Cre­ative so­lu­tion for re­us­able nap­pies

Talk of the Town - - Neighbourly Notes -

A young Bathurst woman is play­ing a huge role in over­com­ing the na­tion­wide prob­lem of the dis­pos­ing of used nap­pies for both in­fants and the aged.

And in the process, Candy An­dro­li­akos will be as­sist­ing the lo­cal pineap­ple in­dus­try and pro­vid­ing em­ploy­ment for quite a lot of peo­ple.

Born and raised in Zim­babwe, An­dro­li­akos left the coun­try in 1978 and moved to SA where she com­pleted a three-year beauty ther­a­pist course.

She started her work­ing life at the then well-known Carl­ton Ho­tel in Jo­han­nes­burg, be­fore she moved to the also up­mar­ket Royal Ho­tel in Dur­ban.

It was here that she met many fa­mous peo­ple and gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials.

An­dro­li­akos then moved to Botswana in 2002, where she was em­ployed to open a health spa in Gaberone and worked for the fa­mous Khama fam­ily for 10 years. At the time, Ian Khama was the vice-pres­i­dent of Botswana.

Af­ter 10 years, An­dro­li­akos was per­suaded by a friend to set­tle in Bathurst, where she bought her own prop­erty and started work­ing at the nearby St Fran­cis Health Cen­tre.

But she had the urge to work for her­self and opened her own sa­lon in Port Al­fred, though still con­tracted to the health cen­tre.

At the same time, there was a need for a ther­a­pist at Set­tlers Park Re­tire­ment Vil­lage, and she soon be­came pop­u­lar among the res­i­dents.

And so it was dur­ing her vis­its to the vil­lage that she be­came aware that there was a real need for cheaper and more biodegrad­able adult nap­pies.

“The nap­pies in use now are ex­tremely ex­pen­sive and I know of one man who has been spend­ing up to R7,000 a year on these. Oth­ers were us­ing them for longer than they should, which is not healthy,” she said.

The other ma­jor prob­lem was that dis­pos­able nap­pies could take be­tween 500 and 800 years to de­com­pose com­pletely, she said.

And so An­dro­li­akos started look­ing at ways to make cheaper ones. Her idea was to de­velop and pro­duce wash­able nap­pies that would also be eco-friendly.

She started ex­per­i­ment­ing with dif­fer­ent ma­te­ri­als, re­sult­ing in a lot of trial and er­ror. Then one day she saw a bill­board out­side the Big Pineap­ple near Bathurst dis­play­ing the dif­fer­ent uses for the leaf of pineap­ples.

This gave her the idea of the pos­si­bil­ity of us­ing this ma­te­rial in her nap­pies and she made con­tact with now re­tired well-known pineap­ple farmer Brian Lin­forth, who sup­plied her with dried pulp fi­bre from pineap­ple leaves.

She had this tested for bac­te­ria and it was found to be safe and suit­able.

An­dro­li­akos ob­vi­ously needed some­one to start mak­ing the un­der­wear into which this fi­bre is fit­ted, and found a will­ing hand in Kleinemonde res­i­dent Sarah Ober­holzer. Though still in its rel­a­tively early stages, the prod­uct has al­ready proved suc­cess­ful and is be­ing sup­plied in Set­tlers Park, Leach Phar­macy and along the Gar­den Route.

“The big ad­van­tage of these nap­pies is that they are wash­able and ob­vi­ously re­us­able, re­sult­ing in them be­ing a big cost saver. They also solve the prob­lem of dis­pos­ing of them,” she said.

She is also pro­duc­ing san­i­tary tow­els and is look­ing at man­u­fac­tur­ing both chair and bed pro­tec­tors.

With her busi­ness grow­ing, An­dro­li­akos ob­vi­ously re­quires a larger pro­ducer and has lined up a fac­tory in East London where her prod­ucts will be man­u­fac­tured next year.

This means that more peo­ple will hope­fully be em­ployed, as well as on the pineap­ple farms.

An­dro­likos has also linked up with a gov­ern­ment or­gan­i­sa­tion, In­no­va­tion­hubb, in Pre­to­ria, which has un­der­taken to as­sist her fi­nan­cially.

“I am very ex­cited about this and am con­fi­dent this will help my busi­ness grow next year,” she added.

She has reg­is­tered a patent for her prod­ucts and op­er­ates un­der the name of Leafline San­i­tary Wear.

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