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.







Ecoffee Cup now available

The amazingly gorgeous Ecoffee cup is now available from Life Lived Simply.  For just R189, you will be prepared to always proudly refuse single use takeaway cups.

There are 6 different designs and the cup is 340ml.  So next time you want to grab a takeaway coffee, just hand over your cup and the barista can place it in directly.  Some stores even offer small discounts for using your own cup.

Best of all, you can sip with the confidence of knowing you are not contributing to the 100 billion single use cups that end up in landfill.

What I love about this cup is that it is light, and whilst the manufacturers do admit to it not yet being perfect, they are working on it.  The bamboo cup is made from naturally organic, naturally sterile bamboo fibre sourced from managed plantations in Anji province in central China; combined with non-GMO corn starch and a resin binder. The sleeve and lid are made from high quality food grade silicone – which is made from silicon (silica) and oxygen. Both elements are recyclable. It is free of BPA and phthalates, and if you look after it it should last a lifetime. The cup is biodegradable, you just need to crush it, soak it in boiling water and then bury it in organic compost, and it will take 24 – 36 months to fully biodegrade.

I particularly love that it is standard coffee cup size, as this avoids confusion at the counters.  I have already chosen my cup! Fits perfectly in my handbag along with my folded up cotton shopping bag, Freshbag, stainless steel straw and reusable napkin – so I am always prepared and able to politely refuse the single use.


As I mentioned in a previous post, I am working on the shop aspect of my site.  If you would like to order and Ecoffee cup, then drop me a line at mrscolleenblack@gmail.com. Check out the other waste producing products I have available too.

Refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle & rot – always in that order.

Why I love Resthaven Ministries

We found out about Resthaven Ministries  (NPO 013 389) through a very special couple we met through Riverside Community; Marcelle & Cory. Marcelle works for Door of Hope and Cory is involved at Resthaven Ministries, he runs Christian courses (parenting/caregiver, church planting, etc). Such an amazing couple.

It was late last year that we made our first trip to Resthaven.  Steve Rudd, the CEO, took us on a little tour and it didn’t take long for this organisation to creep into our hearts.

Resthaven was started in 1979 by the Saunders, and these days, Steve is now holding the reigns.  I don’t even know where to start to try and help you understand just how much they do! They are so busy looking after so many people, as well as other small organisations in their area, that there has just not been time for things like running projects to try get funds in, or updating social media and websites etc. I am in awe at how much they are achieving and the difference they are making to peoples lives.

There are 3 houses; Camelia, Jasmin and Rose, where elderly people live and are cared for.  These are people who either have no family, have been deserted and/or have nowhere to go.  They receive a government pension of R1500, and they pay R1200 to stay at Resthaven, but this doesn’t cover their costs. This includes a live in Caregiver, all their meals, utility bills, laundry etc.  Resthaven also has two mini buses which are used to transport residents to hospital appointment, the shops etc. There is such a lovely homely  atmosphere at these houses, they are not institutions for the elderly, they are homes, and they are run like homes.

Then there is David House, where 7 children live with their house mother, Ronel and 2 Aunties.  The children are all HIV+; they are so healthy and well and this is all thanks to the meticulous care they have been given by Ronel, from the day of their arrival. They attend schools locally, some attending a Christian School and a couple of them attending a special needs school. They are all doing so well in school and whilst this does come at a cost due to the school fees, Resthaven are determined to keep them in place so they can continue growing in character and academically.  They receive a discount on the school frees which are a huge help, but these are still R2800 per child per month! They are involved in extramural activities; they have been sponsored their classes with Dance Mouse Johannesburg. These kids have some pretty good moves! Again, David House was like walking into any other family home, the fridge and walls had kids artwork, reports and certificates pinned up, and they even have their own pet dog, Fifi. Their main supporter is Kibwe Kids, and they could not run as they do without this invaluable support.

They are in the process of re opening their Baby Sanctuary, where they hope to start off with up to 6 babies.  They have had the centre revamped and they are just awaiting final sign off from Health & Safety, etc etc etc!

