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Article by Nampak 7 October 2013

Nampak Liquid Cartons helps to “green” communities this Arbor Month

“Spring in September is a perfect time to reflect on the miracle that every tree represents a symbol of life,” said Jeunesse Park, founder of Food & Trees For Africa (FTFA, [Status]) - an NGO specialising in tree planting as a means of mitigating the effects of climate change and greening previously disadvantaged local communities.

Arbor Month, in September, is aimed at reminding South Africans of the positive contribution trees make in all our lives, towards sustainability, improved environments and community health. This year’s Arbor Month theme of “Forests are our Future”, reflected the fact that all kinds of tree plantings, whether commercial forests, urban forests, trees in schools or along streets, are extremely valuable.

For Nampak Liquid Cartons (formerly known as Elopak S.A, [Status]) the synergy with trees is obvious. Besides the nutritional, environmental and psychological benefits that these trees add to communities, they also represent the origins of the paper used to produce their Conipak® and Pure-pak® liquid fibre-board cartons, for the packing of both beverages and dry goods.

The advantage of using paper for packaging is that it is a truly infinite renewable resource. In fact for every 3 trees that are felled to manufacture cartons, another 4 are planted to replace them.

As part of Arbor month this year, in conjunction with Food & Trees for Africa, Nampak Liquid Cartons sponsored over 100 trees for planting during the month of September.

According to Terry van der Walt, the Marketing Manager of the Nampak Rigid Plastics, of which Nampak Liquid Cartons is a division, the company’s partnership with FTFA is an opportunity to give back to the community, while making a positive difference to the greening challenge. To this end, Nampak Liquid Cartons check that all their paperboard supplies are responsibly sourced from sustainable forests. In most cases, Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC, [Status]) Chain of Custody Certification and similar traceability initiatives are the benchmark. As a result, they can track their cartons to the plantations where the fibre-board originated.

Following on from the planting of 67 trees last year, Nampak Liquid Cartons kicked off their sponsorship this year on Monday 2 September, with the planting of 37 trees at Mjoji Primary School in Verulam, Ogunjini, KwaZulu-Natal. The ten fruit and twenty seven indigenous trees were planted on the school grounds and around the sports field.

“Thank you so much for these trees in celebration of Arbor Month”, said Mr S W Skhakhane, Principal of Mjoji School. “We are thrilled to plant these trees and use them to help to make our area greener and more pleasant. As time goes by they will benefit the community as a whole.”

Terry van der Walt, Vasen Pillay (Safety, Health, Environment, Risk and Quality Manager at Nampak Liquid Cartons, [Status]), Ms M G Msomi (Mjoji Primary School educator, [Status]) and Sifiso Mbatha (FTFA Representative, [Status]) fulfilled the ceremonial role of planting the first tree. This was accompanied by the reading of poems and rhymes by the school’s learners.

Monday 16 September, the beginning of this year’s National Clean-up and Recycle Week, marked the second Arbor Month tree planting event by Nampak Liquid Cartons. This time 35 trees were planted at the Holy Spirit Environmental Project - a church group based in Kwazakhele, Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape.

Terry van der Walt, Vidah Mayana (Vice Chairperson of the Holy Spirit Environmental Project, [Status]) and Chris Wild (FTFA Ecopreneur, [Status]) planted the first tree. To the joy of all, Bishop Bethlehem Nopece of Port Elizabeth made a surprise appearance at the event. Amidst traditional dancing and environmental poem and story-telling, Chris Wild treated the volunteers to a demonstration on how to plant and care for the trees properly. FTFA will monitor and revisit the site, ensuring that the trees will grow to be strong and to the benefit of the whole local Kwazakhele community.

A further Nampak Liquid Cartons sponsored event will be announced soon for the planting of the remaining 35 trees.

Nampak Liquid Cartons partnership with Food & Trees for Africa is the company’s way of making sure that the important messages associated with Arbor Month remain relevant and top-of-mind throughout the year
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