The Benefits of Eco-Friendly Living in South Africa (And Elsewhere in the World)

The state of South Africa has run the forefront of adopting green solutions to natural and eco-friendly living for a couple of decades already. The country is rich in natural resources, such as sunlight, water, wind, and more. Thus, leading a sustainable lifestyle is not hard at all if you reside in South Africa. The goal of this article is to introduce the major benefits of a green lifestyle and help you adopt affordable, easy solutions in your personal way of living that will benefit both you as an individual and the environment.

What Are the Principles of Eco-Friendly Living

Green living advocates for minimizing waste and treating the environment wisely, especially by limiting the use of our planet’s natural resources. Leading a sustainable lifestyle will help you become healthier. It has a practical aspect too – green living is incredibly cost-effective. Thus, you will be able to enjoy lower bills, easy maintenance of your home, and increased energy efficiency. Luckily, green living in South Africa is now easier than ever, since the country provides a lot of information and support to motivate citizens during their transition to a sustainable lifestyle.

What Will I Gain by Adopting an Eco-Friendly Lifestyle?

State officials and organizations frequently discuss the benefits of green living for the environment, but you might be asking yourself what individual gains you might expect for yourself by adopting a sustainable lifestyle. The truth is that – except for being morally rewarding – eco-friendly living has quite a few practical benefits including:

  • Reduced cost and increased energy efficiency
  • Higher water efficiency
  • Less maintenance of your home
  • Enjoying better air quality
  • Increased property value
  • Leading a healthier, more fulfilling lifestyle
  • Improved community life

As you can see, you and your family have a lot to gain from eco-friendly living, so let us go over the list and see how these benefits work in more detail.

Increased energy efficiency and lower bills

One of the highest living costs is electricity. As energy prices increase continually, our bills swell over time. Thus, more and more people are looking for ways to cut electricity costs. Thankfully, green living provides the perfect solution to this problem. The South African market offers numerous ways in which you can achieve greater self-sustainability of your home and lessen your expenses.

For instance, you could use solar panels to utilize energy from the sun. Also, you could have your windows designed so that they let in as much natural light as possible. This will cut down on your use of artificial lighting.

In general, optimizing the usage of natural sources of energy is good for the Earth because it helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It also lessens air pollution derived from producing electricity.

Higher water efficiency

Clean water supply has been crucial in South Africa. Therefore, green living is especially important to ensure a constant, reliable supply of clean water. Reducing water wastage will benefit you by lowering your water expenses. It is also quite affordable. All you need to do to achieve optimized water usage within your home are a few plumbing fixtures and rainwater reusing solutions.

Less maintenance of your home

This is usually not one of the benefits that come to mind frequently when people talk about green living. However, using green building materials can reduce your maintenance costs over time. The reason is that these materials are usually affordable and quite durable. Some of them include wood, bamboo, recycled steel, etc. Using such materials to build your home will help you save money and reduce your environmental footprint over time.

Better air quality

It is common knowledge that bad air impacts your health negatively. Air pollution can cause all sorts of illnesses, such as asthma and cardiovascular diseases. By living an eco-friendly life, we all contribute to improved air quality and a better, healthier lifestyle.

Increased property value

As we explained above, a sustainable home will help you reduce your living costs. However, did you know that using green materials together with the proper architecture can help you increase the worth of your property? This is something worth thinking about if you intend to profit from your home.

We already explained that green materials are cost-effective and durable. This means that your property will look new for a longer time and will require minimum to zero maintenance. Using different solutions to optimize the usage of electricity, water, and other natural resources will also reduce costs and is a huge selling point to attract buyers. In fact, a lot of research on the South African market points out that people are willing to pay significantly more for a self-sustainable, eco-friendly property.

Here is a great example of how green homes create value:

Leading a healthier, more fulfilling lifestyle

Green living has numerous benefits to your well-being. To begin with, you will get to appreciate a sense of fulfilment for helping the Earth emerge from the current climate crisis. In addition, an eco-friendly lifestyle directly impacts your health by virtue of the choices you make. For instance, you benefit every time you choose to walk or cycle instead of using your car.

Improved community life

Most of us live within a community, and that is why it is so important to invest in the well-being of those who surround us. Leading by example and showcasing the benefits of an eco-friendly lifestyle will motivate other community members to adopt it. This will improve their own state of life and will affect positively the environment. The latter is crucial to preserving the Earth for the future generations to come.

