Resourceful ‘greenies’ do their bit for planet at the Big Green Expo

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A Baysville pensioner who spends her days crocheting supermarket bags into hats, slippers and handbags, thereby keeping plastic away from landfills and wire fences, was a big attraction at the third annual Big Green Expo at Vincent Park at the weekend.

Like many other small business exhibitors at the expo, Wendy Lieberum, 75, said she was simply doing her bit to tread lightly on the planet. “I cut them into long strands and then I crochet them,” said Lieberum

Pensioner Wendy Lieberum, right, and her daughter Jennifer Lieberum sold hand-crafted bags, hats and slippers which Wendy crocheted from old supermarket bags at the Big Green Expo at Vincent Park at the weekend Picture: BARBARA HOLLANDS

Big Green Expo organiser and entrepreneurial environmentalist Richard Patten said he had picked the mall as the venue for the expo this year in a bid to “take it to the people”.

He said he had battled to attract a large number of visitors to previous venues Lavender Blue and Stirling High School and decided to access the shopping centre’s busy foot traffic.

Patten said since the disappearance of loadshedding, the big rush for electricity alternatives had abated, but that young people in particular were nevertheless keen to embrace solar power, recycling and water-saving solutions.

“Many people only react when the situation regarding load-shedding, water shortages and waste removal directly affects them and they have to look for alternatives. But the world is damaged beyond repair, so we have to try to reduce further damage for the next generation. We have to save water and energy.”

In addition to big solar energy and waste technology solution firms dotted around the mall, were the small companies, many home-based, who were offering cheap and creative solutions for going green.

Robert Ross started his waterwise vegetable growing company Vision Organics when friends asked him to build them compact versions of his hydroponic home system. Made up of three or four gutter-like tubes planted with gravel, lettuce and spinach and equipped with a manual water pump, the system uses just 30 litres of water and R6 electricity per month and can fit on a medium-sized balcony.

Nora Jiks Events owner Nomandla Jikwana demonstrated how a beautiful party table setting could be created using recycled jars, twigs, bottles and tins for a rustic but chic look.

Leigh-Ann Londt fashions sturdy, attractive furniture and home decor from pallet wood. “The companies I approached were just throwing it away for firewood, so I decided to recycle them into armchairs, coffee tables and wine racks.” — barbarah@dispatch.co.za

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