OUR PLANET IS OUR HOME! - BE PART OF OUR ECO-MISSION! -
At LEO Africa, we firmly believe that everyone has a duty to ensure that our planet is a better place for present and future generations. While it is vital that government and large companies will take further steps in the near future to reduce carbon footprint, waste of natural resources, excessive, plastic packaging and unsustainable production practices, each of us can still make a huge difference in our daily life. It takes less than a minute to make an informed decision, but it can have an impact and make a difference for the next centuries!
Life is fantastic, without plastic!
We are aware that in our society plastic is used in a significant amount, but we should all try to reduce its usage by paying attention to the items we buy and their packaging. Plastic has really harmful consequences on wildlife and ecosystems, so to play our part we always try to avoid single use plastic and we educate our volunteers and staff on the importance of committing to a plastic free lifestyle.
We try to be very careful about plastic consumption because of many reasons, including:
Plastic contaminates the soil and water by leaching chemicals.
Plastic ends up as litter in trees, water drains, on beaches and in the ocean, being the cause of death of many fishes, birds and marine wildlife. Plastic enters in the food chain and is eaten by animals, which humans then eat. Did you know that we eat the equivalent of one credit card of plastic per week? To read more about why we should reduce plastic and the consequences, take a look at this factual poster.
Download this poster for 9 tips that LEO follows to reduce our plastic use.
Visit www.lessplastic.co.uk for more tips to live without plastic!
Smoking Policy (including vaping):
Smoking is not allowed during your time at LEO Africa (at camp or during outings) - and it includes also vapes. The choice of making LEO Africa a non-smoking program, is in line with our conservation and sustainability efforts.
Cigarettes have a huge impact on the environment (and your health!), such as:
1) Major cause of deforestation.
2) Tobacco plantation causes desertification and ground pollution.
3) Air pollution.
4) Contains plastic and toxic chemicals.
5) Cigarette butts are the most polluting item found on beaches.
Vapes have a huge impact on the environment due to plastic and batteries required.
The LEO Team is always educating our volunteers on the importance of water as a non-renewable resource and the importance on not wasting it.
We encourage people to take short showers, to wash the dishes by filling the sink with water (no running water), to close the tap while brushing teeth, and to use the washing machine only with a full load of washing.
At LEO, tap water is safe to drink and a water purifying system is also installed!
There is NO need to buy bottled water! Please remember to bring your own reusable bottles from home and to ask to refill your water bottle rather than buy plastic ones when travelling - look for refilling stations!
Currently we are using solar panels to produce adequate energy and electricity for the LEO office and workshop, our volunteer house is also run on 90% solar energy and the water pump that we use is run using solar energy too!
Also our camera traps deployed in the reserve are powered through mini solar powers that are attached to the camera to keep them running.
Due to being in the bush, composting is a bit difficult - we do not want to accidentally feed wildlife - however, we are looking for solutions! Feel free to share your experience with us!
We have a little veggie garden to reduce our carbon foot print and try to harvest fresh vegetables, reducing plastic waste at the supermarket.
Bottled Tree Project:
At LEO Africa, we really care about the planet and its fauna and flora. That's why we thought to launch the "LEO AFRICA Bottled Tree Project". For every plastic bottle/container that gets to camp, we try to give it a second life. For example, we plant an indigenous tree seed. The aim is to create a big nursery and once the trees will have reached a good size, we will sell them to nurseries (the money earned will be put in the fund for anti-poaching/monitoring efforts), plant them in gardens, roads or wherever people or reserves would require them.
IF YOU CAN'T AVOID USING IT, RE-USE IT!
When we eat at a restaurant, we always bring our own containers to avoid using single use take away ones.
When ordering a drink, we kindly ask: "NO straws".
When eating an ice-cream we prefer a cone to a cup!
Electric Scooter and Solar Panel Car:
Alongside with the traditional game viewers, we currently have two modes of transport at Leo that are entirely run on green energy: two electric scooters and three solar powered car.
The four wheel vehicles were designed and created by our director and "MacGyver", Koos! The concept was born to have a prototype that is light, simple, durable, practical, made from up-cycled parts and is powered by a solar panel roof.
The electric scooter is used to get around the property or visiting friends without using fossil fuels. It is charged with our home solar panels.
Both can travel a distance of 40km.
The goal is that one day we will replace our Game Viewers with solar energy run vehicles! #GoGreen
Recycling in Africa is not always easy. Unfortunately there is still a long way to go for everyone to embrace this important task. Some towns still do not recycle any material at all, others only partially.
