Working towards a zero-to-landfill goal, Hotel Verde Cape Town’s comprehensive waste management plan currently sees 98% reused, repurposed or recycled – with just 2% to be disposed of.
Twice a week 160 sandwiches get delivered to a local primary school, they’re made from all the additional fresh food at Hotel Verde in partnership with a national bread supplier. This means that no fresh food from the kitchen gets wasted, as waste is an important initiative for Hotel Verde.
The sandwich run is one way of ensuring they cut down on good food waste, whilst giving back at the same time as part of their annual social responsibility program. But it’s just one of a whole series of strategies that make up their waste management plan. ‘At present, we generate 7 tonnes of waste a month’ says Dawie Meiring -Group Chief Systems and Sustainability Officer, ‘down from 27 tonnes two years ago.’
The biggest saving has been in the kitchen, firstly to counteract the potential waste caused by the breakfast buffet; smaller amounts are displayed and refreshed more frequently. In the Nuovo Restaurant, the chefs deep fry and spice the pizza base off cuts and serve this as an appetizer with a homemade dip, a house favourite.
All wet waste - veg scraps, food left on plates etc. - is sorted into categories, set aside and collected on a regular basis by ZTL Organics. Owner Melanie Ludwig who helped train the kitchen team in the sorting process then transfers it to her depot in Philippi where it gets converted into a rich compost which is then sold or donated to small vegetable growers. Similarly, a company is also paid to collect all used cooking oil which in turn is converted into bio-diesel.
Accounting for a huge proportion of waste in any hospitality business is packaging. And again, sorting at the source is essential if the end product is to be useable. In the hotel’s recycling area, labelled bins keep the categories of plastics under control. The same applies to glass, tin, cardboard, paper- all the different categories, standard white, printed, magazines, newspapers etc. ‘The various recycling companies come to collect,’ says Meiring. ‘The total rebate we receive on recyclables varies between R2,400 and R3,300 a month - we’d like it to be lower as it would mean we’re generating less waste’ Efficient waste management in any large business he reckons, has potential both for job creation and as a revenue stream; A win for everyone – resulting in a less polluted environment.
The process starts with responsible procurement, there’s lots of opportunity for waste awareness. ‘Each and every item coming into the hotel is analysed and assessed for its recyclability before it is procured– if any components can’t be reused, or recycled, we’ll look for an alternative,’ says Meiring. ‘We also bring our suppliers into the picture and where appropriate we insist on their undertaking that they will remove their surplus packaging and dispose of it responsibly –It’s important to be transparent and accountable about green practices, ‘he adds.
To ensure guests have a chance to do their bit – in each of the 145 rooms and in our conference venues, are twin bins marked ‘Compostable’ and ‘Recyclable’, in the outdoor lobby area are more specific waste separator bins. Hotel Verde also reward their guests with an in-house currency called the Verdino; this is to the value of R5 a Verdino and is rewarded should guests choose to partake in the in-room waste sorting and other sustainable choices. ‘Most guests are open to green suggestions, but objections are also learning opportunities, ‘says Meiring. ‘We are always open to guest feedback and believe that there is room for improvement in any of our sustainability measures.
www.verdehotels.com Tours of Hotel Verde’s green features can be arranged by appointment.
Hotel Verde Cape Town is a 20minute from the city centre. The second hotel property is in Zanzibar.