Plastic Audit – we are on the right track!

Old Nick Village:
We have provided recycle bins for tenant’s waste (plastic, paper, tins, glass). This all gets collected by a chosen NPO who makes a small profit from the waste. The other bins in the village are sorted by ONV staff and the plastic is placed into the above recycled bins too. We do not make use of plastic in the everyday running of the village. We have formulated a policy and process to continue our endeavour to minimize plastic and waste within the entire village and we will be sharing this with everyone.

Penny Gum:
Minimal use of plastic – they use recycled plastic bags for rubbish collection and paper bags for items purchased at Penny Gum. Challenges to going plastic-free are the pre-packaged stock which is wrapped in plastic.

Pret a Pot:
Uses bubble pack to wrap the fragile ceramics and an alternative to this in terms of keeping the product safe in transit is still a challenge.

Eco School:
The Village Eco-preschool does not use plastic materials in the classroom. All their equipment is made from wood or metal. When walking into their classrooms, one will notice that there is absolutely no plastic on their shelves.
Their biggest challenge is finding good quality sandpit equipment that is not plastic. Also, a major challenge is educating parents about their no-plastic policy and getting them to refrain from plastic packaging in the lunch boxes.
Their future initiatives to reduce plastic usage is to formalise their plastic-free policy and be the first plastic-free preschool in Plett.
The Eco School urges all parents to PACK WASTE FREE FOOD. More than 50% of the items in their school’s bin come from food and drink packaging that is brought in by the children. In just one month they disposed of 80 plastic yoghurt cups. If parents continue to send disposable yogurt cups to school that will amount to 960 plastic cups in a year. That’s roughly 3 whole wheelbarrows full! As an initiative to achieve Plastic Free Ambassador status and to teach the next generation about the reduction of waste, they will no longer allow yoghurt in disposable plastic tubs at school and insist that your yogurt is packed in a reusable container.
‘We want to be the first school Ambassadors of the Renew Able Plett campaign”, says Inge. This is a campaign for Plett which incentivizes, celebrates and supports businesses, community organisations and schools to reduce waste to landfill, go plastic free, recycle, compost and make eco bricks for community building projects. Thus, creating healthier living systems, healthier lifestyles and local opportunities for renewable growth.
Long-term benefits will be less waste to landfill, saving the exorbitant cost of trucking waste to Mossel Bay, as we have run out of space in Plettenberg Bay, reducing litter and marine debris and its negative impact on ecosystems and putting Plett on the map as an eco-friendly, proactive town with aims to go plastic free.

Je Ne Sais Quoi:
Only use paper bags for shoppers. They still make use of bubble wrap as they have not found an alternative for wrapping fragile items. Challenges to going plastic-free are that customers obviously want their breakable items to arrive home safely. Where possible they use tissue paper but there are certain items that need more packaging and hence the bubble wrap, however they do recycle any bubble wrap that items received have been wrapped in. Future initiatives to reduce plastic usage is to try other packaging material and then we would be pretty much plastic free!

The only plastic in use is bubble wrap as they have not found an alternative lightweight solution but are looking for a solution.

Make Africa:
‘We cover all our books with plastic to prevent them from being shop soiled. We have been using plastic price tags for marking our stock but can change to raffia tags. We line our rubbish bin with plastic bags for ease in disposal and use bubble wrap, plastic tape for packaging and cello tape. We also use plastic sleeves and plastic laminating.”
Their challenge to going plastic-free is finding an alternative to bubble wrap and the coverings for books. They no longer use plastic packets for purchases.

They have always limited the use of plastic by sourcing and utilizing alternatives to plastics. Bottled water and soft drinks on offer, all come in glass. They make their own freshly pressed fruit juices, rather than buying them in, packaged in plastic. Their take-home bread is wrapped in a brown paper bag and they also sell ‘fresh bag’ cloth reusable bags. All takeaway meals are served in recycled cardboard boxes with bamboo cutlery plus they encourage the ‘B.Y.O.’ (bring your own) concept and customers who do this receive R2.00 off their takeaway. Roosts in-house table brown sugar is served from a reusable glass container (rather than in little plastic/paper sugar sachets). They don’t serve straws with drinks, but if customers want they can purchase bio straws made from a vegetable starch and fully compostable. They even stock reusable ceramic straws. Additionally, coffee cups and lids are fully compostable. They also encourage the ‘B.Y.O.’ (bring your own) mugs and customers receive R2.00 off their coffee. All plastic waste gets turned into Eco-bricks, food scraps go to a local pig farm, glass, tin, and cardboard are dealt with via the ONV recycling programme. Roost has an ‘in-house’ recycling team and holds educational classes with all staff, allowing them to be upskilled and informed and educated.
Challenges they face include education and awareness both for staff and customers. The customers are often the most ‘challenging’ when it comes to trying to become plastic free. Plastic wrapped food packaging remains another challenge because food needs to be hygienic and safe during transport and storage. Cost and availability are factors; bio/compostable/bamboo products compared to plastic products. Roost plans to continue with their initiatives to become plastic and waste-free and educate the wider community to follow suit.

Plastic bags are used to store the finished product for protection against dirt when in storage or when being transported to clients. Challenges to going plastic-free are finding alternative storage solutions which can keep fabric clean however they do reuse the bags. Mungo has done away with plastic tag guns (opting for linen string and safety pins) for product pricing and only use paper bags and brown paper for customer shopping. Our staff have been equipped with aluminum water bottles for drinking, to eliminate single-use plastic. All their products are produced from natural fibres and do not contain any synthetics/plastics in them. The same can be said of other products that we stock. Mungo goes to great lengths to find out how much if any plastics are used in the making and packaging of products they stock, how natural or recyclable the product is etc. A good example would be Kiwiet(recycled oak items), Roopip(cotton rope baskets) and Candylwood (recycled packaging and glass containers).

Food for thought: Could we develop an Old Nick Village protocol in terms of eco-friendly packaging but keep our individuality? Can we find an alternative solution to bubble wrap? Please send me your thoughts.

Leave a Reply