Reduce waste this festive season

The holidays are almost upon us and the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) encourages South Africans to do their bit and minimise waste items generated, to ultimately lessen the burden on the environment.

1“The festive season is symbolic with delicious food and goods. In the spirit of this unifying time of year, we encourage all citizens to be mindful of waste items generated,” says Jan Palm, President of the IWMSA.

Palm shares that southern Africa is running out of landfill airspace and it is up to all of us to conserve our natural resources.

“It is critical that conscious consumerism becomes a habit. If you are going on holiday, find out beforehand where the nearest recycling depot is or whether your guesthouse recycles,” mentions Palm.

Here are some tips to create less waste, all year round:

  1. Separate your waste

It is very easy to set up your own waste separation system at home. Use two different bins, one for wet waste and the other for recyclable materials. “The wet waste should contain kitchen and food waste, which can easily be home composted. During the festive period, consumers tend to use more bottles and cans which are ideal for recycling. These items should, however, be empty since it won’t be recycled if it contains liquids,” shares Palm.

  1. Be a conscious consumer

Be mindful of what you buy at the supermarkets and opt for recyclable packaging. “Spending habits often change over the holiday season. Stick to your grocery list and if there is leftover food, donate it to the less fortunate or place it in your home composting heap. Holiday waste also has significant amounts of packaging, which should be recycled,” urges Palm.

  1. Smart gift-wrapping and decorations

Buy eco-friendly gift wrapping paper or do-it-yourself with old newspapers, cardboard boxes or old linen. “There are many tutorials on the internet these days for beautiful decorations and gift wrapping ideas that won’t break the bank,” mentions Palm.

  1. Report illegal activities

“Unfortunately, there will always be those who do not look after our environment. Report illegal dumping at 0800 205 005,” says Palm.

  1. Do your bit and clean up!

There are various beach clean-ups on the coastline. If you are going for a beach holiday, do your bit and join in.

“We encourage all South Africans to start being conscious consumers every day of the year. Start recycling and reducing your waste at home,” concludes Palm.

To find your nearest recycler, visit To find a waste management supplier, visit

For more information on the IWMSA, visit The IWMSA is also on Twitter ( and Facebook ( For more information on recycling and recovery, visit the National Recycling Forum’s website at

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