Wonderbag in South Africa

The Wonderbag is a revolutionary, non-electric, heat retention cooker that allows food that has been brought to the boil by conventional methods to continue to cook for up to 12 hours, without using an additional energy source.

Background

The most common way of cooking in South Africa is on an electric stove and the majority of households and organisations are connected to the national grid. The national grid, managed by Eskom, is largely powered by coal-fired power plants. Coal combustion, being a fossil fuel, contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. But cooking on open fires, wood, charcoal, paraffin or kerosine is still seen in townships and rural area in South Africa and other countries in Africa.

Cooking with a Wonderbag significantly reduces cooking times. Reduced cooking times leads to electricity savings which indirectly reduces emissions from power plants. Cooking using other energy sources such as coal, gas, paraffin, wood etc. can also lead to greenhouse gas emission reductions. Formed in 2007, Natural Balance Global PTY (Ltd) is a South African social enterprise that owns, manufactures and distributes Wonderbags throughout the world. In South Africa, Natural Balance has registered the Wonderbag project as a carbon offset project, unique to any other carbon offset project in South Africa.

The partnership

This project is registered under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), thereby allowing companies to credibly offset their carbon footprint in order to make a sustainable social impact in South Africa. The Wonderbag’s environmental impact is measured and monitored by internal and external researchers and audited by independent auditors as required by the VCS guidelines.

Environment

  • A Wonderbag saves up to half a tonne of CO2 per year per household.
  • A reduction of 40% of fuel.
  • Water consumption is reduced by nearly 80%.
  • 60% reduction of deforestation.
  • A reduction of indoor air pollution.

Economic

  • A Wonderbag reduces fuel costs by 40%, which creates further disposable incomes.
  • The project creates employment in South Africa where the bags are used in large numbers.
  • Contributes to the sustainable development goals of the UN.

Social and Health

  • Reduction in cooking times means more productive time and drastically reduces respiratory illness and deaths amongst children, which is caused by indoor air pollution.
  • Additionally, the long hours and safety risks associated with firewood-collection are significantly reduced. Cooking using the Wonderbag also ensures that less water is used during the cooking process by reducing evaporation.