• Every day Cape Town produces on average 6000 tons of waste, or approximately 2.2 million tons per year. This is the equivalent of enough garbage trucks to fill the highway from Cape Town to Johannesburg. It is estimated that by 2012 there will be no more landfill space available in Cape Town.
• Apart for a small percentage of plastic that is incinerated (with highly toxic gasses released as a result), all the plastic that has ever been manufactured throughout the world is still here with us on earth. The world produces over 200 million tons of plastic every year, 94% of which ends up in landfills.
• Landfills regularly pollute the local environment, usually by contaminating groundwater and surrounding soil both during landfill usage and after closure. Landfills also release the greenhouse gas methane which is dangerous to both the environment and human health.
So what can you do to minimize your waste production? The 3 R’s; Reduce, Reuse and Recycle are an excellent place to start…
• REDUCE your consumption: Do you really need so many things? When you do need to buy something go for the most environmentally sustainable option wherever possible. Look out for biodegradable and recyclable components and packaging, and the less packaging the better.
• REUSE items before throwing them out: How about a great pair of vintage sandals? Or using old car tyres as herb pots? You can be really creative here, and it’s fun too!
• RECYCLE your waste: Compost organic waste and recycle paper, bottles, plastic and cans wherever possible. If it’s not recyclable should you be buying it in the first place?