There have been many calls of late for us to support our local businesses and tradespeople over holiday seasons; to buy South African, and to think outside of the box when it comes to our behaviour as consumers. The Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) adds its voice to these nationwide pleas and urges us all to reduce excessive Easter waste wherever possible.

Stan Jewaskiewitz, President of the IWMSA says, “On festive occasions such as Easter, we tend to purchase items we really don’t need and spend money we really don’t have in order to placate ourselves and others around us.  We feel obliged to buy into the commercialised racket that inevitably accompanies all our festivities. The human urge to celebrate and to give generously is strong and there is nothing amiss with that, however, if we stop buying into over-consumption, simply for the sake of keeping up appearances, we’ll be starting to change a mind-set which will eventually filter through to all areas of our lives, and hopefully stand the whole planet in much greater stead in the long-term.”

“As consumers, we can make a huge difference by voting with our Rands; by simply paying greater attention to our purchases. With the economy still very much in recovery and the cost of living ever-increasing, now is definitely the time to take a good long look at ourselves, and to make drastic changes in our wasteful behaviour.

Jewaskiewitz continues, “At Easter especially, our roads are congested:  in addition to general waste, more fuel is consumed because people are travelling, often in a hurry due to the short holiday period. We develop a ‘throw-away’ mentality whilst trying to cram as much as possible into the long weekend; beaches and picnic areas are once again littered with all types of waste, and of course there is an appalling excess of paper and plastic waste from a variety of visually appealing Easter ‘over-packaging’. As intelligent consumers we simply must pause to think about how we may be being duped into buying certain items, and how everything we purchase requires some form of energy to produce, often non-renewable. The question must be asked, how can we continue to justify such profligate waste?

“We, at the IWMSA encourage people to give more thought to what will most please those around them this Easter. Perhaps it will simply be the company of family and friends!  Let’s be conscious in respect of our consumption and less hedonistic in our approach. We urge South Africans to think carefully about whether they need that extra package of Easter eggs and not to purchase items that will spoil if they are not used.  At the very least, please remember to recycle whenever possible.”  Jewaskiewitz concludes.

The IWMSA focuses on providing education and training for its members, as well as other interested parties, whether private individuals or government entities.

The IWMSA is a non-profit organisation comprising a body of dedicated professionals in their respective fields, who give freely and voluntarily of their time and expertise in order to effectively educate, promote and further the science and practice of waste management.  For more information, visit: www.iwmsa.co.za

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