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The Best Examples of Green Architecture in South Africa

As we are faced with a global climate crisis, green living is becoming increasingly important. It is one of the best ways to create a more sustainable future for the generations to come. The reason is that green living impacts positively our environment by reducing the harmful toxins that pollute the environment. It makes us less reliable on non-renewable sources like fossil fuels for instance and introduces a sustainable way of existence that is easy to achieve and maintain.

South Africa is one of the countries which have fervently embraced the green lifestyle and has paved the way for many of the other states on the continent to do so as well. In this article, we are going to take a close look at some of the best examples of South African green architecture.

What Is Green Architecture?

A lot of you may be curious when you hear about green architecture. But what is it in essence? Green architecture is a way of creating and optimizing buildings while being cautious about the environment. It stresses on using renewable sources of energy, equipping new buildings with the relevant technology, and creating living or working spaces while attempting to reduce energy use.

Here are some of the features of a green building:

  • Efficient use of natural resources
  • Optimized solar energy use
  • Built using sustainable materials
  • Optimized waste management including recycling and reusing systems
  • Etc.

The Best Examples of Green Architecture in South Africa

South Africa has spearheaded the concept of green architecture. Many examples showcase the country’s readiness to accept a greener lifestyle and change the environmental circumstances we live in. Without further ado, we invite you to dive deeper into some of the best examples of green architecture in South Africa.

Building Affordable Homes for the Financially Challenged: The Sandbag Houses, Freedom Park, Cape Town, South Africa, Architect: MMA Architects

The MMA Architects

You thought energy-efficient solutions were for the rich only? Well, this is definitely not the case. The Sandbag Houses were built in a squatter area on the outskirts of Cape Town. The goal was to tackle the humanitarian crisis and introduce affordable living to families within the area.

This very interesting project dates as far back as 2007 and is authored by Design Indaba, a South Africa-based design organization. They wanted to build simple, energy-efficient homes for the low-income families inhabiting a squatter area near Cape Town. The project began with 10 pilot homes created using a basic mud-and-wattle technique, which is very cheap, highly energy-saving, and requires no skilled labour.

Sustainable Teaching: Vissershok School, Durbanville, South Africa, Architect: Tsai Design

One of the best ways to introduce an environment-conscious way of life is to teach the young generations by example, and this is precisely what the Tsai Design architects tried to do at Vissershok School in Durbanville.

The compact building is constructed from recycled shipping containers. It works like a classroom in the mornings. In the afternoons, it turns into a library. There is stepped seating so that children to eat their lunch inside. In addition, it allows them to hold school assemblies within the building because it acts as an amphitheatre.

Although Vissershok School was created on a very limited budget, the construction is highly energy-efficient. There is a huge roof to shelter the container from sunlight, and a gap to facilitate ventilation and reduce heat gain. The windows are also located in a manner that allows for cross ventilation. Additionally, the project features a green wall to shield the yard from the southwest wind. It also acts as a vegetable garden. Here is a short video presentation of the concept:

Affordable, Customizable Living: Ecomo Homes, Franschhoek, South Africa, Architect: Pietro Russo – Ecomo

The Ecomo Homes in South Africa are an excellent solution for everyone who wishes to live sustainably on a budget. They are very affordable featuring readily available and cheap materials, which are also great for achieving energy efficiency. To minimize waste, the Ecomo Homes are built in a South African factory and are then installed on-site. A great thing about them is that the square modular units are highly customizable. They allow different arrangements to serve all kinds of family living purposes.

Sustainable Working: The Africa Centre, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, Architect: East Coast Architects

The Africa Centre is a sustainable masterpiece located in the northern parts of KwaZulu-Natal. The project features a 15-metre water tower thermal stack to assist the natural ventilation. The open-plan offices allow maximum exposure to natural light. The compound is built mostly of local materials including eucalyptus poles and thatching laths. Natural water usage is also optimized by channelling stormwater into wetlands and using greywater to irrigate the garden areas. In addition, the entire sewerage is performed on-site.

Environmental-Friendly Tourism: The Woodlands Spa and Forum, Homini Hotel, Cradle of Humankind, South Africa, Architect: Activate Architects

The Woodlands Spa and Forum of the Homini Hotel is a brilliant example of advancing sustainability in tourism. It fits perfectly into the surrounding wildlife to even allow small animals to graze on the rooftop. The gardens showcase indigenous plants, and the construction is built using reclaimed bricks.

