Caring for the environment – small steps make a big difference

Taking care of the environment has never been more critical. There is no Planet B! While large-scale initiatives and policies are essential, small actions by individuals collectively also have the power to make a significant difference.

At Tafta, we believe in fostering a sense of responsibility towards our planet. When you think that many elders grew up in a time when global warming, recycling and greening were unheard of, it’s encouraging to see the way they’ve adapted, and their willingness to get involved in caring for the environment.

Regardless of age, anyone can get involved in these simple steps to help protect and care for the environment right here in Durban.

Recycle, recycle, recycle

Recycling is one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce our environmental footprint. At Tafta, seniors are encouraged to actively participate in recycling by sorting plastics, paper and cardboard, metal cans and glass bottles and placing them in the appropriate bins at our Homes.

Durban Solid Waste has 22 recycling plants and six ‘buy back’ centres where individuals can sell their recyclable waste, thus creating employment while encouraging people to clean up the environment.

Plant a Tree

Trees are nature’s lungs, and planting one is a lasting contribution to the battle against global warming. People who live in apartment blocks may have limited opportunities for greening their environment. That’s when creative thinking plays a role.

Planting shrubs and flowers is not only great for the environment – it’s also a wonderfully rewarding activity for elders. Spending time in the garden promotes wellbeing and calm, as well as opportunities to meet and socialise with fellow residents, while enjoying the beauty of nature.

Make your own garden compost

Composting is an eco-friendly way to recycle kitchen scraps while enriching your garden’s soil. Anyone can start a small compost bin in their own kitchen – a sealable container is all you need. Sprinkle some soil into the base and top with shredded newspaper. This helps to keep the balance of wet and dry in your compost and stops it from smelling.

On top of this goes used teabags, eggshells, vegetable peelings, apple cores and trimmings from your house plants.

Use your home-made compost to give house plants a boost, or start a mini herb garden on your kitchen windowsill. If you have more compost than you can use, offer it to neighbours or donate to a local community garden.

Save Water, Save the planet

Durban is known for its warm climate, but it also faces water scarcity issues. Encourage water conservation by fixing leaks, turning off the shower while you soap yourself, and collecting rainwater. If you use a washing machine or dishwasher, choose water-efficient models and use the eco-friendly settings.

Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose

Lead by example by embracing a “less is more” lifestyle. Charity shops can be a rich source of second-hand clothing, jewellery, kitchen items and furniture.

Crafting and upcycling are enjoyable hobbies that promote sustainability. With a little imagination, you can turn glass jars into unique and attractive vases. Or use them to store spare buttons, pins, washers and screws, etc. Wooden furniture that has water stains can be sanded down and repainted. Breathe new life in chairs with worn covers by re-upholstering them. It’s easier than you think!

Support Local and Sustainable

Make mindful choices when shopping – support local businesses or farmers and choose products with minimal packaging. This not only reduces carbon emissions but also strengthens the local economy.

Caring for the environment is a shared responsibility that transcends generations. At Tafta, we encourage seniors to take these small yet impactful steps to care for our planet.

Let’s work collectively towards a more sustainable and beautiful Durban for ourselves and future generations. Remember, it’s never too late to make a positive impact on the world around us.