UPDATE: Zero Waste Home – South Africa Tour 2017

Bea Johnson of Zero Waste Home is the guru of the Zero Waste lifestyle. She is inspiring people around the world by sharing her journey through social media and being invited to give talks around the world. She has given 100+ speeches in 20+ countries on 5 continents, since 2011. She has spoken at The European Parliament, United Nations, Google, Adobe and more.

So imagine my joy when she asked if I would be interested in helping getting her to South Africa in May! Especially as she is the one who inspired me to start my journey.


Photo taken from Zero Waste Home.com

If you or your company are interested in assisting with sponsoring, making a donation towards the cost, or even hosting a talk, but would like any further information, please do get in touch with me to chat about it. You can reach me on mrscolleenblack@gmail.com.

Once we have venues confirmed, an event page will be created for each location, and all sponsors will be promoted via these pages. In the meanwhile, please express your interest on the event page on Facebook by selecting “Interested” or “Going”.

Our major sponsors are EcoJarz and Faithful to Nature.  We also have support from Ecoffee Cup SA and KURO-Bō Activated Charcoal.

Thank you to our organisers – Eco Atlas, Rethink the Bag / Two Oceans Aquarium and Food & Trees for Africa.

Zero Waste Home Tour SA Cover

5th May – Cape Town – Two Oceans Aquarium (Organiser: Rethink the Bag)
6th May – Plettenberg Bag – Beacon Island Resort (Organiser: Eco Atlas)
8th May – Durban – venue to be confirmed (Organiser:Food & Trees for Africa)
9th May – Johannesburg – venue to be confirmed (Organiser:Food & Trees for Africa)

Please do help spread the word by sharing this info and reaching out to your contacts so that we can make this a reality! Invite your friends, tag them, share this post, phone your friends, talk to relevant businesses, do whatever it takes!
If you would like to support this, you or your business can make a pledge on our crowdfunder on ThundaFund.







The change seems to be in your wallet!

A zero waste lifestyle (or the attempt at one), is not something that just happens, it happens as we educate ourselves, grow, motivate each other and grow even more!

Everywhere we look we are told we should recycle.  If we recycle, we are doing our bit for the planet. But you soon discover recycling is not actually the answer. Reducing the packaging you buy, that needs to be recycled, that is the answer. Just because something is recyclable doesn’t mean it gets recycled. We need to give more thought to what happens to things we purchase & consume not just when they are in our hands. What happens to that plastic bag or tin after you have placed it in the recycling bin?

greener-grassYou then start thinking further, about who is producing your food, how they are doing it and what effect their processes have on our planet.  Whilst we should be super conscious of what we eat, what we buy, our waste, our electricity, water and fuel consumption … what about the shops and organisations we support?  If they are not making careful and considerate choices behind the scenes and doing the best they can to care for the environment, should we be supporting them? For example, the restaurant that doesn’t even recycle, uses disposable cutlery, and sends tons of food waste to landfill and does who knows what else?! Should we be supporting them?

We have so much power in our wallets.  Give your support and hard earned money to the businesses who care; who care not just about you and giving you the best, but by doing their best for the environment at the same time. We each have the power to make a difference.  Most of the time, it doesn’t feel like we are making a difference – but trust me – we are!

The way we will make change is by being the change we want to see.  We need to not be discouraged when seeing other people using disposables, and by seeing all the litter. We need to just do our best with what we have.  Stay positive and just always do our best to vote with our wallets. It is so easy to get despondent when things don’t go as we hope, but this won’t benefit anyone.

I know, it is easier said than done.  I am not a crazy person who has taken leave of my corinthianssenses. But we really can make change by making better choices and voting with our wallets. Be brave. If your local store is not meeting your needs, let them know.  Don’t be a whinge bag about it, but just let them know that you love their products/service, and want to see them do well, and suggest some changes.  Don’t be disheartened when you don’t hear what you want to hear. Put yourself in their shoes, they might have thought they were doing fantastically (with what they knew). Just stay positive.  You have done your bit by letting them know, rather than just not supporting them without giving them a chance.

There is a South African website called Eco Atlas; a platform for ethical businesses to advertise their establishments or products, as long as they meet certain criteria. If you are going on holiday, why not choose a guest house who has proven to make good choices.  Also see what shops, products or restaurants are in your local area.  Maybe you know a business that should be listed, nominate them!

Eco Atlas is a great platform to help us seek out the organisations who are really doing their best to care for our earth and it’s people and animals.  Help Eco Atlas grow to make it easier for people all over the country to educate and motivate each other and vote with their wallets. Also check out their Facebook page, lots of info to educate and inspire change.

No I am not saying you mustn’t recycle – I am saying stop buying so much stuff that needs to be recycled.  I am saying you must reduce your single use packaging, especially plastic.


Reduce Waste to Landfill – South Africa

I created a group on Facebook called Reduce Waste to Landfill – South Africa, because I wanted a one stop spot for sharing tips on where & how to shop in SA to reduce waste. Also a place to share ideas and motivate each other, some might even choose to collaborate on various projects.

Whether you are a zero waste guru, or whether you have only just started using reusable shopping bags, whether you are vegan or a meat eater; all are welcome. It is only specific to South Africa.