Preserving Wildlife: The Karoo Wilderness Centre, South Africa, Architect: Field Architecture

Another masterpiece of sustainable architecture in South Africa is the Karoo Wilderness Centre. The compound has been excellently integrated into the local landscape and applies various solutions to achieve energy efficiency and preserve the environment. One of them is the rainwater capturing system, which allows maximum usage of natural water resources to ensure the Centre’s self-sustainability.


As you can see, South Africa is working hard to optimize the use of its natural resources and preserve the environment. The country implements a growing number of self-sustainable solutions for living, working, and leisure purposes that are locally sourced and highly affordable.

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environmental protection

South Africa’s “Rethink the Bag” after More Than a Decade of Success

In 2010, Hayley McLellan, the then-Senior Bird Trainer at South Africa’s Two Oceans Aquarium, launched what started as a personal campaign to diminish the use of plastic bags in an attempt to save the environment. Soon enough, the Rethink the Bag initiative attracted the attention of the country’s media, institutions, and citizens and quickly gained traction to become one of the longest, most viable green initiatives in South Africa. The Two Oceans Aquarium embraced the project and used its own resources to promote it. McLellan became Environmental Campaigner at the Aquarium and things started to take off.

Now, more than a decade after the campaign began, we take a look back at so many years of hard work, dedication, and success to celebrate the country’s effort in promoting a cleaner environment and a healthier lifestyle. Before we begin, however, let us step back and reiterate why it is essential to limit and if possible – altogether abandon – the use of plastic bags.

Why Are Plastic Bags Bad for the Environment?

Plastic bags are extremely hard to decompose. It takes up to 300 years for them to dissolve. What is worse, they release toxic substances into the soil when left exposed to sunlight for a long time. On top of that, they also emit hazardous substances into the air, which makes them impossible to burn.

Thus, plastic bags are left to rot in landfills all over the world. The consequences are dire, ranging from littering and stormwater drain blockages to carcinogenic diseases and extreme marine pollution. Talking about the latter, we have all seen footage of sea animals being entangled in plastic bags. In addition, many marine creatures mistake the dangerous debris for food and swallow it, thus causing significant health damage and even death. One of the best ways to better understand why plastic bags should be banned is to hear what Hayley McLellan herself has to say:

The Pledge

It is interesting to note that the Rethink the Bag Campaign relies heavily on people to pledge they will abandon the use of plastic bags. What gave a boost to this part of the project was the 2018 pledge of 50 top South African celebrities, who promised they would only use linen bags.

The pledge campaign was a huge success and turned into a social media sensation. South Africa’s most famous people would use various Internet media to post motivational footage and explain why saving the environment and living a green lifestyle is key to the survival of humankind and our planet.

Of course, we all know about the power of celebrities to influence the masses in general and young people in particular. Luckily, South Africa is the home to many famous people who advocate for combating the global climate crisis by adopting a greener, eco-friendly lifestyle. Here are some of the celebrity Rethink the Bag pledgers:

Zolani Mahola

Zolani Mahola, a strong supporter of sustainable living, was born and raised in the city of Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa. She is a celebrated singer, actress, and storyteller. Mahola is also known under the stage name The One Who Sings. Since 2019, she has pursued a solo career and devoted herself to various causes including preserving the environment.

Siv Ngesi

Siv Ngesi is one of South Africa’s most influential stars. He is an actor, dancer, comedian, and human rights activist. In addition, Ngesi is a celebrated social media influencer. He is famous for embracing a lot of causes that help advance humankind, and sustainable living is just one of them.

Rati Lekalakala

Born and raised in South Africa, Rati Lekalakala is a social media sensation across the country. The young fashion and bikini model has made quite a career on Instagram and is celebrated for her sophisticated looks and style.

However, she is not all about glamour. Lekalakala also runs a vegan and sustainability blog called Keratilwe and is extremely devoted to the cause of preserving the environment. She has successfully leveraged the power of social media to promote eco-friendly ideals and inspire tens of thousands of followers, especially young people, to adopt sustainable living habits.

Jordy Smith

Jordan Michael “Jordy” Smith is one of the most famous South African sports celebrities. He is a pro surfer, who competes in World championship tour surfing (WCT). He has won numerous prizes and competitions throughout his professional career. An interesting fact about him is that he started surfing at the age of 3.

