Why Up-Cycle?

Up-cycling is a term used to describe the process of transforming old clothes or furniture into something new, using arts, crafts and tons of imagination. This trend is gaining traction in 2020, as consumers understand the need to re-purpose their used goods to save water, energy and scarce resources. The ‘fast fashion’ industry, which encourages shoppers to buy new items of clothing as soon as their old ones go out of style or become worn, is making way for a more sustainable and eco-conscious way of dressing. Get yourself into the up-cycling mindset by digging into those cupboards for old jackets, t-shirts, denims and shirts. Every little bit counts towards making a change.

How To Get Started Up-Cycling

The first step towards becoming a full-on up-cycler is to change your mindset. Rather than imagine all the new things you could be buying ahead of the impending winter season, think about how you can transform what you already have. If you are low on time and creative skills, consider investing in a few staple pieces from these sustainable fashion brands or go on a thrifting spree in the city (once lockdown is over, of course). When it comes to second-hand furniture and trinkets, Joburg has many hidden nooks to explore and find some true secret gems. You may also need a little help getting started on your up-cycling journey. Check out Up-Cycled Furniture for inspired furniture revamps at affordable prices.

Up-Cycle Fashion Trends 2020

Now that you're well acquainted with the idea of up-cycling, why not try to revamp some of your old clothes? Here are some of the top up-cycling fashion trends for 2020:

Denim Jackets

Denim jackets never go out of style and are so versatile you can wear them with almost anything. Plus, they are perfect for days when the weather is overcast or just a little chilly. Don’t throw out a worn denim jacket simply because it has lost its shape or colour. Denim is super durable and if you take care of it correctly, it should last for years to come. To re-shape your denim jacket, use a steam iron to press out wrinkles and to get the collar to sit just right. You should also hand wash your jacket to avoid losing its colour.

Once you have gotten your jacket back to looking its best, bling it out with a few appliques. These can be anything from the classic bedazzle, to embroidered badges, beading, buttons or fabric patches. Want a more distressed look for your jacket? Use an ordinary cheese grater to create areas of wear and tear.

Jazz Up Your Sneakers

We all have a forgotten pair of shoes in our cupboards. Take a dig around yours to find a pair that are still in good condition but are dated or tired. One of the latest up-cycling trends is colouring in old sneakers to give them a funky new look. You can use koki pens, fabric paints or glitter. For design inspiration, check out these handy Pinterest boards.


Shirt Dresses

Does your brother, boyfriend or hubby have a collection of old shirts that they refuse to get rid of? Steal a couple of these to create your own shirt dresses. All it takes is a little tailoring at the waist and some rouging to craft a stylish dress. You can also create the most adorable dresses and shirts for the little ones out of Dad's old clothes. Follow this simple pattern to get started.



Tie-dye is making a comeback! But not in the way you think it is. Forget rainbow coloured paper bag pants and think more along the lines of dark greys, blues and moody purples. Up-cycle a faded white camisole into an eye-catching tie-dye masterpiece. You can also add relief by splattering your creation with bleach or its eco-friendly alternative – green tea! For a full retro-inspired look, get out the scissors and snip the ends of the fabric to make tassels. Tie chunky beads to the end of the frays and you will have the rock star look down pat. 


Choker T-Shirts 

You have most likely seen choker t-shirts at clothing stores for the last couple of years. A simple yet feminine take on the classic tee, this should be a staple in your wardrobe. However, you need not head out to buy one as you can make your own at home. Using only a soft cotton t-shirt and a pair of scissors, you can up-style a plain everyday item into something special. Simply snip along the choke hem of your t-shirt, creating a neat hole. You may want to stitch the new hem to avoid extra fraying, but that’s about all it takes to make your own trendy choker shirt.

Have you tried any up-cycling projects? Let us know how it went! 

WWF-SA is the national office part of the global World Wide Fund For Nature network. This local NGO has worked to inspire South Africans to live in harmony with nature for 50 years. Now, as the festive season rolls around, WWF-SA are bringing good tidings and a waste-free Christmas to the country.

We all know just how messy and wasteful the holidays can be. With all the excess food, drink and gift wrap lying around, our well meaning recycling projects and plastic-free goals can be easily forgotten. Amidst all this wastage, WWF-SA is encouraging all South Africans to remain eco-conscious over the festive period. Urging us all to "refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle".

Following this four-step plan to a waste-free Christmas is a lot easier than it may seem. It starts by simply asking yourself whether you truly need the item you are purchasing. Not only does this reduce waste, but it's an excellent way to save up for the new year! The next step is to ensure that you take your own reusable bags to the store, as well as cutting down on plastic packaging, choosing reusable, durable goods over single-use items instead. 


