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Zero waste Parys – refill bottles

In my quest to focus on waste – what I’m buying, using, reusing, recycling and throwing away – I’m searching for zero and low-waste alternatives to items I regularly use. My aim is to refuse unnecessary packaging and to reduce the amount of waste that I put out on trash day.
Items that I see regularly in my plastic recycling bag that I put out each week for the informal recycling collectors are plastic bottles. Instead of buying products in new bottles, there should be options to refill – not only water but also milk and juice. The good news is that there are.
Water
We have an abundance of drinking-water stores in town where you can take along your own containers to fill them with clean drinking water. Prices range from R3 to R5 for five litres. Plastics are, by nature, a clean and hygienic material. Refilling your five-litre or 25-litre household containers regularly with clean drinking water will not pose a health hazard. Store water in a cool place out of the sun and keep an eye out for algae growth if you leave water in the container for a long period.
A good wash and thoroughly drying the container will solve this issue and make the container ready for reuse.
What can pose a health risk are everyday drinking bottles. Contamination from hands and saliva ‘backwash’ can lead to bacterial growth, especially in bottles kept at room temperature for an extended period.
Disposable plastic bottles – the kind that you buy water and softdrinks in from the store – are not made to be reused repeatedly. They suffer from wear-and-tear, thinning, scratches and cracks (bacterial like to grow in these scratches and cracks!). Avoid buying throw-away bottles of beverages and instead invest in reusable containers that you can refill. Sports bottles and glass bottles are long-lasting alternatives. Just remember to wash them out with warm, soapy water between uses.
Milk
I’ve usually bought milk from the supermarket in plastic bottles or long-life Tetra Pak boxes, which are a recycling nightmare. With 2l milk bottles dominating my plastic recycling, I needed to do things differently.
Fortunately, we have the Farm Inn. Here they have milk on tap so you can take along your own containers to fill with fresh milk. This full-cream milk comes from Rietpoort Suiwel (Dairy), which is located only a few kilometres outside of town in the direction of Fochville.
When it comes to hygiene and refilling containers, glass bottles are best for dairy.
Remember to thoroughly wash your bottles before refilling.
Farm Inn does have other dairy products – cream, yoghurt, butter, but these are in regular plastic packaging in standard volumes.
Farm Inn is located on Van Coller Street, near the intersection with Luyt Str – less than 200 metres from the traffic lights.
If you’re buying milk from the supermarket, it is better value and less packaging overall to purchase Wynn-with Dairy Farm’s four-litre milk containers rather than standard one or two-litre options. These can be repurposed and upcycled for use in the garden or for crafting.
Fresh fruit juice
Farm Inn also stocks fresh fruit juice on tap. Take along your own containers and fill them with fresh juice.
Reusing long-lasting plastic and glass bottles for water, milk and juice will already have a huge impact on the volume of plastic packaging that you throw out each week. This is an easy change to make once you know where to get your packaging-free refill.

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