Lithon’s sustainability champion, Luzé Kloppers-Mouton, has been passionate about sustainability for as long as she can remember, and it’s contagious. She chose to study interior architecture because of her desire to add life and nature to built environments with biophilia and biomimicry. During her studies she was quickly absorbed into the world of green architecture, and there was no going back! Today, she is a sustainability expert and enthusiast serving on the Recycling Namibia Forum Board and leading various sustainable initiatives in her community, not to mention an active member of the Lithon economic and sustainable development team.
Luzé’s interests in sustainability extend beyond just green architecture and design. She’s a strong advocate for circular economy principles – the idea that materials can be reused and recycled over and over again. And in particular, plastic.
During lockdown in 2020, she was stuck in a small garage with some time on her hands. As an interior architect, she has always been fascinated with materials so she started investigating how ’waste’ can be used to solve social and environmental challenges in less developed areas. Her solution was to build a portal shredder and extrusion machine that takes shredded plastic and extrudes it into beams or poles that can be used to make anything from furniture to fencing!
She submitted a pitch for the Africa Youth in Tourism Leadership Forum 2020 competition. Her focus was on creating a circular economy in remote areas where people can use their own ‘free’ waste to generate an income, while keeping their environment clean. She was the only representative from Southern Africa that made it to the top five of the competition and then received the first runner-up award. As a result of the competition, she is the country ambassador for Namibia, motivating other youth to come up with sustainable and feasible business solutions.
Luzé also makes earrings from plastics for a bit of extra ‘in your face’ visual recycling awareness. Proceeds from the sales of the earrings are used to fund cleanups in rural Namibia.
Luzé says that in order to make a real impact with sustainability, you need to start by educating people and changing the way they think and behave when it comes to everyday things – for example how they deal with their waste. She serves on the Recycling Namibia Forum Board, which deals with waste management and involves stakeholders from big beverage companies like Coca Cola. Some of the work she’s done with the Recycling Forum is to run cleanup campaigns in the communal wildlife conservancies of Namibia. Communities in those areas are very dependent on wildlife because of tourism, but plastic waste is a big problem. Luze gave awareness training to the local communities about the impacts their waste has on their environment, for example, how dumping waste can pollute their ground water and kill their live stock. These activities were aimed at helping people to take responsibility for their own environments. Another fun project with the Recycling Forum was creating a mascot called Rubbish Ronnie who teaches children about the seven ‘R’s (rethink, refuse, reduce, reuse, repair, regift, recycle) with a special song and dance.
In addition to her work in the community, Luzé has made sustainability a priority in her own life. She commutes to work, composts food waste, uses water-saving aerators on her taps, and has installed a greywater recycling system in her home (just to name a few). At work, she and her fellow Lithonians save water, switch off unnecessary lights, and recycle paper.
Here are some simple suggestions from Luzé, which can help us all to lead more sustainable lifestyles:
Did you know that Rwanda banned plastic bags in 2008, and is now considered the cleanest country in Africa? It’s wonderful to see an African country leading the charge!
If you’re inspired my Luzé’s story and you’d like to find out how Lithon can help you progress on your own sustainability journey, get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
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