Nik Rabinowitz

Nik Rabinowitz is a popular comedian, actor and author born and raised in South Africa. He has made guest appearances on many comedy shows and starred in the 2012 movie Material. Rabinowitz also works as a presenter on SABC and has published a book called South Africa: Long Walk to a Free Ride.

Siba Mtongana

Sibahle Mtongana, also known as Siba Mtongana, is a South African celebrity chef. She is a renowned TV star who has her own show called Siba’s Table. The mother of four children, she is passionate about food and green living and has supported many environmental causes.


If you are passionate about preserving the environment, you can also join the Rethink the Bag initiative. Regular people can become pledgers, too. All you need to do is go to the campaign’s website and fill in the pledge form. If you are looking for more green causes, you can also check other organizations and initiatives in South Africa, such as:

  • The Green Belt Movement (GBM)
  • Environment Liaison Centre International (ELCI)
  • Giving Life Nature Volunteer
  • African Youth Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC)
  • Green Africa Foundation
  • and more.
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Easy Ways to Live a Greener Lifestyle in South Africa

Did you know that there are small everyday changes you can introduce into your life that can make a huge impact on the planet over the long run? We are talking about simple steps in which South Africans can improve their well-being and save the Earth. Here are some of the best ways to adopt new, more environmental-friendly habits.

East Less Meat

We bet many of you did not know that reducing meat consumption can have a great positive impact on the environment. The reason is that more than 30% of the land on our planet is used to raise and sustain cattle. As a United Nations study points out, the livestock sector is responsible for producing a large share of harmful greenhouse gases.

Thus, limiting our meat consumption can make a big difference in addressing global warming. Raising less livestock will also allow for alternative uses of the spare land. Last but not least, a diet with limited meat intake is beneficial to the human health. Fortunately, there are many quite tasty and affordable meat substitutes. You can also increase your vegetable consumption and eat more seafood.

Abandon Plastic Bags Altogether

South Africa has been big on the #RethinkTheBag initiative and for a good reason. Plastic is very harmful to the environment due to many factors we are all well familiar with. However, quite a few people continue to be heavy users of plastic bags.

Luckily, there is a solution to this problem. Stores in South Africa offer canvas bags as an eco-friendly alternative to their plastic counterparts. The great thing about canvas bags is that they are reusable, and you can use them to store different items after you return from your trip to the store. To add more benefits, a canvas bag is more durable and can hold more goods. Also, it comes in handy when you have to pack and move from one place to another.

If you cannot let go of your plastic bags altogether, maybe at least you can limit their use and stop getting them every time you go shopping. A good way to manage usage would be to store the bags and reuse them over time. Recycling also helps, so make sure to do that as well.

Use Less Paper

South Africa is a big, industrialized country, and hundreds of thousands of offices every day resort to excessive use of paper. We need to put an end to this to save our planet. Therefore, we have to limit our use of paper and recycle more.

This should not be hard in today’s modern world, where technology is easily accessible, affordable, and present in every aspect of our life. Therefore, we need to think carefully before printing and recycle our printed paper as much as possible. In fact, the EPA has found that recycling one short ton (910 kg) of paper saves 17 mature trees. In addition, it takes less energy to create paper from recycled items. Here is how paper is recycled:

Save Energy in Your Home

We talk a lot about saving energy on this blog, so let us just remind you that you can easily cut back on energy in your home and lower your bills significantly. Some of the small changes you can apply starting today include unplugging appliances when they are not in use, washing your clothes on cold whenever possible, and avoiding the dryer as often as possible. After all, we have plenty of sun and wind in South Africa, so for the most part, your clothes will be dry within hours.

Saving energy includes also buying the right lightbulbs. Whenever a lightbulb burns out, make sure to replace it with a compact fluorescent light (CFL). Not only do CFL bulbs last much longer but they also use way less electricity than the regular ones. On top of that, they are brighter, so you will actually end up needing fewer lamps.

Use Water Wisely

Saving water is just as important as saving energy. Not only will you help the environment but you will also end up with a fuller pocket. An easy and simple step you can take right now is replacing bottled water with filtered tap water. Purchasing a water filter is great, and so is installing a low-flow showerhead. This will help you save water from your showers and will lower your bills.

