When we lived in Cape Town, our suburb, Pinelands, was chosen to be part of a recycling pilot project. Every week we recieved a clear plastic bag with and you could then put all the week’s recycling into that and put it out with your wheelie bin the following week. I’m not going to list all the stuff that can be recycled but it’s a lot. The only small task one has to do, is rinse out any of the food containers.

It really was so easy and after a while it just becomes second nature. When we moved to PE, nothing like that existed and I found it extremely difficult to throw stuff away that previously we had recycled. Soon after arriving they ran an article in the newspaper about recycling and I found the name of a company that fetches your recycling once a week for a monthly fee of R40, which as far as I’m concerned, is really for nothing.

So, despite having a baby in nappies, we only have 1 black bag of rubbish a week. I know the nappy issue is another huge source of waste but here is my problem. I stopped breastfeeding 4 months ago and Ava still does about 5 to 6 poo’s a day. I do have a whole set of cloth nappies that I plan to start using just as soon as she slows down a little on the dirty nappy front. I used them during the day with Zoe, although never at night, and it was very easy. Zoe is a tall, skinny child, so the bulkier cloth nappies actually helped her to fit into clothes better. As soon as the pants were long enough, they’d be way too big around the waist so all her clothes had to be taken in at the waist. The nappies helped to hold them up a bit better which was great. My other dilemna now is that Ava is shorter and rounder, so back to square 1 on all the hand-me-downs as the elastic in the waist of all the pants will have to come out. At 11 months Zoe weighed 9,2kg and was 81 cm tall while Ava is 10,3kg and 77cm. It’s hilarious to see them in the bath, one with a round little tummy and one skinny one. Will be interesting to see if they stay that way, for Ava’s sake I hope not.

Getting back to the recycling story, we also have a worm farm, which I’m not a huge fan of but we get lots of worm-wee and lovely compost which is great as living so close to the beach means our soil is pretty sandy. We even have a grey-water recycling system. In theory this sounds good, but when you’re only allowed to use 500 litres of water a day per household (due to the drought) then it isn’t a great deal of water that lands up back on the garden. So, in my opinion, that was a huge waste of R10000 as we put in a borehole anyway, which I know is probably very un”green” but watching our garden dying was just awful.

When we do our renovations we’ll hopefully add a few more environmentally friendly options like solar heating for the pool and geysers and possibly even some lights, who knows.Just a pity all things “green” cost so much.


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