Tips From Cape Town, South Africa
As our municipality has no recycling initiative, we have started our own paper recycling initiative within our complex where we have approximately 100 residents. We contacted a paper company directly, who put us in touch with someone who collects the paper. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been so successful that other complexes in the area have started to do the same. With the money paid to us by the paper collection company, we have planted indigenous trees.
About two years ago my husband and I became semi vegetarians. We started by having one meat-free day per week, and we enjoyed the light, easily digestible food so much that soon we were not eating any meat at home anymore. My husband still eats meat during the day at work, and we sometimes still eat fish at restaurants, but we feel that cutting back has made a huge difference, and our health has improved too!
We compost all our left over food and vegetable peels. We have a bucket in the kitchen with a sealable lid to keep the flies out, and this only needs to be emptied every two weeks or so, which is no hassle at all. As a result of this, we seldom have more than a small shopping packet of refuse every week. We use a worm composting bin, but a compost heap in the garden is equally useful. There are many excellent websites and books on composting successfully.
We use the compost on our vegetable patch instead of chemical fertilizers. We have also tried to plant herbs and other companion plants strategically so that we donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t need to use any toxic pesticides. An excellent herb for the environment is Tulsi, also called Sacred Basil, which is said to absorb many more toxins from the air than other plants. On the seed packet it actually says Ã¢â‚¬Å“this could be the plant that saves the environmentÃ¢â‚¬Â.
I have started to replace all my cosmetic products with non chemical versions. I was amazed to find that a mineral salt crystal deodorant that I bought from a health shop actually worked better than any of the chemical commercial deodorants I had used, and lasted much, much longer. We also use a washing powder that contains no phosphates, leaving the washing soft enough that we donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t need to use softener anymore.
We are constantly looking for new ways to improve the environment, and have found that once you get started, it gets easier all the time!
Marcia W. -- Capetown, South Africa