Avoid Excessive Buying

There is no need to go over your budget and burden the planet by buying new items you do not need. For instance, a lot of things can be rented or borrowed. Also, you can find second-hand items that are just as good as new and cost way less. What an excellent way to save money and the environment both at the same time! Here are some items you can buy second-hand:

  • Clothing
  • Toys and games
  • Tools
  • Sporting equipment
  • Musical instruments
  • Bicycles

Have a Compost Bin

If you are into gardening, starting a compost bin is absolutely a must. No longer will you need to tour around with your car buying expensive compost when you can produce your own literally for free out of the things that would otherwise end up out with the trash.

Limit the Use of Paper

Paper towels are still widely used in households in South Africa today. However, this can harm the environment. Using regular rags is way more eco-friendly and also saves you money. You can make your own rags by cutting up old clothes and this will save you a fortune in the long run. After you use the rags, collect them and wash them together. That is all it takes to have a clean, eco-friendly, and cost-effective home!

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Welcome to This Blog

Welcome to our blog about green solutions to sustainable and eco-friendly living in South Africa. Our country is rich in natural resources, and we have been blessed to live among some of the most amazing natural habitats on Planet Earth. However, the world is facing a global climate and environmental crisis, and there is no better time to act than now.

This is how the idea for this blog was born. Our team strongly believes in spreading the word about the latest solutions that can help us lead healthier, more fulfilling lives in a sustainable environment and preserve nature for future generations. Here are some of the articles you can expect to read on our page:

Information about State Measures and Policies

Thankfully, South Africa has been one of the leading countries on the continent in introducing positive change and sustainable solutions to pending environmental problems. We have been the first to tackle many issues and prevent quite a few ecological catastrophes within the region.

Therefore, we are dedicated to providing timely, relevant, and sufficient information to help our readers understand the importance of state measures and policies when it comes to saving the environment. We are also very keen on giving ideas and delivering solutions that derive from the experience of our authors and many other experts and activists. The reason is that we believe unified action is the best approach to addressing environmental challenges.

Everyday Green Life Hacks

Big-scale positive change often starts with small everyday steps performed by individuals in their daily lives. Therefore, we aim to bring to your attention easy and affordable ways that will help you live a greener, eco-friendly lifestyle. The ultimate goal is to improve the environmental conditions, your health, communities, and the world in general.

There is a lot of misconception when it comes to green living. Many people still believe that it is expensive or it requires a lot of effort. However, this is not the case. As you will find out, our blog is full of all sorts of tips and tricks that need next to nothing to be implemented. Sustainable living is totally possible even on a budget. What is more, in most cases it will actually help you save money and time, and we are committed to showing you how.

Of course, some sustainable living solutions do ask you to invest a certain amount of money. In such cases, we take extra effort to provide you with the most reasonable alternatives and help you get the best return on your investment. We have on our team experts in green engineering and architecture who explain in great detail the best ways to make your homes and offices more eco-friendly while not only saving money but actually profiting in the long run.

Last but not least, there are many little-known secrets to making your everyday life more sustainable and reducing your carbon footprint. We will tell you all about them and we are also going to debunk some myths that might prevent you from embracing an eco-friendly future for yourself, your family, and your community.

Solutions for Businesses and Working Spaces

Businesses and corporations are also a major driving force in introducing positive change to the environment. Now, more than ever, we need an all-encompassing approach to tackling ecological and humanitarian challenges, and it would be impossible without the active participation of business organizations. Therefore, we publish a lot of articles aimed at incentivizing businesses to jump in and adopt different solutions. The latter include but are not limited to implementing eco-friendly processes and technologies, optimizing company buildings, motivating employees to apply green habits in their work life, introducing sustainability programs, and many more.

Motivation for Young People

We believe it is especially important to motivate young people to develop an eco-friendly mindset. Introducing the right habits is of primary importance, so we feature numerous articles where we describe in detail the possible ways to involve the youth in tackling environmental challenges. To make our information more accessible, we use a language and style that is appropriate for younger audiences.

In addition, we also partner with other media and various institutions to organize and support initiatives for young people to help them gain hands-on knowledge about environmental issues. We describe and document our experience in great detail on the pages of this blog to motivate more youngsters to participate in similar projects. We take our role of educating the future generations very seriously and strive to give the best of our efforts in this regard.

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