💚 Share positive tips on what you do to reduce your waste.
💚 Share tips on good places to shop packaging or reduced packaging free.
💚 Share useful websites and articles on reducing waste.
💚 Share your relevant blog posts.
💚 Businesses can promote their page/product no more than once a week.
💚 Ask for advice.
💚 Be sure to check out the files tab for info on useful products and links.
💚 Be nice.


💙 Use bad language
💙 Make political or racist comments
💙 Post graphic pictures or videos
💙 No judgements of vegans, meat eaters, milk drinkers etc etc etc.

Spread the word and let’s all help each other reduce our waste to landfill and live healthier, happier lives in our beautiful country, South Africa.


All the Zero Waste Fails in Botswana

IMG_2681So as you will know, since July 2015 I started to keep all our landfill waste in a jar. Why? So I could see exactly what my landfill waste is, rather than throwing it “away” and not thinking about it.  This system worked really well for us. Our large old rubbish bin is used purely for recyclables, and our food waste goes into our bokashi composter.  With thoughtful consuming, we didn’t have all that much waste really.

By the end of May 2016 the jar was pretty much full, and I was planning on starting a second one soon. For me,it is the most obvious way to have a neat, visual reminder every day, as well as a perfect example when explaining zero waste. It’s not for everyone, but I would highly recommend separating your landfill waste, recyclables and food waste for a week or two.  It is the perfect way to see how you can improve.

So come end of May we were preparing for a holiday in Botswana with friends (not into zero waste). I was in charge of organsing food and drink.  It was all going so well, I had baked rusks and other treats and precooked some snacks, managed to buy biltong, some meat, vegetables, fruit, cheese, olives and milk all package free.  But as I was walking through Woolies to get some eggs, I passed a shelf of bacon and it hit me; it was all going to fall apart on this holiday!  Bringing out the skottel for fried eggs for breakfast without bacon? I would be strung up!  So I bought a few packs of bacon, as I cannot find it at any butchers, bizarrely. First fail.

I had packed two tubs for compost and a bag for recyclables.  So efficient, I know.  Efficient? More like completely ineffective.  First night camping, before we even crossed the border, I emptied a large bag of recyclables, landfill waste and compost into a general bin. Gosh. Second fail.

So all is going well, absolutely flipping loving the holiday (will blog separately) and we were planning on stopping in Maun to stock up on vegetables and meat.  But it was fine, because I was totally prepared for this very moment.  I had my tubs to take to the butchery counter, and I also planned on buying whatever vegetables I could package free between the grocery store and the market on the streets in my bags.  But we changed our plan, stayed at extra night at an awesome camp, instead of overnighting in Maun, which meant we were on severe time constraints to be able to get to the next camp before dark.  So we turn up at an awesome butchery where they also have vegetables, eggs and everything we could need.  I waltzed in armed with my tubs and shopping bags to discover everything was in plastic and vacuum packed – except for the biltong – I won with the biltong!!! This is where you learn to pick your battles! So we bought an abundance of packaged meat and vegetables to see us through for the rest of the journey. Third fail.

So between the complete awesomeness of Botswana and zero willpower, I absolutely chowed down on packaged vegetables, ate packaged slabs of chocolate as if my life depended on it, and quite frankly didn’t give a damn.  I was in Botswana with awesome friends and elephants and lions?!

So not all went to plan. But lessons were learnt.  For better waste organisation system in future, but also just to remember to always just do the best with what you have, when you can, never give up and just keep trying. Maintaining a positive attitude and never giving up- Win!

So now we are back home and back in routine.  Need to figure out what to do with my full waste jar! Think I will definitely start another one, I find it really motivating.

Menstrual Cups – complete life changer

I am just going to jump straight into what is going to be a pretty brief blog post. The punchline – stop using tampons or pads and start using a menstrual cup.

I have been using a menstrual cup for years.  When I was living in England, I bought a MoonCup, and the first 3 cycles were slightly awkward whilst I got used to the inserting, removal, and generally just “being” with a silicone cup … there.

I will NEVER go back. Two examples of many I can give you where the menstrual cup has been invaluable.  Because you naturally get your period when you go on holiday.

One weekend at our new small holding, without running water or flushing toilet and a serious ration of water because I forgot to pack enough. Menstrual cup – no problem.

Holiday at Mabibi with over 100 steps down to the beach from our campsite. Inserted cup in the morning, removed in the evening on our return.  Up and down those steps every 3-4 hours with a tampon; no thanks.

There are a few rather odd, in my opinion, reviews from women who mention the words gross and blood bath. Seriously, we are grown woman, it is bodily fluid, get a grip and move on.

I would choose using and emptying a menstrual cup, which will last me many many years, over having a tampon, (which unless you buy organic) has been made with cotton sprayed with pesticides and has potential to cause TSS (not a myth – this actually happens), and then flushing these millions of tampons down a toilet, or putting them in a bin for them to sit festering in landfill or better yet … wait for it … the sea.  Nice.

mooncupThere are a gazillion different options out there, I personally have the Mooncup, probably because it was the most advertised one I saw all those years ago. Which was probably around 2009, and it is still perfect.  For those in South Africa, there is the MyOwnCup which is produced locally.

UPDATE OCTOBER 2016: You can now buy the MyOwnCup directly from me here in South Africa! I love it because it is made locally and Cara does outreach workshops where underprivileged girls can learn more about their monthly cycle and how to use a menstrual cup.sku5072-myown-cup-large