The last straw!

I know we’ve had this conversation before but truthfully – plastics are taking over the world.  Or rather, they are playing a big part in messing it up!

Why is that?  Petroleum-based plastics like PET do not decompose in the same way that organic material does. Stuff like wood, food scraps and grass gets transformed into useful compounds by bacteria – but this does not happen with plastic. Plastic never really goes away. After hundreds of years it might break down if it is exposed to sunlight – but even those tiny pieces are still floating around in the place. Of course, if it gets buried in a landfill – it never sees the sunlight and so it stays… and stays.

One way that we can help – I know it seems a teensy way – but every little bit really does help, is to say “No Thank You” to straws.

Seriously! We don’t need to use a straw to drink a cool drink. By the way – if the cool drink is in an aluminium can – that also takes 500 years to break down – so make sure you recycle those too please.

The problem with straws is that they are light and even if they do get disposed in the proper way, they get picked up by the wind and carried off to places unknown. Often they land up in rivers, damns and the sea and they cause untold damage to birds and other marine life.

Yes – I know it’s very cool to pull the paper off the straw so it’s concertinaed up, and then use the straw to drop a little bit of cool drink on the paper and watch it magically unfold all by itself. This drives my mum crazy if I do it when we are out, so she’ll be glad to hear that I am giving up straws in the interests of helping to save the planet.

Of course, if you absolutely must have a straw in your drink – then take it home with you and in another blog I’ll share some cool stuff to do with straws. Sciencey stuff!

In the meantime – I’m sharing my book – Sibo Tackles Trash – on the website  for everybody to read free for a few days.

Every little bit really does help people – let’s all try. Together we can make a BIG difference.

Lots of love,

Sibo

 

Creative Holiday Doodles

Yay! It is holiday time again. If you are looking for something cool to do – try this out. It’s really easy and lots of fun. Plus for once you can do it on your own and you don’t need parental agents to supervise anything.

All you need are: wax crayons, paper and a toothpick.

Start out small first just to see how it works and then work your way up to doing something bigger.

Fold a piece of A4 paper into half and then into half again so you have four little sections. (You can even cut along the folded lines so that you have four pieces of paper.)  If you don’t have any paper you can always use the back of a used envelope or something similar.

Draw up a pattern in the middle of one of your bits of paper. You could draw a diamond within a diamond within a diamond or use circles or squares or flowers or anything you fancy.

Then colour-in the different sections in using nice bright wax colours. Make sure you colour in the whole section of paper. (Have a look at the picture provided.)

When you have finished, grab the black crayon and colour over your already coloured in pattern.

No! Don’t worry – I have not gone mad – it’s part of the process.

Once you have a nice big black blob your sneaky canvas is ready…

Use your toothpick, to doodle little pattern. Or draw a picture… or even better you could draw an Easter egg and decorate it with doodles.

Then you could cut that out and stick it on another piece of paper or cardboard to make a pretty Easter egg card for your parental agents or somebody else.  You could even email a picture to me and I’d put it on my website. I always love hearing from people.

Remember – the 7th April is also World Health Day. I don’t know about you but I hate being sick – so it’s important to stay healthy.  It’s not hard if you get enough exercise, plenty of sleep and you can always nibble on fruit, raisins or carrot sticks instead of sweets and chips if you are looking for a more healthy option for snacks.

Happy holiday’s people!

Sibo

Holiday Fun Again

Recycling

I bet you are all really glad that its school holidays again – especially now that its winter and is cold in the mornings. But after a few days of sleeping in those odd few twinges of boredom start to set in.

I mean we can only watch so much television, play so many computer games and even after a while I even want a break from reading books too.

It’s great if you money is no object – then there are lots of things to do. Like going to the movies, shows, amusement parks, on holiday and other fun stuff. Or one could visit a science centre like Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Newtown. It’s not so expensive and they have some very cool things going on for the holidays.

But many of us are a tad financially challenged and that’s when we have to make a plan.

Firstly remember that if you’re feeling cold and a bit in the doldrums – get some exercise. Any kind of exercise. Grab a friend or even better – a couple of friends and go for a nice brisk walk. Or a run. Or a bike ride. Or hula hoop.  Do somersaults and handstands in the garden or the park. Go crazy.

Exercise boosts creativity – so when you’ve finished it’s time to get creative.  You can make amazing things with junk. Using fishing line (which does not cost that much and you get an awful lot of it on one reel) you can string up all sorts of things like bottle tops, corks, buttons, old beads and bits of plastic. These days’ plastic bottles come in all sorts of colours too.  You can also paint the stuff you string up. One string might look a bit odd – but if you make lots of strings you could make a hanging doorway for your room or even a secret nook in the garden.

