Being “green” and being “eco-friendly” are commonly used terms but lets face it we have to make a conscious choice to tread lightly on our Earth, reduce our carbon footprint, live sustainably and tackle climate change responsibly. Our natural resources are running out faster than we can replace them so it is not negotiable not to go green and protect the environment we live in and our global planet. The scope of being and going green is too vast to tackle in its entirety in this blog but here are some of Cape Point Route’s basic tips to address our energy, water and waste usage in the south peninsula of Cape Town .
Huge SHOUT OUT to the Cape Town Green Map and Urban Sprout for being a fund of information…! Check out their websites from which a great deal of this information has been plagiarised! www.capetowngreenmap.co.za and www.urbansprout.co.za
Most of Cape Town’s electrical energy is drawn from the national grid – 95% of which is from coalfields in Mpumalanga and 5% from Koeberg Nuclear Power Station and distributed by Eskom. Paraffin, gas, petrol and diesel are all made from refined oil –most of which is supplied by private companies. Our homes and offices run on energy- every time we turn on an appliance, cook our food or make our water hot we use energy; which in turn is released into the atmosphere as CO2. By reducing our energy we can make a difference.
- Ideally a home should consider installing a Solar Water Heater but these cost from R3500 to about R20 000 so not necessarily practical for all of us. However in 5 years you should be able to save your capital outlay.
- Geysers – insulate your geyser and hot water pipes using insulation piping, or wrapping your geyser in a blanket. Turn your geyser down to 60°C, which will use less electricity. Install a timer to switch off your geyser to avoid heating the water when you don’t need it.
- Try using a gas hob (although gas can be difficult to obtain too!)
- Get a hot-box for cooking (they cost about R140) and consist of 2 cushions filled with polystyrene and can save up to 60% of cooking costs.
- Use a kettle to boil water rather than a pot on the stove and only boil the amount needed.
- Electric lighting is the best option especially if you replace regular light bulbs with energy saving ones (CFL’s) which use 6 x less electricity (CFL’s can be recycled too!)
High energy Appliances:
- Dishwashers use lots of electricity so wait until the machine is full.
- Front loading Washing machines are more energy efficient than top loaders and consume 30% less energy.
Heating your home:
- Gas heaters are effective, warm a room quickly but do require gas.
- Seal doors & windows from draughts to prevent cold air coming in during winter (door strips protect against this)
- If you are designing a home – orientate your home to face north for light and sunshine
- Natural materials (stone, timber, thatch and clay) are best suited to keeping a house cool in summer and warm in winter.
- Insulate your ceiling (use non-toxic, renewable or recyclable materials)
- Consider powering your home with renewable energy like a photovoltaic cell which converts sunlight directly into electricity.
- Best choice is to walk or cycle where possible or use public transport (Cape Metrorail. Click here for Cape Town – Simon’s Town timetable)
- If you have to drive consider car pools and lift sharing.
- Consider buying a fuel efficient vehicle, service your car regularly, make sure your tyres are pumped, use multi-grade oil, don’t speed and avoid stop-start driving and fast braking – all of which increase your fuel consumption.
- Buy an electric bicycle! (Thula-Lula in Noordhoek)
Human beings cannot survive without water and we need to think about our direct usage (drinking, cleaning) as well as how water is used for the food we eat, the products we use and how water generates power for our lights and stoves. (It takes 450 000 litres of water to make a small car!)
- Use water saving devices such as low-flow showerheads & tap fittings,
- Toilet cisterns should hold about 6 litres (older toilet hold up to 12 litres) so place a plastic bottle or hippo bag (R17) in the cistern. Install a dual flush or multi-flush toilet systems
- Repair any dripping taps, leaking pipes and save 30-60litres of water a day
- Use quick wash or half-load options on your washing machine or dishwasher.
- Don’t water your garden between 10am and 4pm
- Use a pool cover to reduce swimming pool evaporation
- Use water-wise indigenous plants in your garden which use less water to withstand the Cape’s hot dry summers.
- Boreholes or well points uses underground water but must be registered to ensure the amount of groundwater extracted is monitored.
- Rainwater tanks can be used to collect rain water which can be used for washing, cleaning, topping up swimming pools and watering gardens. (not suitable for drinking water)
- Set up a grey water system – using water from the bath, washing machine or cleaning water to use it as a garden watering system.
