Top South African celebrities lined up as ambassadors for the Glass Recycling Company in a bid to create more awareness about environmental issues. "I wanted to become involved in a project that made a difference to the environment and approached The Glass Recycling Company and the relationship developed from there," says TV personality, Liezel van der Westhuizen.
Liezel has been the face of MNet Idols, presented SABC3's Lunchbox talk show and is also a radio presenter at Jacaranda 94.2 but she still finds time to work out and support important causes. She was part of the panel that selected the Glass Recycling Company's new mascot, Vusa. Liezel tells us how she's made living green a little easier…
Can you give three small changes you have you made in your own life to be greener?
I recycle; I have separate bins for paper, tin, plastic and glass. I also have a compost heap for all the peels and leave cuttings. I also reuse my shopping bags
Switching off electrical appliances when I’m not using them
I make use of non toxic cleaning aids, such as white vinegar and baking soda.
Has it been hard creating a greener lifestyle?
In the beginning I thought it was going to be hard because everyone spoke about how “hard” it is but after researching a few greening ideas and implementing a few changes in my life, I found it to be easy. The idea would be to start small with one or two changes and soon it becomes a way of life
What challenges have you faced in the process of "greening" your life?
I found it hard in the beginning because at that time, South Africa didn’t have a culture of recycling and I couldn’t always find recycle bins or the ones I found were overflowing but times have changed and we as South Africans are becoming for green conscious.
Is it hard adjusting your lifestyle to environmental concerns?
No, my dad is very environmentally concerned so we grew up in a family who were very conscious of our actions to the environment
What messages would you teach your children/family members about the living green?
It would be ideal if parents and schools were more focused on living green because then it becomes a way of life later on and it will be easier for them to become an environmental role model. Children watch adults and often do what adults do, so for example just switching off the lights or throwing glass in the recycle bin are ways of educating youngsters. Also teach youngsters about the environment by going camping or doing outdoor activities, this way they understand the importance of looking after our environment. Teach youngsters about recycling and the importance of not wasting, and you will be surprised how naturally it will come to them as they grow older.
What tips can you give for readers to be greener?
Small changes can make a difference, these are the changes I started with:
In my garden I either water early morning or evening as water evaporates four to eight times faster during the heat of the day.
I charge my mobile during dinner time, because most phones take only an hour or so to charge, so leaving them plugged in all night only draws on unnecessary energy.
Why do you think there's a surge of interest in environmental awareness?
We only have one earth and at the rate the human population is going, we won’t have a beautiful earth left for future generations.
What role can celebrities play in helping to spread awareness?
I think they play an important role, Al Gore is the perfect example of someone who is actively involved with a lot of greening issues, including his book which has also being released as a movie, An Inconvenient Truth, after you watch this movie, your entire perspective changes and you want to do more to become even more greener.
How would you go green? Share your tips below.