In addition to all of this, every week they are feeding families and distribute food and donations to other like minded organisations in their area. So if anything is donated to them that they do not have a need for, they share it.

What I love about Resthaven, is they are not dealing with numbers or beds.  They care for each individual and want the absolute best for that person. Steve and his wife Jackie are dedicating so much of their lives to Resthaven, and have actually adopted two children who are now in their teens, one of these kids was actually from Resthaven.

Resthaven run at a loss every year! Their buildings are in need of maintenance, some of the roofs are leaking and the gutters are in need of repair.  The mini buses which are used to transport the residents are on their way out! Next years school fees are looming at a rapid rate. They need extra security installed, CCTV, electric fencing etc, as their unfortunately have been incidents. The list goes on. You can support their GivenGain Maintenance fund here.

I have wanted to be involved or help in some way, but logistically, they are in Johannesburg and we are in Heidelberg, and now moving to the North Coast.  But then I realised I run my business in England from South Africa- location doesn’t matter?!  So I offered to help them online, with a new website and assist with their social media accounts and trying to raise awareness for them.  We also have some exciting projects coming up! I am also thanking the Lord for bringing us Jackie de Paiva of Everlasting Photography, as she has donated her time and talent to take photos for our new website!

So please do visit the Resthaven Facebook page and give it a like. If you are interested there are so many ways you can help.

  • You could offer the obvious –  financial support!
  • You could offer your time as a skilled trades person
  • You could volunteer to go paint the ladies nails or play cards with the men or even just chat
  • You could volunteer to play games with the kids
  • Maybe you are an art student – offer your time to do art classes in the kids holidays
  • Maybe you are sporty – offer your time to play soccer or games with the kids
  • Maybe you don’t have time or money, but you could help spread the word by telling your contacts about Resthaven, and sharing their posts on social media.
  • Donate some treats like nice toiletries or boxes of chocolates to the elderly folk. When given a box of biscuits, one lady remarked how thrilled she was as she couldn’t remember when last she had her OWN entire box of biscuits.

We can make such a difference to these peoples lives.  If you want to help but don’t know how, drop me a line and I can assist with ideas to suit your time, skill and/or budget.

If you are interested in finding out more, please do get in touch with me on hope@resthavenministries.co.za.



Menstrual Cup Outreach at The Khaya Centre

After much fundraising online and through Riverside Community Church, we managed to raise R22145 to buy menstrual cups from MyOwnCup, for underprivileged young girls and women.

Thank you to everyone, from around the world, who supported the project with donations and/or raising awareness by spreading the news via social media.

The BranchOut Team at Riverside connected me with The Khaya Centre in LeHae. The Khaya Centre is an organisation made up of a group of amazingly renovated, colourful shipping containers, and an equally amazing group of giving people. They provide a safe environment for children, youth and adults to learn, interact and play.

There is a children’s creche, library and computer centre which supports children within the LeHae community. They feed 1100 people a day, (yes that figure is correct!) and have their own bakery, housed in a shipping container, where they produce just over 100 loaves of bread a day. They have so many projects that are run from their centre. I was completely blown away, not just by work they are doing within their community, but by their passion for what they do.

Sara, from BranchOut and I met Cara of MyOwnCup at the Khaya Centre on the 7th May to meet the groups of women, so Cara could offer the training on the use of the menstrual cups.

Cara is passionate about these outreach projects, and it really shows in her enthusiasm whilst she is training the groups. She has such a fun, down to earth and genuine approach which makes it easy for women of all walks of life to feel comfortable to open up and learn together.

Here is a lovely little video that Cara took at the end of their last training session.

As I have mentioned before, this is something I would like to continue supporting.  I am in the process of sorting out the finer details to make it easier for people to donate and support the project. If anyone is interested in starting a  project in their area, but maybe aren’t too sure how to go about it, then please do get in touch with me and I can possibly help.  I would love to see more of these projects in place across the country.

JustGiving Crowdfunder for Menstrual Cups

So the JustGiving Crowdfunder ends tomorrow.  We have been trying to raise funds to buy approximately 300 menstrual cups for under privileged girls in high school in Johannesburg South.  Between the crowdfunder and money raised offline, we have just over R11 000, enough for about 73.  As of 4.35pm!

