So, think it’s impossible to reduce your property’s waste? Think again! Hotel Verde Cape Town is leading the way, and is currently reusing, repurposing or recycling 98% of its waste, sending just 2% of its waste to the landfill. “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.”
Here is how the hotel is reducing waste in the kitchen.
- Twice a week, the Hotel Verde Cape Town kitchen team makes 160 sandwiches, using up additional fresh food that would otherwise go to waste. Bread is supplied by a National bread supplier. The sandwiches are delivered to a local primary school, giving back to the community as well as reducing food waste
- To counteract potential waste from the breakfast buffet, smaller amounts are displayed and refreshed more often
- Pizza dough off-cuts are deep-fried and spiced, then served with a homemade dip as an appetizer.
- All wet waste (food scraps as well as food left on plates) is sorted and set aside, then collected on a regular basis by ZTL Organics. The scraps are then converted into a rich compost which is either sold or donated to small vegetable growers
- Used cooking oil is also collected by an external company and converted into bio-diesel
Packaging is obviously a huge issue for the hospitality industry as a whole. Hotel Verde tackles it by separating all packaging before its collected for recycling. Recycling bins are also in the lobby, allowing visitors to dispose of their items correctly. ‘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.”
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.
Guests can also do their bit. In each of Hotel Verde’s 145 rooms and 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.”