Recycling & re-use

We don’t need to draw on examples of the tonnes of litter that have accumulated in remote parts of our oceans, or the way that it clogs up the intestines of ocean birds on islands that have never seen civilisation. We have  heard these stories but I believe we also innately understand the simple equation: plastic does not disintegrate, or it does so so slowly that it is insignificant (it takes 450 years for a plastic bottle to disintegrate). In our hugely overpopulated world, where even our apples come styrofoam and plastic-clad, plastic is just adding up. Something has to give.

Ours has been a diposible society – with marketers appealing to our lazy self-centredness. Everything is packaged to our absolute convenience, and to stand out and be memorable as a brand. Products are specifically designed to have a life-span, to be replaced. But rather than this being simply “the way things are,” it is a habit, a cultural phase, another one is possible.

The ecological refrain has been to recycle. Yes, of course it is better to recycle paper, plastic, glass and tin, rather than them ending up in our oceans or us having to draw again on natural resources to create new products. But recycling also uses energy and creates pollution. What about the idea of re-use, the obvious answer of a few generically shaped bottles – as with our old beer and milk bottles – to be reused until they start to look old and scuffy at which point they can finally be recycled.

This is the change that Natural Yogi aims to inspire and contribute to and at the end of this page we offer some resources on other inspiring movements and individuals committed to bringing about this change.

More than the revolutionary concept of offering refill packs in biodegradable packaging and including the stickers so that we can re-use any pre-existing packaging, at Natural Yogi we choose our packaging specifically so that it is generic, so that we would be happy to re-use it.

In the production process we attempt to be as conscious as possible of finding new uses for the packaging of our raw materials before we recycle them. We also constantly investigate ways to reduce the amount of packaging of our raw materials.

At present the only parts of Natural Yogi’s refill packaging that are not recyclable or biodegradable are the labels and their backing. The labels were chosen specifically for their ability to easily peel off and on, and for their generic beauty – to become the proud emblem of re-use. They were the compromise we found to easily enable brand specificity with the generic packaging. Hopefully we will get recyclable or compostable labels in South Africa soon.

Taking more care with our packaging may be more time-consuming, but there is also a joy in it that comes with being forward thinking and with keeping the well-being of the whole, of our beautiful planet and others, in our awareness. It is also a truly yogic awareness.

The aim is also to make us feel the satisfaction of taking the earth into consideration so that we also feel inspired to do it in other parts of our lives.

Take a few moments to consider the following inspiring links around recycling and re-use by individuals, movements and organisations that are committed to bringing the same change into the world.

Bea Johnson – Zero Waste with Bea Johnson

Jeff Bridges and the The Plastic Pollution Coalition


Resources around recycling in South Africa

Guide to recycling in South Africa