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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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  • 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.

  • Heritage Day - Braai Day the Green Way

    ...when South Africans celebrate the diverse cultural heritage that makes up a "rainbow nation". It is the day to celebrate the contribution of all South Africans to the building of South Africa(sic) —Lowry 21:1995

    Why Heritage Day?

    Heritage Day is arguably South Africa's favourite holiday because it is otherwise known as National Braai Day. South Africa's favourite past time!

    Before delving into tips and tricks on how to make your Braai Day better than ever this year, let's have a look at why the 24 September is National Heritage Day.

    Heritage DayPre-1995, 24 September was know as Shaka Day in ode to the well-known Zulu King, Shaka Zulu. Shaka managed to unite all the tumultuous Zulu tribes into  one cohesive nation. When the updated Public Holidays Bill was presented to the  new parliament in 1995, 24th September was not listed. After the IFP objected to this, the IFP and parliament compromised with National Heritage Day. A day for all South Africans to celebrate their rich and diverse cultural history and traditions.

    With braaing being a South African tradition across all cultures, many celebrate by stoking up a fire in the backyard, surrounded by friends and family. Continue reading

  • Green Car Repairs on the Up and Up in SA

    For most South Africans, the thought of green car repairs has never even crossed our minds. But have you ever thought about the impact that a fully functional and busy car repair workshop can have on its immediate environment? The latest trend in workshops around the world is to promote and encourage green car repair centers that have a reduced effect on their immediate surroundings. Continue reading

  • Audi A3’s “Green Police” Superbowl ad – Funny or Offensive?

    Audi A3 have caused a major controversy in the USA thanks to their recent “Green Police” ad that they premiered during the always anticipated Superbowl half time commercial break. Some think the ad is hilarious, some think it is completely offensive and others think it’s a really useful advertisement that succeeds in getting people to think twice when making everyday decisions that could affect the environment. Check out the Audi A3 ad below:

    In case you are unable to view the ad, it shows ordinary American citizens being arrested by “green police” for numerous “green offences” such as using plastic shopping bags instead of paper bags, incorrectly disposing of batteries, not making use of orange peels for compost, using the incorrect non- LED lighting and finally arresting a Jacuzzi bather for setting his hot tub thermostat too high. At the end of the ad we see the green police stopping numerous cars for not being eco-friendly, until they see an Audi A3 2.0 clean diesel vehicle which they allow to speed off as it meets their strict requirements.

    Personally, I think this new Audi A3 campaign is a remarkable success. It is amusing with its tongue-in-cheek portrayal of the “green police” who patrol the streets in their green shorts and hybrid scooter-like vehicles arresting people who break even the smallest of environmentally friendly laws. The advertisement highlights everyday situations and decisions that ordinary people face that could make an impact on our environment - be it what type of bag to use at the supermarket, or whether or not to buy an eco-friendly Audi A3 T clean Diesel vehicle.

    On the other hand, many environmentalists in the States are claiming that the advert pokes fun at the mentality of people who do their part in looking after the planet. “Green police” do actually exist in the states and in other countries such as the UK, although not on the scale shown in the advertisement, and many claim that this Audi A3 ad is only discrediting any authority these people might have when it comes to enforcing environmental issues.

    The American government is currently putting massive pressure on its public to be more environmentally friendly, much to the annoyance of many people, and this is just another reason why people think this ad is offensive. Is Audi A3 taking a cheap shot at the government and their environmental ambassadors?

    How do you feel about the new Audi A3 ad? I think we all need to be able to laugh at ourselves, laugh at the situations we find ourselves in and simply laugh at what I think is an extremely humorous ad with a powerful message. I would love to hear your opinion in the comments box.

  • Start doing your bit now

    In an era obsessed with consumerism, where some governments show little to no concern about the state of the earth, and most of the population have blinkers on as to what is becoming more and more evident around them, it is heartwarming to be part of a movement that (hopefully) will become more prominent in time.

    Being ‘green’ is not a statement, a fad or a ‘stage’ that will eventually pass; it’s a conscious decision to be a part of the solution to an escalating problem.

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