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✽WIN­NING LET­TER Plas­tic purge

Dur­ing the De­cem­ber hol­i­days, I went for a walk on an un­spoiled, rel­a­tively iso­lated beach on the Gar­den Route. With only a few peo­ple strolling along the coast­line with their dogs, it was easy to imag­ine this piece of wild, windswept coast­line as it might have been 100 or even 500 years ago; beau­ti­ful and un­changed. Un­til I spot­ted the er­rant pieces of plas­tic on the shore: milk bot­tles, stran­gled plas­tic bags and plas­tic straws.

The sight de­pressed and in­fu­ri­ated me, but it re­ally hit home when I read the ar­ti­cle on sin­gle-use plas­tic in your De­cem­ber 2017 is­sue, and re­alised that I am just as guilty. I rou­tinely for­get my re­us­able shop­ping bag, and buy plas­tic bags at the su­per­mar­ket. I buy bot­tled wa­ter, use tam­pons with plas­tic ap­pli­ca­tors etc. So I made it my New Year’s res­o­lu­tion to im­ple­ment as many of the 22 small changes you list in the ar­ti­cle.

Thanks for a well-re­searched ar­ti­cle that made a bor­ing, over­whelm­ing topic ac­ces­si­ble and in­for­ma­tive and of­fered tan­gi­ble steps for ev­ery per­son to make daily changes. It in­spired me, and hope­fully man­u­fac­tur­ers and re­tail­ers will fol­low suit.

Gina Schreuder

Ed: That story gen­er­ated a huge re­sponse, and we’re de­lighted: the more peo­ple talk about it, the bet­ter the chance of chang­ing be­hav­iour. Thank you for adopt­ing Marli’s 22 small changes – we were all in­spired to do the same… As were some oth­ers (see op­po­site!)

An In­sta­gram mes­sage we loved!

A re­cent ar­ti­cle in FAIR­LADY has set us on a course to elim­i­nate the un­nec­es­sary use of plas­tic where we can. As a start we have re­moved straws and plas­tic take­away bags. If you sim­ply have to have a straw they will still be avail­able to you on re­quest, but our tasty meals will now be pack­aged only in re­cy­clable brown pa­per bags.

Through­out this year we aim to cut out other pack­ag­ing ma­te­ri­als that can be re­placed by some­thing that’s en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly, and we hope that you’ll sup­port us in this en­deav­our. Your con­ve­nience and com­fort is al­ways im­por­tant to us, but we love to take care of our planet. Pronto Ital­ian restau­rant Ed: We’re de­lighted to hear it! Thank you, Pronto.

…and a rap over the knuck­les

I was amazed at the irony of your ar­ti­cle high­lighted on the cover of the De­cem­ber edi­tion, ‘Our Big Fat Sin­gle-Use Plas­tic Prob­lem’.

I strug­gled for a good few min­utes to get the thick plas­tic cover off your mag­a­zine – it was so well stuck to­gether that it ac­tu­ally tore the back cover off the spine, spilling out the in­serts and a pair of ear­rings, also encased in thick plas­tic!

Where is the sense in this? Granted, ad­ver­tis­ers pay a lot for in­serts but could we not have them fixed in­side in some way or even wrap the mag­a­zine in a nice brown pa­per bag with the cover pics and ti­tles printed on the front? Just a thought! Janet Friel Ed: Good point, Janet, and one that wor­ries us all the time. Brown pa­per is one idea, but the costs of print­ing would be pro­hib­i­tive. We’re des­per­ately try­ing to find a way around it… the most ob­vi­ous so­lu­tion would be no more gifts on the cover, which we’re also se­ri­ously con­sid­er­ing. Thanks for rais­ing the is­sue!

Tak­ing a stand

The ar­ti­cle on Magda Wierzy­cka in your Jan­uary is­sue [Stand & De­liver] re­minded me of the say­ing ‘all that’s re­quired for evil to tri­umph is for good men to do noth­ing’.

I’ve been fol­low­ing Magda’s stand against cor­rup­tion, and your ar­ti­cle pro­vided in­sight into this brave woman who’s shown big busi­ness how to move from vic­tim mode to tak­ing a stand and mak­ing a dif­fer­ence. She fills me with hope that her courage will in­spire oth­ers to stand up and say ‘no more!’

The ar­ti­cle made me think about how much we com­plain; we give our­selves per­mis­sion to be un­happy but do noth­ing about it. We for­get that change re­quires peo­ple to band to­gether and de­mand some­thing dif­fer­ent.

I’ve cho­sen to vol­un­teer in ed­u­ca­tion and in en­tre­pre­neur de­vel­op­ment as my way of mak­ing a dif­fer­ence. I’d like to chal­lenge read­ers to stop ex­press­ing dis­sat­is­fac­tion with­out tak­ing ac­tion. South Africa has lim­it­less po­ten­tial. All that’s re­quired is that we make the best pos­si­ble use of all the re­sources – and peo­ple – that we have.

Thank you FAIR­LADY for con­tin­u­ously re­mind­ing us of this by high­light­ing amaz­ing peo­ple, like Magda, do­ing amaz­ing things. Pat Roberts Ed: Thank you, Pat, for try­ing to make a dif­fer­ence in­stead of sim­ply com­plain­ing! Just think, if we all did that…

Oh, Jackie

My hubby al­ways com­plains that I buy too many mag­a­zines that I dis­card any­way. Still, I bought the De­cem­ber is­sue and I’m glad I did.

The ar­ti­cle about Jackie Burger [‘Quiet Strength’] brought me to tears! I’m on med­i­ca­tion for a chronic con­di­tion, and one of the side ef­fects is weight gain. The part in her in­ter­view about how fiercely com­pet­i­tive women can be spoke to me! Since putting on weight, I have ex­pe­ri­enced this: friends have made neg­a­tive, judg­men­tal com­ments. I’m in the process of ac­cept­ing my body as it is, and this ar­ti­cle was ex­actly what I needed!

Thandiwe

Ed: Good for you, Thandiwe! The im­por­tant thing is that our bod­ies are strong and healthy, and that’s it.

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