Paint your family green
Recycling junk, a smaller car: how far would you go?
Before I had kids I lived in a very trendy apartment in the City Bowl with a fab view of the mountain. It was one of those cool places where you left your bag of rubbish outside your back door every morning and someone would remove it for you. I never noticed how much I was actually going through as it never accumulated.

Along come kids, bring on suburban bliss and the government-issue black wheelie bin. In the first few months with my twins, we went through at least one of those bins a week. That’s just for one household, and a relatively small household at that! This is when I became a lot more conscious about what we consume as a family, and what we could do to improve.

Green is the new black, but being more green can be time-consuming and inconvenient for the busy parent. There are a few easy things you can do that will help you do your bit and will soon become part of your daily routine. I am going to be cheesy here and go with the 3 Rs of Green.


It sounds difficult but it really isn’t. There are quite a few recycling initiatives in most metropolitan areas in the country. I have found a few that will even collect and sort your recycling for you. All you need to do is separate non-recyclable from recyclable. You will be amazed as to how much can actually be recyclable, from frozen vegetable bags, to microwave meal containers and polystyrene. Once you see how much of this you actually go through in a week it’s difficult to justify not recycling.

Where to take your stuff?

Mama City

Footprints Environmental Centre
, cnr Camp Rd & St John's Rd, near Military hospital, Wynberg, Cape Town. Visit www.e-

Oasis Recycling Corner of Lee and Lansdowne Road, Claremont, Cape Town. Visit

Abundance recycling
will collect and deliver to both Footprints and Oasis. Contact them on (021) 674 2497


Mama She’s Waste Recyclers. 69 Serenade Road, Elandsfontein, Johannesburg. Call 011 828 7429

Resolution recycling will collect your recycling. Visit

Whole Earth collects just about everything recyclable, but operates in the Northern burbs only. Visit



As much as you can. Used paper from work can be used for your kids to draw on. Buy lots of Tupperware to store your food in instead of plastic storage bags and clingfilm. One Tupperware will last forever and the clingfilm will last once. Pass your baby’s clothes and toys on to a friend, family member or charity. Most baby clothes and toys are not locally made so reduce your carbon miles by sharing them! Buy cloth shopping bags and always keep some in the car.



Reduce the amount of waste you use by shopping clever. Buy loose fruit and vegetables instead of pre-packaged ones. Buy milk in sachets rather than bottles, it’s unnecessary to go through that much plastic for one litre of milk (you can also freeze sachets and they’re cheaper). Think carefully about your car needs before you buy one. Not every family needs 2 big cars. I recently traded my big ‘mom’ car in for a smaller run-around and have halved my petrol bill (and thus my CO2 emissions).

Being environmentally conscious doesn’t mean you need to wear tie-dye, be a vegetarian and not wear shoes. The smallest changes really can make a big difference and don’t infringe on your lifestyle at all!

Want to work out what your family’s carbon footprint is? Go to

Is your family green aware? Would you change your lifestyle to be more environmentally friendly?


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