"Once you’ve followed all these steps, we also want you to recycle as much as possible." Says Eitan Prince, Digital Communications Manager with WWF-SA. 

The Good Tidings Advent Calendar

To help you on your way to a waste-free Christmas, WWF-SA have introduced their handy Good Tidings Advent Calendara fun, interactive way for consumers to make better choices this festive season. This advent calendar is filled with 24 nifty ways to curb waste over the holidays. These come in the form of videos, demos, blogs, photo galleries, recipe cards and more, created with support from WWF ambassadors, including Chef Zola Nene, media personalities, Zoe Brown, Carl Wastie, Claire Mawisa and sustainable fashion guru, Jackie May.

Here’s a sneak preview on what you can expect from the calendar:

View this post on Instagram

In December we're getting festive the waste-free way. Today is the first of 24 #GoodTidings to help you navigate a #WasteFreeFestive season. Let’s start with some alternatives to plastic 🎄. Get more good tidings at the link in our bio. #festiveseason #festive #giftingideas #celebration #christmas #festivevibes #giftingsolutions #homedecor #instagood #festivecollection #christmas #xmas #christmastree #christmasdecor #handmade #merrychristmas #christmastime #gift #christmasgifts #holidays #holiday #gifts #christmasiscoming #christmasdecorations

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1. All that glitters is not gold

Sparkly glitter is undeniably festive, but much of it is made from microplastics, which can end up polluting the environment or be consumed by fish, birds and other animals. Consider plastic-free decor, such as glass jars filled with beautiful succulents and decorations made from fabrics or ribbon.

2. Gift wrapping alternatives

Wrapping paper - it's festive, it's fun, it's fleeting. Each year, tons of it finds its way to landfills. So why not use leftover birthday wrapping paper or gift bags? Experiment with covering gifts with fabric, old newspapers or put them into any attractive tins, boxes or jars you may have lying around your home or office. 

3. Show love to local producers

There are many local designers and producers making exciting and innovative products from sustainable materials. The newly revamped WWF e-commerce site features a number of these local gems, such as Uzwelo, a brand that teams up with local communities to convert banners to fabric to make functional, fashionable and affordable bags. These bags are the perfect Christmas accessories for both kids and adults, with funky lunch boxes, laptop bags, beach bags, school bags and shopping bags. 

The WWF online store also has a great range of eco accessories and gifts. We love their eco-friendly reusable coffee cups, which are decorated with the iconic WWF panda logo. Their collection of plushies, recycled jigsaw puzzles and snap cards are also great stocking fillers for the kids. Show your support for the WWF-SA waste-free initiative by stocking up on these goodies or one of their custom hoodies, t-shirts or active wear apparel items. With ladies', men's and kid's clothing, there is something in their store for everyone this Christmas.

Sign up to receive your Good Tidings Advent Calendar here.

For More Information 

Visit the WWF website for more information about their initiatives. You can also follow them on social media:

Facebook - facebook.com/WWFSA

Twitter - twitter.com/WWFSouthAfrica

Instagram - instagram.com/wwfsouthafrica

Contact them via email at [email protected].

Recycle Rangers, Assemble At Eastgate!

Eastgate has something cool and exciting in store for their little visitors! Our planet needs their help to keep it clean and litter free. After all, it is our responsibility to take care of it now and forever. With this in mind, Eastgate wants to show children (and parents) how important recycling is, and just how much fun it can be. Are you with us, Recycle Rangers?

Did you know that next year, Eastgate won’t be using any plastic shopping bags anymore? This is because they want to keep as much plastic out of the environment as possible and do their part for the planet!

Help make a difference by heading to Eastgate’s Aloe Court from 24 – 27 October 2019 between 11:00 and 17:00, where you'll be shown how to make fashionable items out of recycled material that Eastgate has collected; like plastic bottles, bottle tops and straws. From fashion design to stylish accessories, do it all the eco-friendly and eco-fashionable way with Eastgate Shopping Centre.


On Friday, 25 October and Saturday, 26 October, they will be hosting Fashion Upcycle Workshops – no bookings are necessary as the workshops will work on a first-come first-serve basis. These workshops will be conducted by South African artist, Threaded Dame. Threaded Dame started as a hobby but soon became an avenue of promoting issues close to their hearts. They use embroidery to channel their creativity into transforming everyday goods into inspirational and inclusive pieces. Threaded Dame’s Recycle Ranger workshops on the Friday and Saturday will include up-cycled clothing embroidery, painting and colouring.