If you missed the previous post about it, you can read more here.

There is still time to donate https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/menstrualcups.  Just over R5000 has been paid directly to me, as some South Africans have found this easier.  So depending on where you live, you can eft or pay cash. You can reach me on 079 355 3666 or mrscolleenblack@gmail.com.

Even if you can’t support financially, please spread the word on Facebook, whatsapp and any way possible.

We will start with the Matric girls and work our way through the school. I will be placing our order with Cara at My Own Cup , a proudly South African company, in the next week or so, as we hope to carry on raising funds even after the crowdfunder closes.

Thank you to everyone who has helped so far – it is going to be life changing for these girls!

UPDATE 14 JANUARY: Between JustGiving, cash and direct transfers, we have received R12300 and the donations and interest are coming in fast than they were at the start! If any people, businesses, or girls schools are interested in getting involved here, please contact me on 079 355 3666 or mrscolleenblack@gmail.com.

Bulk App – Helping us shop package free

I would love for you to please help me get this BulkApp from Zero Waste Home updated with bulk shopping locations across South Africa and even worldwide.

Please let me know if you know of any shops that sell any foods, cleaning products, toiletries and even pet foods in bulk. In other words; places that you can refill your own containers/bags from drums or dispensers.

Would really love your help on this. Even better, download the app and start shopping without packaging!

Here are some screenshots of what is listed.

The app apparently has some glitches for some users, mainly android, but Bea Johnson is currently working with some volunteers on a crowdfunding campaign to get it fixed. The more info they have on there the better, let’s all help keep it going?! 

Should we rethink the advent calendar …

I recently read about about the Minimalism Game over at gruenish.com. The rules are simple, for each day of November you need to rehome the equivalent number of items.  So one item on the first day, two items on the second day, three on the third and finally ending with 30 on the 30th. But the trick is – nothing can go to landfill, so you need to sell it, donate it, recycle it, compost it etc. They have a group on Facebook; Minimalism Game – Zero Waste Edition, where you post your photos.

We have already thinned out so much of our stuff, and I don’t really want to be a total minimalist, just a teeny bit minimalist! So as I read the blog post about it, I had a lot different thoughts in a very short space of time …

I don’t know if I can find around 450 items to rehome … without entering Erik’s man cave …

We do have things to get rid of though …

Maybe we can do it in December rather …

It is nearly Christmas, which is all about the spirit of giving …

We usually have an advent calendar (reusable wooden one) …

Maybe we can do it as part of our advent …

Why on earth do we fill our advent calendar with treats to give ourselves ?!…

We should give away …

Advent CalendarAnd soooo … as our countdown to Christmas, we will rehome items every day. I imagine it will mainly end up being books, stationery, clothing, accessories, some ornaments, but will see what we discover along the way. I notice some people getting rid of extra toiletries, and Going Zero Waste suggested to hand them out in packs to homeless people – great idea!? So some things could just take a bit of imagination.

Because I spent so much time painting my little wooden advent calendar, I HAVE to use it! I am going to fill it with an assortment of little mini notes of things we could do, verses, motivational quotes etc.

Aside from not being organised enough to post daily what we are doing, I really can not be bothered.  But I will keep track of it and update this blog with what we manage to do up until Christmas.

So many of us are already so privileged in our lives, and I am not trying to be scrooge or take the fun and joy out of Christmas.  Christmas is a time of giving, and I have started to reconsider how I give, and to who.  Do I really need to fill a stocking with a bunch of fairly useless items because they are fun, and then buy a whole bunch of other presents?  Or do I buy one reasonable thoughtful present, and use the extra time, energy and money to give where there is far more need?  Old age homes, orphanages, homeless people, underprivileged schools, animal shelters etc.

Anyone else going to join in doing this, or something similar?  You could get your kids involved, they could give a book or small toy away that they no longer use, maybe a bunch of old crayons?  Take them to an underprivileged school or charity and let them learn the warm fuzzy feeling of giving!

I am quite excited about this!