Press release

John Dory’s enlists help from South Africa’s brightest young Brainiacs to save marine life

March 18, 2020

Durban – John Dory’s ran a competition called Brainiacs that challenged 115 pupils in Grade 7 from Kloof Senior Primary School to create their own creative sustainable packaging designs. The idea is to “rethink” the three types of single-use packaging materials that are the biggest threat to ocean life: Styrofoam, plastic bottles and chip packets. Even though some plastics are highly recyclable, if not managed properly it still ends up in our waterways and oceans causing great harm to bird and marine life. The challenge culminated in a prize-giving ceremony on 11 March 2020 at John Dory’s Pavilion where the best ideas were awarded a total of R50 000 towards the first-ever John Dory’s “Brainiac’s” school fees.

“John Dory’s has been on a mission to educate South African primary school learners about the harmful effects of plastic pollution in our rivers, oceans and the environment. The Brainiacs competition is a continuation of our active efforts to solicit solutions for this problem from the country’s brightest young thinkers while at the same time raising awareness and educating children and the public in general,” said Joe Stead, Spur Corporation Sustainability Manager. 

The winning team, “Eco Leah’s”, made up of long-time friends Leah Edwards and Leah Donkin, came up with an innovative idea of upcycling chip packets, a material that in its current state is non-recyclable, to create beautiful marketable jewellery. The runner-up team, Eco Strikers, made up of Ruth Botha and Chardonae Lourens, came up with the idea to make a sealable cutlery holder from 2-litre plastic bottles, perfect for camping or a picnic.

The R50 000 prize will go towards the education of the winners, the runners-up as well as the three teams that received honourable mentions for their efforts: Plastic patrollers (Romario Singh, ShivaanGovender and Zafar Suleman); Radical Rain Coaters (Lola Klijnstra and Yuktha Moodley) and lastly Radical Recyclable Surfer with a single member, Gabriella Herbst.

“The objective of this competition is to inspire our future “creators and makers” to apply a long-term approach when solving problems. We are looking at ways to convert our predominantly linear production and consumption system into circular economies that can serve both communities and the environment. Employing a 5 Rs approach to plastic: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle; is an excellent starting point. John Dory’s is on a journey to apply this thinking as well. As a result, it has so far removed plastic straws, balloons and plastic bags, and has moved to paper-wrapped chopsticks in all John Dory’s restaurants,” Stead explained.

“The John Dory’s Brainiacs competition was a natural extension of what the brand would like to see happening in the external environment, children taking on the environmental challenges we face, and that is why we work with schools to raise awareness and create collaboration.”
The panel of judges included Stead, John Kieser – Sustainability Manager at Plastics SA and Dr Maya Pfaff – Marine Scientist at the Department of Environmental Affairs, Forestry and Fisheries.

“I have a passion for instilling environmental awareness in the youth. It is apparent that we cannot continue as we have in the past decades, and it is therefore essential for our own species’ survival that we find innovative solutions to environmental threats. It’s great to involve youth in finding such solutions, and make it both fun and rewarding to participate,” commented Dr Pfaff.

For more information please contact Moshe Apleni on T: 021-555-51000 or E: