SA hotel first to gain Net Zero Waste rating

Posted on 26 March 2019

The Wild Coast Sun, just outside of Port Edward, is the first company in Africa to receive a Net Zero Waste rating from the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) for its recycling efforts.

The family-friendly resort’s environmental manager, Sonja Stroud has steered the project, which works to dispose of waste in an environmentally-friendly and sustainable way, and the scale of the recycling effort is quite impressive.

Source: Wild Coast Sun/ Facebook

The property, which belongs to the Sun International Hotel and Resorts group, sorts paper, plastic, glass and cans onsite and these get sent to recycling outlets. The non-recyclables get turned into Eco blocks. Sonja Stroud said in an interview with IOL, ‘Our waste that cannot be recycled is converted into eco-aggregate which in turn, is used to produce SABC-approved Eco blocks used for paving and construction purposes. Herein lies the key to achieving zero waste – the production of Eco blocks or waste-to-blocks as we refer to it.’

Also read: Follow the EcoBrick road

Instead of sending around 40 tonnes of waste to landfill sites every month, The Wild Coast Sun now employs local workers to sort the waste for recycling. It also has an organic vegetable garden that is composted by the hotel’s food waste and garden cuttings.

According to Engineering News, ‘The compost yard covers about 70m and produced 187 tons of compost in 2018. This translated into a saving of R430,000 for compost, which the resort had to previously buy to maintain its golf course and gardens.

Excess vegetables are also donated to local schools for their soup kitchens, with one school alone feeding as many as 900 children a day.’

Sun International began its project to eliminate waste sent to landfills in 2015, and the company eventually wants to achieve zero waste to landfill across all of its South African properties.

‘Our approach to sustainability is holistic. It is based on the need to protect our natural environment and to save our natural resources, so eliminating the waste we send to landfill is a natural progression of this strategy. To achieve the zero waste goal we had to scrutinise every element of our operation at the Wild Coast,’ said Stroud.

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