Energy Diet

Local Is Lekker

To non-South Africans, “Local is Lekker” is a common phrase meaning the things close to home are often the best. Lekker (adjective) actually means delicious, but is also used to describe something as nice, cool, awesome and many more similar descriptions. The best sounding English word that sounds like lekker is lacquer (as in lacquer thinners), or if you prefer the phonetic spelling (lăk’ər). The most important part is the rolling “r” at the end… lekk-irrrr

Many products are manufactured in South Africa, for local use as well as for export to other countries, so it isn’t necessary to shop around for imported products. However, cost is a big factor, and many imported items are often cheaper than the local equivalents, and sometimes the quality is far superior. I’m a firm believer in buying quality products, as they do tend to last a lot longer than the cheaper knockoffs in the long run.

The last item on my scorecard is entitled “what you buy”, and is another area that I would have to plead guilty to. As easy as it may seem, I was only able to tick off three of the nine items when I started the diet.


Stats showing the cost of electricity used per month prior to starting the energy diet

The item that got me started on trying to reduce my carbon footprint was the cost of electricity, or the amount I was spending each month of pre-paid credits. Since that day, I have been monitoring my electricity usage, and I can happily report that I’ve cut it down by 30% without actually installing any energy-saving devices. All I did was make a conscious effort to switch off appliances and monitor the electrical usage daily. I am now spending about R550 ($68) per month compared to R800 ($100), and there will be further savings with CFLs to be installed in the lounge and kitchen (rooms with the most use at night). However, I wasn’t monitoring my water usage, so I couldn’t claim a tick on the first item, but that has changed and I have started building up a history to better manage my water usage. Daily reading soon turned to weekly readings because of irregular meter reading times, but at least I am now recording my usage.

Being employed at a company that buys and sells cleaning solutions, it is easy to keep ahead in eco-friendly cleaning methods. Feather dusters, which only shift the dust from one place to another and require a vacuum cleaner to suck up the dust, are an old method used to clean those hard-to-reach places. Microfibre cloths and wands attract the dust like a magnet to steel and it doesn’t require water until it’s time to wash the cloth. They’re also super absorbent in sucking up spills, so no more paper toweling, only color-coded cloths to ensure the cloth used on the floor isn’t used on a food preparation surface.

I’ve never been one for wrapping gifts, or buying a card to accompany the gift. However, some people just insist on tearing open the wrapping, so a few layers of newspaper works just as well as some fancy looking paper wrapping. Thankfully for me, we receive a weekly community newspaper so the conversion to tablet based newspapers won’t affect my cheap gift wrappers.

With the advent of smartphones, I have all the information, emails, news and more at my fingertips, so printing out a document is extremely rare for me. I’m not sure what impact the information highway is having on our lives in terms on energy consumption, but I’m sure I’ll find out that answer with a few Google searches.


Next week I get to report back on the past 7 weeks worth of energy-dieting and update my scorecard. It will show an improvement in my effort to reduce my impact on mother earth, and I hope that it might help anyone reading this to do your bit for this planet.


  1. Ghanshyam Khatri
    February 21, 2012, 7:32 pm

    Lekker = Delicious ook in het Nederlands ! (its the same word we use in Dutch language) 🙂