For the most fashionable thing to do this October, look no further than Eastgate’s Recycle Ranger Fashion Edition!

Parents, please note:


When Is It?

Thursday, 24 October 2019 – Sunday, 27 October 2019 between 11:00 and 17:00.

Where Is It?

Eastgate Shopping Centre's Aloe Court, 43 Bradford Road, Bedfordview, Johannesburg.

How Much Is It?

Entrance is FREE!


For More Information

For more information about this exciting event, visit Eastgate Shopping Centre's Facebook page or the Recycle Ranger's event page.

You can contact them on 011 479 6000 or [email protected].

Also, don't forget to visit their website at www.eastgateshops.com.

What Is It?

This is something educational, yet oh-so fun for the kids! Sandton City is calling all Recycle Rangers to report for duty this August, where kids can learn how to recycle while having a blast.

As of next year, Sandton City won’t be using any single use plastic shopping bags. And to get started on educating shoppers and the community about recycling and how it can help our planet, Sandton City will be treating young ones to an exciting and educational activation. Here, they will show children how important recycling is, and just how much fun it can be.

Get down to Sandton City’s Centre Court from 14 – 18 August, where the kids will be shown how to craft the coolest stuff out of recycled material that Sandton City has collected. The recycled materials include plastic bottles, toilet rolls, cardboard and straws.

Every hour, the kids will be making something different and exciting, from their very own animal stationery organisers, piggy banks, waste monsters, plastic yarn jump ropes, pretty pot plants, straw jewellery, plastic yarn flowers and so much more. For workshop information, visit the Sandton City Facebook page.

Sandton City

Daily Workshop Schedule

Day 1

Day 2

For workshop information, visit the Sandton City Facebook page.

When Is It?

Wednesday, 14 August 2019 to Sunday, 18 August 2019 between 11:00 and 17:00, daily.

Where Is It?

Sandton City's Centre Court, 83 Rivonia Road, Sandhurst, Sandton, Johannesburg.

How Much Is It?

Parents, please note: entry is FREE, and children are to be accompanied by an adult at all times.

For More Information

For more information, visit www.sandtoncity.com. Or contact them on 011 217 6000.

Don't forget to follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, to keep up to date with the latest specials, events and news.

Sandton City

Creating a long-lasting world for our kids and future generations has become more important than ever before. Landfills are filling up, the ocean is drowning in plastic and fauna and flora species are dropping like flies. We don't want to live in a world where our children don't know what certain animals look like because they're extinct. It has become a necessity to be more environmentally-friendly and a good way to start is by teaching our children how to go green and why. We've come up with some ways you can teach your children about the environment in some fun and interactive ways.

Have a discussion

It is important to have a conversation with your kids about what items in your house are made out of and what happens to those items when they are no longer being used. Start by discussing paper, plastic, organic material, glass and metal. Talk about how they are produced and disposed of, as well as alternative options for these items.

Start an experiment

After discussing this with them, why not do a little experiment? After all, children learn through doing, so an experiment can help them understand. This is a simple experiment. Choose a spot in your garden or fill a large plant pot with soil. Divide the soil into several sections. Then bury items in the separate sections. Fill one with an organic item such as fruit peels, egg shells or a mix. In other sections, bury a piece of metal or foil, a piece of glass, paper and a piece of plastic. Then cover with soil and water the soil. A few weeks later, dig up the items and let the kids evaluate them.

Experiment Results

After the experiment, it is time to do a scientific evaluation of your findings, as with all experiments. Depending on how long you left the items buried, you should see change in the organic matter and paper. Either it will be completely gone or it would have started to decompose. The metal, glass and plastic will still be the same, albeit dirty. From this experiment, we can see that organic matter and paper degrade quickly, whereas glass, metal and plastic don't. This is a good time to explain to your children how long it takes for some of the materials we use on a day-to-day basis to biodegrade and about the 3 Rs - Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.




Landfills are filling up too quickly and the best way to combat this is to reduce the usage of products that do not degrade quickly such as plastic, which can take thousands of years to decompose. Unfortunately, in today's society, it is almost impossible to live a plastic-free life. The trick is to avoid using single-use plastic and to cut it out completely where possible. Go through your house with your children and see where you can make changes. You could use reusable Tupperware instead of sandwich bags, buy some metal straws or purchase a canvas bag for your shopping instead of using plastic ones.


