Suppliers of plastic food containers really have their jobs cut out for them in South Africa. South Africans in Cape Town and Johannesburg love to store things in plastic, and so do the big brand companies. In the olden days storage of goods was only possible for a short time because the environmental fluctuations often means that food got spoiled, and you had to consider many items disposable. With the invention of plastic and refrigeration people became able to keep things for longer and longer periods. This meant that prices could stabilise because perishables were able to be stored in plastic or bottles. Shops grew bigger and consumption grew with them, and the planet lost out.
Cape Town, Johannesburg and the rest of the world have the suppliers of plastic food containers to thank for contributing to a drastic consumer culture which has rooted itself in South Africa. More worryingly, plastic contributes to global warming because until recently it has been very difficult to recycle. This meant that disposable containers were simply dumped with ordinary rubbish, or were thrown into the ocean. Shops had the option of staying small, and keeping fresh produce and goods. Instead people grew greedy and used the extended life of products to stock up and grow.
If you would like to make a difference, make sure that wherever you are in South Africa, you look into how you can recycle the plastic bottles that you buy from the shops. In many instances you’ll find that recycling doesn’t have high prices, and that many shops and hotels offer recycling on site. Examples include the William Nicol Pick ‘n Pay in Johannesburg and the Vineyard Hotel and Spa in Cape Town. You can also make a difference by lobbying for greener practices by suppliers of plastic food containers.