For many Marina residents, the sense of optimism inspired by the returning rains is often dampened by the deluge of rubbish they unleash on our vlei. Every year, the same question arises: what will it take to protect our fragile environment from the scourge of man-made waste, especially plastics?
As far as Symantha van Niekerk is concerned, the answer comes down to personal choice. “It’s up to each individual to stand up for the environment by cutting down the amount of waste they personally generate,” she says. “Everyone has the freedom and the opportunity to do the right thing by aiming for zero waste. We just have to find the right place to start.”
Symantha started her personal journey towards zero waste around seven years ago, when she started using the earth-friendly cleaning products sold by local social enterprise, Nurturer. Not only are these premium quality products very affordable, but their environmental footprint is significantly smaller than equivalent products sold through mainstream retail outlets. For a start, Nurturer products are biodegradable and most are grey water-friendly, which is particularly relevant in the Marina.
Importantly, buying Nurturer products doesn’t just benefit the environment. All net profits generated by its sales go to a non-profit organisation called Life Choices, which is dedicated to tackling inequality by investing in youth from the Cape Flats. Its work focuses on six specific areas that it believes are essential to young people’s wellbeing: employment, health, education, family stability, citizenship and, since 2020, responding to COVID. As Symantha explains: “With our customers’ support, we are able to empower youth to attend school, find employment and take control of their own lives.”
Symantha has lived in the Marina for the last seven years with her husband, Brendan, and two children, Elizabeth, aged five, and Edward, aged four. “This is the best place to live with the best quality of family life,” she says. “We tried to leave once but came back as soon as we could!”
She recently became a Nurturer agent, re-selling its products to a growing number of local customers from her home in Uitsig. Significantly, she is the first Nurturer agent to offer customers the option of buying their cleaning products in refillable containers, a move that will help to reduce pollution caused by single-use plastics.
As well as offering refillable containers, Sym also sells around 25 personal and domestic cleaning products from the Nurturer range, which you can browse on the current price list here.
As Symantha emphasises: “Going green doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive and green products are just as effective as less sustainable alternatives. If your end-goal is zero waste, there’s nothing stopping you from getting there – and choosing Nurturer products is a great place to start.”
Start your journey
You can start your own zero-waste journey by joining Symantha’s dedicated WhatsApp group for Nurturer customers.