Here at LEO Africa we feel the need to make a difference: we try to avoid buying any plastic when there is an alternative, to lower our impact on the landfills. Anything that can be recycled, gets recycled or reused. It is heart breaking to know that there is no plastic recycling in Phalaborwa; this encourages us even more to use as little plastic as possible and to be wise when buying in the first place and we encourage our volunteers to follow this simple but vital example. All metal, aluminium and any other material that can be recycled, though, gets recycled.
Coming to LEO Africa doesn't only mean that you will go back home with amazing photos and memories, but also (hopefully) with a better awareness about conservation and a more sustainable approach to a responsible lifestyle. Each of us can make a difference in the long run for the benefit of the ecosystems, animals, our planet and the future generations who will inhabit it!
When shopping, we do not use any plastic bags for our food and general shopping (we ask our volunteers to do the same); instead we ask for recycled paper boxes that then we re-use at base for recycling.
When choosing our groceries, we always pick the most "sustainable option": we look for the plastic free product and if plastic is unavoidable, we buy bulk and try to give a second life to the large containers. We also stopped buying some products because they contain palm oil.
Check out our video on how to shop responsibly!
Sustainable Food Shopping:
A large portion of the meat we eat at Leo Africa comes from local butchers, who provide ethical meat.
We try to grow our own vegetables.
We do not use palm oil which is responsible for major deforestation.
We try to buy bulk, choosing plastic free vegetables, ordering food in advance to avoid plastic wrapping
We reuse bags to weight vegetables
Travel light and sustainably thanks to our Plastic Free Partnerships:
In line with our sustainable policy and anti-plastic campaign we are trying to introduce our volunteers to a plastic free toiletry pack. We have created a partnership with Hazel's Harvest, and built a custom plastic free starter pack for our volunteers to use during their time here and to bring back home. Hazel is a wonderful lady who has been producing natural products for the past 10 years. They are amazing and 100% natural!
Less weight, more space in your suitcase
Made with natural ingredients
Supporting a local business
You can purchase your own starter pack directly at LEO Africa. This pack includes:
1 x Shampoo bar, 1x Conditioner Bar, 1 x Deodorant cream, 1 x Soap bar, 1 x Body lotion (tin), 1x Face Cream, 1x Sun cream SPF40, Toothpaste tablets, 1x bamboo toothbrush, 1x Mosquito repellant spray, 1x Lip Balm.
Contact us for more information and to order your pack!
Faithful to Nature
Faithful to Nature is a South African company started in 2006. They only sell natural and organic products, each one of their products is thoroughly researched and scrutinised to ensure the best quality product and ingredients. LEO Africa and Faithful to Nature have partnered to create a waste-free personal care pack, in this pack you will receive completely plastic free, organic products that we have carefully selected and personally tried out ourselves to ensure we produce that best pack for you. Check out their website for more information and get in contact with us if you would like to purchase your pack for your time at LEO Africa. Price on request.
This pack includes: 1 x LEO Africa cotton bag, 1 x Faithful to Nature Bamboo Charcoal Soap – Lemongrass scented (100g) ,1 x Pure Simple Shampoo Bar Fragrance Free (100g), 1 x Southern Soul Tooth Powder (125ml), 1 x Natural Yogi Frankincense Deodorant (30g), 1 x Faithful to Nature Adult Tooth Brush and 1 x Faithful to Nature Organic Unrefined Shea Butter (200ml). Please note, if booked well in advance we can tailor make your pack
How do you clean your home? Here at LEO Africa our conservation efforts go beyond the work done in the reserve in which we operate. We try to make a difference in many different aspects of our daily lives. That is why in 2017 we started using cleaning products from a South African company called Mrs Martin's, who has won the "Best Eco-Friendly Products Company in South Africa" award in November 2020!
Their products are readily biodegradable and do not contain any toxic chemicals, only active “good” bacteria to digest organic matter. This means they do not pollute water systems, actually they help restoring them.
We are very happy with their products as they clean exceptionally well. This switch had also lead us to drastically reduce our plastic consumption as we refill our containers at their facilities! A great way to take care of our environment! Check out the Mrs Martins Website www.mrsmartins.co.za
Each of us can make a difference! Start today!
Two Oceans Aquarium - Educational Posters!
In this section, you can find some really informative posters created by the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town about recycling, plastic use, energy, water etc.
Feel free to click on them to view and download them to use them at school, in your office, at home etc.
The more people that get educated on these topics, the better!