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What it costs you to go 'green' in South Africa


What it costs you to go 'green' in South Africa

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There has been a clear push from both the private and the public sector towards a more sustainable environment in South Africa.

This includes initiatives to cut down on plastics from major retailers such as Pick n Pay and Woolworths, while government officially gazetted its Climate Change Bill on Friday (8 June), alongside an announcement by the City of Johannesburg that it was looking to make recycling compulsory.

It also makes financial sense for these groups to start becoming more ‘green conscious’, with a recent Euromonitor International report finding that the global market for health and wellness offerings reached $686 billion in 2016 and it is expected to grow to $815 billion by 2021.

Among metropolitan South Africans there is a similar eco and health-conscious lifestyle trend, says Priya Naicker, advice manager at Old Mutual Personal Finance.

However she notes that many still perceive efforts to save the earth as an expensive endeavour.

According to Naicker, a vegan meal at a restaurant can cost approximately R95, while a bio-degradable straw at an eco-friendly restaurant costs at least R5 compared to a free plastic straw. A reusable glass straw can cost upwards of R250.

On a larger scale, an electric car will set you back at least R400,000 in South Africa, compared to a regular passenger vehicle for under R130,000, she said.

According to a recent BusinessTech report, you can also expect to pay upwards of R35,000 to move your home to solar heating, while a complete solar photo-voltaic system can cost R80,000 and or more.

It may also be difficult and expensive to access eco-friendly products. Finding cruelty-free cosmetics could cost you a 45-minute trip to an eco-friendly market or a few extra Rands at an online store.

Yet a commitment to living a life that is friendly to the environmentally need not cost the earth. 

Wallet-friendly ways to align your money with eco-conscious values:

Get advice 

Your consumption values determine your spending habits and this makes them as important to your financial plan as your goals.

Talk to your financial adviser about aligning your money with businesses and investments that are sustainable and ethical in terms of their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) practices.


The global frugal community prides itself on the double gift of their lifestyle – taking care of the environment while saving money.

By engaging in DIY projects from renovations or gardening to homemade lifestyle pieces, you can effectively reduce your carbon foot-print and save money.

Repurpose and reuse 

Reusing items is both eco-friendly and wallet-friendly.

There are a host of helpful online resources to get you started on everything from repurposing your clothes, to making your own soap out of leftover soap slivers or creating a burger patties from juice pulp.

The options are endless with a bit of creativity and the resolve to cut consumption. Plus, there is the added benefit of customised items/


Recycling in South Africa is a profitable industry that provides income to thousands of people. Collect-a-Can, for example, recycles 66% of all beverage cans in South Africa, and provides income to 37,000 people. By recycling up your trash, you could earn extra income or help create jobs for others.

Earn rewards 

Eco-conscious living has many health benefits which could earn you rewards. Participating in sporting events and marathons could earn you on-going discounts on your life policy premiums, and reward you with special events and benefits.

Author Gated Estates
Published 17 Sep 2018 / Views -
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