Ecobrick meets sustainable living

Vusumzi Sidwell Mal, the school groundsman, places the ecobrick frames in the food garden. Mr Mali was instrumental in the building of the bed.

Upcycling has met sustainable living in a project at Masiphumelele primary school.

Seventy-five children from Masiphumelele attend the Bhongolethu Foundation Primary School’s new campus at the bottom of Lekkerwater Road.

The school is at the centre of a projects by Noordhoek resident Karoline Hanks, who is being supported by local businesses in her efforts.

Last year, Ms Hanks ran the Comrades marathon and raised R24 000 to start a food garden at the school, then known as Work for Love School.

With guidance from Dr Joe Hunter, of UCT’s health economics unit, the school’s food garden started taking shape earlier this year and is now flourishing.

“We put up shade cloth which had been donated to the cause.

We used over 100 used car tyres, which were stacked up, and topsoil which was donated,” said Ms Hanks.

“The school kids are now growing their own spinach, beans, brinjals, basil, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbages, spring onions and celery are all thriving in the garden, which is already very well established.

The school is using two donated worm hives to process much of the organic waste from its school kitchen.

The first harvest was in March, and the school cook is often seen with armfuls of spinach heading into the kitchen to prepare the kids’ hot lunches.

More recently, Ms Hanks has been involved with a project to build a raised garden bed at the school using ecobricks.

Ian Dommisse, of the EcoBrick Exchange, managed the
building process and local businesses donated chicken wire, cement, gravel and other materials. “The raised bed has 300 ecobricks embedded in its walls.

This equates to a whopping R150 kg of non-recyclable
plastic waste, which would otherwise have found its way to landfill
and possibly our freshwater and ocean ecosystems,” said Ms Hanks.

The ecobricks were made by people all over the far south and collected by Ecobrick Deep South.

“Cape Town has over one million households – if each home produced one ecobrick a week, it would be enough to build over 600 classrooms a year. Instead, we send that potential to the dump,” said Mr Dommisse. “The ecobrick-raised bed is
a very exciting addition to our very productive school food garden,” said Bhongolethu’s founder Tyler Sutcliffe.