It's great to teach children that some items can be reused instead of just thrown away. This can be a good opportunity to spark your children's creativity, by making them think of ways to reuse things. They can do this by reusing items like bottles, newspaper and cans for their school assignments or making their own projects at home. Kids can also learn to donate their unwanted stuff like clothes and toys instead of throwing them away or keeping them in a box at the top of the cupboard to gather dust. Another way to reduce and reuse is to buy items intended for reuse such as rechargeable batteries.


As we learnt in the experiment, some items like glass and metal take a long time to biodegrade. But, these can be recycled or up-cycled instead of landing up in a landfill. Recycling can seem a bit tedious but can be made into a family activity by getting your children involved. Simply get separate bins or containers for plastic, paper, metal and glass. The children can then sort through the items you want to recycle and put them in the correct bins. Some items, such as jars, may have parts that need to go into separate bins. The jars would be recycled with the glass, whereas the lid will be recycled with metal.

Waste Removal

Joburg has a unique waste removal system in the form of people who go through rubbish and collect items to take to recycling facilities. You can make life easier for these nifty entrepreneurs by leaving out your recyclable materials. Alternatively, you can arrange for recycling companies to come collect the materials themselves. They will give you a bag for your paper, glass or a mixed-use bag and come collect in your area on certain days of the week.

To find these facilities, read this Recycling 101 guide.



50 Years Of Global Conservation

Earth Day has been celebrated annually since 1970. On the eve of its 50th anniversary, humanity faces the most challenging global crisis since WWII - the coronavirus pandemic. However, this has not put a damper on celebrations, as Earth Day organisers have promised to do more than ever before to promote environmental conservation and rapid climate action. While Earth Day may be celebrated slightly differently this year, with over half of the world's population under lockdown, it is nevertheless a pertinent reminder that in order for our existence on Earth to continue, things must change.

Climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable. In fact, many scientists have suggested that the COVID-19 virus may be correlated directly to the adverse effects of deforestation and habitat change. That is why this Earth Day, the issue of climate change will take precedence. We are undoubtedly faced with an enormous challenge to eradicate the damage done so far, but this is also an opportunity to band together to make a difference. And, if the coronavirus has taught us anything over the last few months, it's that when humanity comes together to fight a common cause, we can prosper.


Do Your Part 

Earth Day is most commonly celebrated with climate strikes, tree plantings and other outdoor activities. So, how can you play your part from under lockdown? Here are a few suggestions:

Get Onto Social Media

One of the simplest ways to contribute to Earth Day is by letting other people know about it! Hop onto your social media platforms on 22 April and spread the word. Use the hashtags #EarthDay or #EarthDay50 to join the global conversation.

Give A Little Love To Your Garden

Just because autumn has reared its head, doesn't mean that you should neglect your garden. Get outside for a good dose of vitamin D and some dirt under your nails. If you can, plant a few water-saving species to help reduce wastage during times of drought.

Recycle, Recycle, Recycle

If you aren't already separating your plastics from your tins, cardboard and glass, Earth Day is the perfect time to start. Since you are under lockdown, rope in the whole family to help you become more conscious of your carbon footprint. Recycling projects are a great way to pass the time while stuck at home, so get busy!

Earth Challenge 2020

Want to get your community involved in tackling climate change? Join the Earth Challenge 2020. All you have to do is download the app to start collecting data about the levels of air and plastic pollution in your community. The app comes with fun activities you can do from home during lockdown and will help you plan community clean up initiatives once this period is over. Download the app here.

Cook A Plant-Based Meal

We are all seemingly becoming amateur masterchefs while under lockdown. Use your new set of culinary skills to whip up a tasty, wholesome plant-based meal for the family on Earth Day. It doesn't matter whether its savoury or sweet, the point of this activity is to become more conscious about what you eat. Share your recipe or pictures of your final foodie masterpiece with family and friends to encourage them to get on board the plant-based train, too.


If you have the means to donate to the Earth Day Network, please do so. Even the smallest contribution can go a long way towards making an impact.

Join Earth Day Online

For the first time in its 50 years, Earth Day will be going digital, as thousands of pre-planned events have had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 regulations worldwide. Nevertheless, Earth Day warriors will be demanding climate action at the highest levels of governments from their own homes. There will be a number of digital events to join, being hosted from around the world, so don't miss out!


For More Information

Visit the Earth Day website for more information about how you can get in on the world-saving initiative from under lockdown. You can also follow them on social media to join the online conversation:




How will you be celebrating Earth Day from home? Let us know about your plans in the comments below! 

The Refillery Has Arrived!

Taking care of our beautiful planet has never been easier thanks to The Refillery and their amazing store concept. They, too, are truly concerned about keeping our home plastic pollution-free, which is why they want to try to help in their own small way.

