‘Thumbs up to the Vineyard Hotel and Spa in Newlands for winning the ‘Investor in People’ category of the annual Imvelo Awards for responsible tourism. The hotel is also a runner-up in the ‘Best Single Resource Management’ category, specifically for its waste management programme.
‘The staff at the Vineyard Hotel & Spa are like an extended family – many have been loyal employees for over 20 years. Training, people development, employee retention and wellness are key strategic priorities for us,’said their general manager, Roy Davies.
‘Of our 358 staff members about 90% received 968 training interventions in 2009/2010. We spent 3.32% of the payroll on training and development and we’re spending 65% of our skills budget on black employees,’ explained Tana Breytenbach, Group Development Manager.
Impressive recycling systems
The Vineyard Hotel & Spa has also diligently reduced its waste to landfill with the support of their waste minimisation company Waste Plan. The hotel’s extensive recycling programme has from June 2009 to May 2010 prevented the emission of over 142 metric tons of CO2 per ‘wet weight’ ton of material recycled. So too have they improved the quality of effluent that goes into the municipal sewerage system.
The hotel is owned by the Petousis Family and the group’s sustainability vision ‘Living Green’ is a cornerstone of the family business.
‘We have managed to reduce our waste to landfill in April 2003 from 336 wheelie bins and 58 loose bags to197 bins to landfill in April 2007 and 58 bins to landfill in April 2010.This amounts to in excess of 83% reduction in waste to landfill in 7 years, while our average occupancy has constantly grown and we have added an additional 51 rooms over this period,’ said Group Environmental Manager and horticulturist Chris van Zyl.
How did they do this? As it is our mission to tell the stories, with details, of great role models in order to provide know-how for others to follow, Chris kindly let us in on some of their creative solutions:
- As of March 2007 they have established a good working relationship with a pig farmer, who removes their food waste 7 days per week.
- A microbial solution, called EM (effective microbes), is applied to the fat traps and drains and this digests and breaks down the fats in the pipes, thus keeping the pipes clean of blockages, free from odour and it prevents fats from entering the municipal sewerage line. This is also used to spray on the waste to reduce odours and for cleaning of the bins.
- Used cooking oil is returned to the supplier and the hotel is compensated for the used oil. This oil is then passed onto another company, which manufactures biodiesels from it.
- Left over bread rolls are frozen and collected once a week by a soup kitchen for distribution to the homeless.
- A juice maker makes fresh tropical blend juice from the trimmings from all the fresh fruit they cut for the day .This has reduced the volume of wet waste going to the waste room.
- Material Safety Data Sheets were obtained for all the chemicals used in the hotel and where possible chemicals that were harmful to staff and the environment were replaced by environmentally compliant ones. This also keeps waste water safe to the environment.
- A water saving device was installed in the canopy over the cooking area. This device has a timer and solenoid valve controlling the water usage. This has reduced the water consumption of water going to waste in one year by 678.024 kilolitres of water!
- A small percentage of the garden waste is turned into compost on site.
- The balance of the green waste is collected by a reputable waste contractor and delivered to the closest municipal transfer site, where it is turned into mulch and compost. They in turn buy back the organic compost from them, thus closing the loop.
- When tree fellers are on site, the cut material is sent through a chipper and this is used as mulch in the gardens.
- The Vineyard’s waste area is in a very visible spot and they advertise on the external wall how many kilograms of waste were recycled the previous month.
- Compact fluorescent and fluorescent bulbs are collected in special sealed tubes and removed by Waste Plan for safe disposal. This service is also available to their staff to deposit their spent CFL bulbs from home.
- Batteries are collected from the hotel, staff and guests and removed from site by Waste Plan for safe disposal.
- Waste Plan has erected signage in the waste room to further simplify the process and so improve the recycling of their waste.
- A green procurement document was designed with the main aim to ensure that where ever possible articles purchased have a recycled content and chemicals have to be checked to confirm that they are safe for the environment.
- Used paper is sorted and sent to the departments for reuse.
- Recycling signage and information posters have been designed and are displayed on all bins in food and beverage areas.
- Stainless steel twin bins are present in all banqueting outlets for the guests to separate their waste.
- All returnable bottles are collected from the various outlets and collected by Peninsula Beverages.
- Glass jam jars from the restaurants are returned to the suppliers and deposits are obtained.
- E waste in the form of old printers, monitors keyboards etc. are removed by Waste Plan, who send it to a company who dismantles it for reuse and the rest is disposed of in an environmentally safe manner.
- Used printer cartridges are returned.
Local community benefits too
The Vineyard is not keeping all their clever systems to themselves either. They have increased their circle of influence and have made their recycling facilities available to the local community to deliver their recyclable items at the hotel. They can even drop off hazardous waste, like batteries, which are dealt this properly by WastePlan.
WastePlan provides an extensive service, which also includes a live website to view your waste figures, management of the site and regular visits, on site weighing of the waste, disposal of hazardous waste and the recycling of ewaste.
Thank you to the Vineyard Hotel and Spa for their dedicated practical application of their environmental commitments and for sharing their knowledge with us. We trust it would help others to move forward in the right direction.