Down to Earth: your vote ticked all the right eco boxes

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Down to Earth: your vote ticked all the right eco boxes

Worry not, the IEC used environmentally friendly ballot boxes - in fact, they're a very environmentally friendly bunch

Journalist


From recyclable ballot boxes and voting compartments to sustainable special furniture, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) boxed clever when it came to the environment.
Not only had the commission bothered itself with ensuring Wednesday’s elections were free and fair, it also included on its list of priorities the environment and the ecological impact the all-important event on SA’s calendar was likely to have.
So the commission ordered recyclable ballot boxes and voting compartments, among other material required for when millions went to the polls.
The IEC’s environmental awareness dates to 1999 when the ballot boxes were specifically designed to be harmless to the environment.
“Since 1999, the ballot boxes used in South African national, provincial and municipal elections have been made out of disposable and recyclable material,” said the IEC.
The innovative design of the cardboard ballot boxes allowed for easy packaging, transportation and on-site assembly.
But the design, said the IEC, would not compromise the “structural integrity of the boxes”, which must be stored for at least six months after each election.
“The commission is committed to principles of sustainability and, where possible, uses items and materials that are environmentally friendly and recyclable.”
This included the commission and construction of special electoral commission-branded tables, chairs, voting compartments and ballot boxes made from cardboard that is recyclable and/or disposable.
Like the ballot papers, the ballot boxes used in elections are designed with a number of security features in place.
“Each box has a complex sealing mechanism so that once it is assembled and sealed, its contents are completely secure,” said the IEC.
The material used on voting day:

562,550 pens;
 220,000 ballot boxes;
133,600 voting compartments;
45,850 banners; and
25,000 voting station arrow signs.

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