This new planet-friendly grocer offers shoppers a stylish, convenient, plastic-free, weigh-and-pay shopping experience that's nothing like your usual grocery stores. Here, you can stock and re-stock your pantry with the highest quality, ethically-sourced products WITHOUT the wasteful (and harmful) packaging. We like to think of it as going green with our shopping.


The Problem & The Solution

There is a growing worldwide awareness and concern regarding the impact of uncontrolled use of non-biodegradable, single-use plastic packaging. Recently, the Source To Sea initiative was launched to try combat plastic pollution around our country’s coastline. In case you didn't know, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is estimated to cover an area larger than South Africa and Zimbabwe combined. 94% of South Africa's beach litter is made from plastic, 77% of which is packaging. That's a scary thought!

In attempt to combat any further litter to our beaches and country, The Refillery offers a more planet-friendly alternative to your usual grocery store - supplying single-use, plastic-free, responsibly sourced, refillable, everyday products for package-less pantries and households. Wow, that's a mouthful! This retail business model is a fast-growing global trend, and has finally made its way to South Africa.


What To Expect

The Refillery gives shoppers a casual, friendly experience in a simple, modern, old-school-yet-stylish environment that exudes a re-purposed vibe with its natural wood, textured surfaces and polished concrete floors. They make grocery shopping easier for the environmentally-concerned as well as convenience-seeking customers to fill their pantries and play a part in helping to reduce the global plastic pollution crisis. And as for getting your goodies, there is a Home Delivery and Refilling service, plus a Call-and-Collect facility. How convenient!

Right now, the store is solely online, but within the next few months, you can expect an actual, physical, stand-alone store. The very-first store will be opening its doors between March/April 2019. To stay informed with the latest development on this, make sure you sign up to their newsletter so you'll know exactly where and when their grand opening will be.


What Products Do They Have In Store? 

Wondering what goodies you can get your hands on here? Well, don't you worry, we went and scanned through their site and we must say, we're rather impressed with their grocery categories. They aim to source locally where possible and are proud that their store is over 95% local regarding their products. Here, you can get you hands on the following:


Are Their Products Organic? 

The big question here! Around 75% of their products are organic and they're currently searching for organic replacements and alternatives for the products that aren't organic.

Don't Forget To BYOJ!

In case you didn't get it, BYOJ means Bring Your Own Jar. Once the store opens later this year, don't forget to grab your storage jars/containers/bags to take along with you. But if you're new to this way of living, The Refillery will have recycled brown paper bags for you to use or you can buy a few jars in store.


For More Information

For more information about this brand-new, planet-friendly grocer, visit their online store at therefillery.co.za.

You can also contact them on [email protected] or 079 860 2069 / 072 177 9311.

Don't forget to give them a follow on Facebook and Instagram.


Benefits Of Recycling

  1. Reduces land pollution, especially when less waste is sent to landfills and incinerators.
  2. Less waste sent to incineration means we save energy and simultaneously reduce air pollution.
  3. Less energy is also used when recycled materials are used in manufacturing new products as opposed to sourcing/importing raw materials.
  4. More job opportunities are created in the relevant job sectors, which is great for the economy in terms of alleviating poverty.
  5. Contributes to a cleaner, greener and healthier environment overall.

What To Recycle?

Most of us know the basic materials we ought to recycle are glass, plastic and paper. However, there are more materials that should be recycled to ensure and a cleaner, greener, and healthier environment. These materials include batteries, cell phones, cans, building rubble, automotive parts, steel, e-waste, engine oil, eyewear, garden waste, among others.

How To Recycle?

It might seem like an easy and straightforward thing to know how to do but the reality is we still have a distance to go in terms of effectively recycling. So here's some basic tips on how to recycle at home, work or school:

  1. Separate your waste; recyclable dry materials from wet garage waste.
  2. Further, separate the recyclable dry materials; plastics from glass etc.
  3. Research on mywaste.co.za to find out where recyclables are accepted in your community.
  4. Make recycling easy for everyone by educating them on it and having bins in your workplace, home or school that are labeled with relevant recyclables.
  5. Find out if there is a recycling company that collects recyclables in your community from schools or business offices.

With the amount of initiative we have to put into recycling, especially in certain communities that are still catching up to make recycling the norm, it may seem like too much admin. However, for the good of the environment, the country, and the globe overall, recycling should be approached with a sense of responsibility as a member of society striving to conserve our planet.

Let's all work together to make recycling second nature!

For more information on recycling, visit the National Recycling Forum's website.