Zandvlei Trust

War on Waste 

Did you know, the people of Cape Town generate enough waste to cover  four soccer (football) fields, one meter deep daily? In  one year , our waste alone could fill collection lorries placed bumper to bumper from Cape Town to Johannesburg. Cape Town's current landfill sites (where all our rubbish ultimately ends) have only enough capacity left to contain our waste for the next eight years!

You must agree that it is high time we all start to do our bit to slow down the pace of waste. Get "waste-wise" and declare war on waste by helping to reduce , reuse, and recycle your own household waste.

Use the guidelines below to get started. a little bit of waste reduced by many people can go a long way to preserve our natural resources and reduce waste related environmental hazards and costs. Remember that the best waste is the waste you never produce so avoiding waste is the most powerful strategy to "come clean".

Reduce: Use your power as a consumer. Buy only what you really need and take along your own bags. Avoid over-packaged goods e.g. plastic wrapped vegetables on polystyrene trays. Buying in bulk- more product, less packaging. Buy refills and concentrates. Choose durable articles that will last, rather than products that will soon need replacing. Buy  local produce- it requires less packaging to keep fresh and less energy  for transportation. Choose less heavily processed products (e.g. fresh fruit instead of canned). Special gift tip: Chose a gift that is a service- massage or an event- movie, theatre tickets or restaurant voucher and give a special memory rather than another unneeded material item. Become a shopping activist and make your choice heard in your local supermarket!

Refuse: Reuse a product as many times as possible. If you have no further use for it find someone who does e.g. magazines. Many charities welcome donations of unwanted gifts., clothes, furniture, toys, and books. schools can use many waste items for art projects, cardboard, toilet roll cores, boxes, jars, margarine tubs and scrap paper. Repair broken items or pay someone to repair them, rather than just discarding them. Make your own gifts and gift wrap instead of always buying new items. Return glass bottles with deposits to shops for reuse.

Recycle: Separate your packaging waste at home into glass, tin cans, paper/cardboard and plastic waste. Most of these items can be recycled. The Zandvlei Trust  has paper and glass recycling igloos at Lakeside, which contribute to the income of the Trust for looking after the Zandvlei and environmental education programmes.
Muizenberg High School has a can crushing machine for recycling clean cans.
Footprints an organisation which helps create employment and social upliftment from waste. They collect almost everything including plastic and old tyres for worm farms! They can be contacted at (021) 794 5586. Last but not least, by separating your waste and placing it on your curb side you could at least support the local informal waste collectors who are cutting out a living for them selves by separating recyclables from the rubbish.

Compost: Start a garden compost heap or a worm farm . Organic kitchen and garden waste can be added to the  compost heap worm, or used to feed pets or birds. Contact the Fairest Cape (021) 462 2040 for more information and advice. Useful contacts and waste information can be obtained from me either via fax or email. (021)  7066622 or

Susanne Dittke (Integrated Resource&Waste Management Specialist) 


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