The City of Cape Town has urged consumers to please shop with waste minimization in mind as retailers offer discounts for the Black Friday/Cyber Monday period. Additionally, large amounts of packaging waste should be reduced or properly disposed of.
While Cape Town families get ready to take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, the city wants to remind both citizens and businesses to practise waste avoidance, reduction, reuse and recycling while shopping and conducting business.
Many people use Black Friday and Cyber Monday to save money in the weeks leading up to Christmas, but it can also lead to excessive purchasing of unnecessary items.
A lot of the time, these are items like clothes and electronics that can be bought at a huge discount.
Studies have shown that Black Friday has a significant impact on waste volumes. High volumes of e-waste, which make up a large portion of everything purchased during these sales, will frequently end up in landfills after a short lifespan.
When shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the City suggests the following measures to help mitigate this:
- Buy only what you need. A shopping list can help to limit impulsive purchases.
- Buy in bulk and cut down on products with lots of packaging – refills and concentrates generally require less packaging.
- Choose durable products that won’t need to be replaced often.
The following will help lower society’s waste burden with regard to packaging waste:
- Look for the recycling logos on the packaging to help you identify the kind of plastic: look for a recycling triangle with a number between 1 and 7. When possible, avoid packaging with a 3 or 7 logo.
- Most polystyrene (Plastic No. 6) can now be recycled in Cape Town.
- Flatten cardboard boxes to save space when sorting them for recycling.
- Store paper and cardboard inside to avoid getting them wet.
- Make use of the city’s Think Twice recycling collection service if you live in a qualifying area. Find out if you qualify here.
- If your property does not yet benefit from municipal recycling collection, you can take recyclables to municipal drop-off sites or buy-back centres.
- The City has a waste recyclers map listing private recycling initiatives (collection services and buy-back centres) operating throughout Cape Town.
The city suggests the following for the disposal of cell phones, computers, refrigerators, irons, stoves, televisions, etc.:
- Returning broken or old phones to cell phone outlets throughout the city, where possible.
- Upgrading, repairing, or reconditioning appliances where possible.
- Taking old appliances and computers to a city drop-off location for possible reuse or refurbishment.
- Donating older but functional appliances to a school or charity.
Alderman Grant Twigg, Mayoral Committee Member for Urban Waste Management, said:
“In recent years it has become clearer that we need to do more than just recycle to address our world’s waste challenge. We also need to think about designing waste out of our economy. Consumers can help speed up this process by shopping at places or buying products that demonstrate commitment to the waste avoidance, reduce, reuse and recycle principles. For instance, there are online retailers that use almost comically-big boxes packed with filler to deliver small, non-fragile items. While the excessive packaging may be amusing, it is actually slowly killing our planet.”
He continued, “One of the key tools to reduce waste is the circular economy. Our economy developed over time to be mostly linear in terms of materials: we make goods, use them, and then dispose of them. The City and residents now need to come together to keep goods and materials in use for as long as possible, extracting maximum value from them, and then repairing and repurposing them when they break. We tend to lack awareness of the time and effort required to produce a simple tin or bottle, but if you really think about all the labour and resources that went into producing these items it makes much more sense to reuse or recycle them instead of simply throwing them away.”