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Protecting the Environment: Sustainability and Going Green at Pezula Resort Hotel & Spa

There’s an old, Native American proverb that says: “We don’t inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”.

The proverb may be hundreds of years old, but nowhere does it ring more true than in this current millennia, and more specifically, the 21st century. Never before has humankind seen a faster degradation of our planet, with climate change, pollution and other, man-made factors wreaking havoc in Mother Nature.

However, in that same breath, never before has there been more pressure on humankind to protect the Earth and all that she gives us. People all over the word are more aware and more in tune to their contribution to the Earth – and that is something that should give everyone hope.

When it comes to the tourism and hospitality industry, there are several factors in which a company or hotel or even a small guesthouse can positively contribute to sustainability efforts, going green and ultimately protecting Earth from further damage.

At Village n Life, we take our sustainability efforts very seriously. We are very conscious of being as green as we can in our current capacity, and to educate our staff on the principles of sustainability and eco-friendly practises and policies.

The United Nations put together a list of 5 key areas to focus on on their Sustainable Tourism Development roadmap. These are:

 

  1. Sustainable economic growth
  2. Increased employment and poverty reduction
  3. Resource efficiency, environmental protection and climate change
  4. Culture values, diversity and heritage
  5. Mutual understanding, peace and security

 

With a special focus on point 3 of the United Nations’ list, we recently asked three of our properties’ Facilities Managers to explain the efforts of their respective properties when it comes to sustainability and eco-friendly practises and policies.

Daniel Louw, Facilities Manager at Pezula Resort Hotel & Spa, answered our questions:

  1. In your sustainability efforts, what are your most prominent green initiatives?

We have several solar heated initiatives. We have a solar heated pool, and 50% of the geysers in the hotel rooms are solar heated.

We also have multi hooks installed throughout the property to encourage people to naturally dry their towels, rather than sending them to be dried at the laundry. Our sugar packets are also wrapped in paper and not plastic.

 

  1. What products are at the hotel that are considered eco-friendly?

We have biodegradable take away containers, biodegradable straws and, as mentioned above, our sugar is wrapped in paper, not plastic.

 

  1. Is there a dedicated person in charge of ‘environmental sustainability’, ‘recycling and upcycling’ or ‘eco-friendly initiatives’ at the hotel?

Currently, it is me, and at the end of May, we welcomed a dedicated Horticulturist to our team, Bruce Wessels.

 

  1. Are your sustainability/eco-friendly/recycling and upcycling efforts clearly stated somewhere for guests to see?

Not at the moment, however, we would love to implement that soon.

 

  1. How does the hotel help your broader community in eco-friendly initiatives?

Recently, we teamed up with Bio Wise (www.biowise.org.za)

 

  1. What are your different policies on the recycling (or, in some cases, upcycling) of the four major ‘elements’ at your establishment: water, electricity, plastic and cardboard/paper?

Water: All our rainwater is harvested from the main building roof into a holding tank. The water is then upcycled and used in the irrigation system, topping up the pool and ponds.

A secondary harvesting plant is situated in the garden where rainwater from the rooms are gathered in holding tanks and used for the garden’s irrigation system and filling the gardens’ and grounds’ water features.

Electricity: The use of underfloor heating has been discontinued. All of our geysers are on timers and we switch them off over peak periods to reduce the load on the local supply.

All the globes in the Rooms and Suites are energy saving light bulbs or LEDs, and the majority of the globes in the core building and all fluorescent shaped lights are LEDs.

Paper and plastic: Paper and plastic is sorted and separated from general garbage and placed in a dedicated recycle area. This is then collected every second day by the local recycle partner.

 

  1. What are you doing to reduce the carbon footprint* of the property and staff working there?  

*’carbon footprint’: the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organisation or community.

A recently established nursery is used to propagate new plants from our garden and grounds and build out into an organic vegetable garden, which will then produce ingredients for our kitchen’s organic menu.

 

  1. Are there policies in place to encourage guests to be more mindful or their own carbon footprint or encourage them to be more eco-friendly (i.e check water or electricity usage)?

Guests are encouraged to rather reuse their towels than to put them into the wash after one use. Guests are also informed of our linen refresh policy for long stays, which is a refresh every second day.

 

  1. Does your hotel’s kitchen support local produce providers and businesses?

The kitchen team continuously strive to source ingredients and produce from local suppliers in an effort to support the local farming community. We are also in the process of sourcing our milk from a local milk farm in our community.

 

  1. What are your goals for the next 12 months in terms of eco-friendly initiatives and what (if any) is already in the pipeline?

Training and workshops are planned for mid-June with Bio Wise in order to bring the concept to the Pezula team.