Don’t forget about fabric painting. If a bunch of you each buy one pot of fabric paint and share – then you’ll have lots of colours. You can brighten up old t-shirts or even paint flowers or patterns on your sheets. Make sure you get your parental agent’s permission first though.

If you have access to the website – there is a fabulous site to visit to find things to make Toys from Trash.  Arvind Gupta is a friend of Ginny’s and lives in India.

Happy Holidays.

Sibo

Butts are a bit of a problem

Sibo hands

Lately scientists have figured out that cigarette butts are one of the most abundant types of litter found around. Studies estimate that 4.5 trillion cigarette butts find their way into the environment each year.

Much worse, it’s one of nastiest, deadliest forms of waste.

People who would not dream of pitching a cool drink tin out of the car window will happily chuck a burning butt out. Not particularly caring that it can set fire to something. Burning butts are often the cause of serious veldt fires.

People also drop them on pavements or into gutters, where the wind blows them into storm waters and other places.

They also flick butts casually into water – dams, the sea and rivers.

You probably wouldn’t flick a cigarette butt into your swimming pool – but why not? Because you or your family might swallow it whilst swimming and that would be horrible.

So why not care if a fish, bird or animal chomps it instead?

Cigarette butts are tiny little bundles of toxins. They are poisonous. They get into our marine ecosystems and cause havoc with the wildlife and the quality of the water.

We all know that water is extremely precious.

Due to the fact that cigarette filters are specifically designed to accumulate toxins, each butt can contain up to 60 known human carcinogens including… arsenic, formaldehyde, chromium and lead. In fact, there are around 1,400 potential chemical additives.

Toxicological data has shown that these chemicals from discarded butts are capable of leaching into surrounding water where they can hurt aquatic life. Nicotine has been shown to be lethal to various fish, crustaceans, zooplankton, and other aquatic organisms, as well as being a known insecticide.

On top of leeching toxins, cigarette butts present an ingestion, choking and poisoning hazard to wildlife who mistake them for dinner!

Cigarette filters are also composed of cellulose acetate, a form of plastic that can hang around in the environment for long periods of time. Plastics of this sort have been found in the stomachs of sea turtles, fish, birds, whales and other marine creatures.

You know what is also really scary – even those people who put their cigarettes out in the designated places have no guarantee that their butts won’t also end up in the water. The bins get emptied. Butts are chucked onto rubbish dumps. Here they are blown around and it’s highly likely that they end up where they shouldn’t as well.

So what is the answer?  Stop smoking of course!

Tricky Trash

Recycling

Hearing about the Pikitup troubles started me thinking about rubbish.

We all generate lots of trash every single day.

How many people do actually recycle their stuff? I know that some places have bins that are easily accessible for people to throw their paper, plastic or glass in and all it requires is a little bit of effort. Other places provide special bags for recycling stuff and it gets specially picked up every week. That’s also relatively easy to do.

Then you get the places are not so jacked-up and it actually does require a fair amount of trouble to recycle properly.

If your area does not have good recycling habits there are other things that you can do to help out.

Most places in South Africa have people who trawl around the bins in residential areas on rubbish day. They take out all the plastic, glass and paper to be recycled. They get money for this stuff – and often this is their only source of income.

I know some people whinge and mutter because they don’t always leave the bins nice and tidy as they found them, but actually they’re doing the earth a service.

Why fill up the landfill more when we can recycle?

So… the nice thing to do is to help out and try and segregate your own rubbish.

Save all your glass bottles and jars and put them into a separate bag in the bin.

Do the same with tins, plastic, paper and cardboard. Make sure you wash out tins and plastic containers first. It must be really horrible for the people who collect this stuff to have to grovel out yukky miffy old disgusting cans with bits of mouldy dogfood or baked beans clinging to the sides.

You could also find out if any of the play schools in your area need stuff – like the inside cardboard roll in the toilet paper, cereal boxes, plastic trays, jars etc.  They often use things like that for craft projects or for storage.

If you have batteries, bulbs or ink cartridges you can usually recycle those in the bins in Pick ‘n Pay. They know how to properly dispose such nasty things. Some batteries have mercury in them and you really don’t want those to end up in the landfill.

All it takes is a bit of time and organisation.

Give it a go!

Sibo