WASTE: Reduce, Reuse and recycle
Waste costs money! Any nutrients taken out of earth’s system (and buried or burnt) are resources that are lost to us. Waste causes pollution (land and water). In Cape Town alone approximately 6000 tons of waste is produced – that’s almost 2kg per resident! And don’t forget that the products we use on a daily basis have generated substantial waste just from being produced.
- Buy only what you need and avoid buying excessively packaged products
- Buy in bulk (less packaging) those items you use a lot. Buy refills and concentrates
- Buy products that offer packaging made from recycled materials, such as kitchen towels and shampoo bottles with recycled plastic content
- Try to avoid disposable products, such as disposable razors, cameras, paper plates
- Choose glass over plastic as it can be recycled. Many plastic packaging items are still not recyclable in South Africa
- Avoid toxic or hazardous products
- Where you no longer have a use for something, find somebody who does. Schools, charities, libraries and some drop-off centres may accept unwanted clothes, furniture, toys, books, videos and magazines.
- Repair items rather than throwing them away. Support your local seamstress, shoemaker, bike repair shop and so on. This also stimulates jobs in your community.
Some handy ideas for reusing household goods:
- Store food in reusable containers, rather than non-recyclable cling-wrap or tin foil made from resource-intensive aluminium
- Reuse gift wrap and greeting cards
- Consider non-material gifts such as a night out
- Cut up used paper into squares to reuse as notepads
- Use both sides of any piece of paper and then recycle the paper
- Plastic pots and waxed or plastic-coated milk or juice cartons make excellent pots for seedlings
- tin and metal
- cardboard & paper
- glass bottles & jars
- Plastics (PET; HDPE; LDPE and PP – see PETco website)
- Oil (most garages are involved or contact Rose Foundation)
- e-Waste (electrical & electronic equipment such as computers, cell phones and household appliances- try Virgin Earth); batteries & CFL’s (Pick ‘n Pay Fish Hoek)
Non- recyclable items: polystyrene food trays; multi-laminated plastic foils (such as food packaging for bacon); hazardous waste; paints, solvents & glues
- Recycle waste that cannot be repaired or reused by dropping it off at your nearest recycling depot or drop-off facility
- Choose packaging and products that have recycled contents and are recyclable – look for the recycled symbol
- Use your vegetable waste to make compost (putting nutrients back into the ground!)
- Recycle organic household waste by starting a worm farm who will munch their way through your kitchen and garden waste (FullCycle in Noordhoek)
Recycling at Home or at the Office:
Set up 3 bins:
- An “organic” bin for the compost heap
- A “dry” recyclables bin (cans, plastic, glass bottles, plastic wrap, paper and egg boxes)
- A bin for non-recyclable waste.
Recycling in the south peninsula:
City of Cape Town (CoCT) drop –off facilities accept Garage waste, clean garden waste, motor oil, cans and metal, paper, cardboard, glass bottle, plastic, e-waste, clean builders rubble, polystyrene and tetrapak. Tel 021 442 8136 for all facilities
- Hout Bay Waste Drop Off: CoCT. Main Road near Mandela Road
- Simon’s Town Waste Drop Off: CoCT . Blue Water’s Close, Simon’s Town
- Kommetjie Waste Drop off: CoCT. Fish Eagle Place, Kommetjie.
- Noordhoek Farm Village Recycling: Recycling containers for glass, cans & tins, cardboard & paper. Corner of main road and village lane, Noordhoek. Tel: 021 789 2812
- Bay Primary School. Lower Tenth Avenue, Fish Hoek. tel 021 788 8479
- KEAG: Recycling tincans, glass and any coloured plastics. Imhoff Farm Tel: 021 783 3433
- Kommetjie Primary School: Newspapers, cardboard and white paper
- False Bay Recycling: all materials and bottles Lekkerwater Road, Kommetjie
Recycling collections in the south peninsula:
- Mr Recycle: Collection of mixed recyclable materials. South Peninsula collections on a Tuesday evening. 6 Bath Road, Muizenberg 021 788 7725 or 086 611 3171
- False Bay Recycling – collection service in the False Bay Region Tel 021 785 1938
- Abundance Recycling: collection of Recycling material from your Cape Town home from R70/month. Tel: 021 531 5888
- Clearer Conscience: Cape Town based recycling service. Tel: 082 339 9838
Cape Point Route offers day tours, packages, accommodation, activities and car hire in Cape Town’s south peninsula in addition to teambuilding events in Cape Town. Call021 782 9356 or visit www.capepointroute.co.za. We encourage green activities – please let us know if your accommodation establishment or tourism business in the south peninsula is green and we’ll write another blog on green tourism in the south!