office in June.

  • Joining hands with Greenpeace

    Sustainable.co.za is proud to be collaborating with Greenpeace Africa to bring you news, call to actions and events on the good work Greenpeace is doing to effecting Climate and Energy change on our Planet. We will be featuring articles from members of the Greenpeace staff, how you can help with raising awareness and exclusive promotions on renewable energy products and information. Please continue reading below on the action Greenpeace is taking and how you can help.

    Let’s not beat about the bush. All environmental threats are serious, but climate change might just be the biggest threat mankind has ever faced, particularly in Africa. Africans aren’t responsible for climate change; the industrial nations are the worst offenders. But it is Africans who will pay the steepest price.

    The energy sector is the worst offender, creating almost 66 percent of all greenhouse gases. Yet in South Africa, where the government is faced with a major energy supply problem, their answer seems to be the building of more coal-fired energy stations, a 'solution' which only serves to worsen the problem.

    Greenpeace is locked in a desperate struggle to change people’s minds, especially the minds of the country’s leaders. We need to change the view that nuclear power is a cheap and effective solution to our energy problems -- it's not. We want to start a revolution in the thinking around energy, promoting the use of renewable energy sources, and saving the continent and creating jobs in the process.


    How to donate

    By becoming a member you'll join Greenpeace in our work to protect our precious planet and find the solutions we need to our most important environmental issues. You'll enable us to investigate, campaign, and lobby for a sustainable balance between humans and the environment. With your help we'll expose environmental abuses, raising awareness to protect our oceans, forests, and our climate – the very life support systems of our planet.

    Ready to support us?

    We have two options for you! We are working with the Given Gain platform for secure donations. Just click here and follow the steps. Or, if you live in South Africa, you can use our secure form to make your online donation directly.

    Want to talk more? Leave your details here and we'll call you back

    It's the support of caring people like you that gives us the courage and the resources to take on the goliaths in our society -- those who would otherwise recklessly plunder our oceans, tear down forests, and pollute our precious rivers. Greenpeace relies on donations from generous individuals to carry out our work. In order to remain independent, we do not accept funding from governments, corporations or political parties. We can't do it without your help. Please support us today.

    Click here to read more about Greenpeace 'Walking the Talk' and turning their new offices in Randburg carbon neutral.

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