Properties Taking Reduce, Reuse, Recycle to the Next Level
Updated: Apr 6
I hope this note finds you well. In case they're fits for upcoming coverage, I wanted to share a number of properties from across the globe that are doing their part to reduce waste to help reverse not only climate change, but also food insecurity around the world.
Nestled in the Alps of Arosa, Switzerland's hidden gem, the Valsana Hotel is run entirely by an Ice Battery, which powers the property through an extensive, completely self-sufficient waste water heat recovery system that allows access thermal energy to be stored and used by extracting the energy from the water until controlled freezing takes place. The first hotel in Switzerland to be designed with such technology, the Valsana’s ecological footprint has been reduced to four percent since opening in 2017. The property also boasts sustainable, natural materials in the architecture and interior designs throughout its 49 rooms and apartments, spa, lobby, lounge, and restaurant, Twist.
Boasting a menu filled with a variety of balanced juices, soups, salads and grain bowls, the chefs at Twist create healthy, seasonal dishes by incorporating fruits, vegetables and meats stocked regularly by local producers, cheeses from Arosa-based dairies, and bread baked daily in town. They only buy what they need and use all that they can from each product. Additionally, the property's wine selection also hails solely from Europe – with a few specifically chosen from Switzerland – to cut down on delivery routes, the kitchen staff avoid using plastics and all waste separation is handled on site.
The key to reducing food waste at all Singita lodges lies in the use of sustainable produce and meticulous menu planning. The company’s talented chefs design menus creatively, with the aim of using the ingredients that are locally available. The lodges don’t serve in buffet-style, instead focusing on each guest individually and preparing personalized meals, portioned appropriately to reduce any waste. All meals are prepared onsite at the lodges, meaning the lodge teams are able to flexibly cater for the amount needed. There are also strict rules in place for labeling and dating all prepared food so that it doesn’t get discarded unnecessarily. The use of high quality produce also means less wastage during food prep.
The Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa
Located in the tranquil, tree-lined suburb of Sandhurst, within minutes of Johannesburg's world-class shopping and business hub, the Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa, is an exclusive 5-star, all suite-hotel situated on 10 acres of magnificent indigenous gardens. The Saxon is committed to a comprehensive green efficiency program throughout the expansive estate which includes well-managed recycling practices, organic gardening and environmentally friendly marketing collateral. The hotel employs an energy-saving program which includes energy efficient lighting, thermal glazing for temperature control, heat pump technology for water heaters, and more. Additionally, the energy supply and water usage on property are managed by smart meters to ensure maximum efficiency. With an efficient recycling program in place, the Saxon has an ongoing goal to to reduce landfill volume by 25% each year and ultimately reaching a zero-landfill target. For materials and waste, the hotel practices a strict waste separation program for recycling, and utilizes recycled materials for marketing collateral, and in-room services like suit bags, soft drink bottles, and newspaper and wine bags. Additionally, the vast gardens and greenery of the Saxon were planted using only indigenous species. The hotel also features a rooftop garden that is home to of all the fresh produce, herbs and vegetables used by chefs for dishes.
Located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, Fregate Island is a luxury hideaway as well as a conservation sanctuary. Guests of Fregate Island are encouraged to participate in the hands-on conservation experiences such as assisting in turtle hatchlings, cultivating sea coral, and visiting the island’s bird sanctuary.
Over the past few months, Fregate Island has implemented a new initiative to reduce the food waste on the island. This project consists of collection of all vegetable and fruit waste from the kitchen preparations, which is then fed to the tortoises housed in Fregate’s sanctuary. Over the first four weeks, the tortoises were fed an astonishing 428 pounds of food. Not only does it reduce the food waste on the island, but it also makes the resident tortoises very, very happy. Fregate Island also arranges for a barge to visit quarterly so their conservation team can organize and sort the trash and recyclables that have accumulated over the previous three months, ensuring that the island's waste is properly taken care of.
Ellerman House is dedicated to the future and well-being of Cape Town, and by reducing their carbon footprint hopes to inspire other businesses in the city to become more eco-friendly as well with the hotel’s green projects. Ellerman House’s commitment to sustainability is a variety of ongoing environmental initiatives to protect the planet, such as waste management including recycling and single-use plastic reduction, water saving including an indigenous water-wise garden, boreholes and other measures, as well as a strong focus on local procurement. The hotel’s green projects including solar panels, LED light bulbs, heat pumps, earthworm farms and recycling systems, were implemented with the goal to be leader in Cape Town’s eco-friendly luxury hospitality. The entire staff on property recycles garden and kitchen trimmings, coffee grounds and shredded paper and adds them to the eight earthworm farms at Ellerman House. The materials eventually turn to compost, used in the picturesque Ellerman gardens, comprised of indigenous and drought tolerant plants, as well as species from the famed Kirstenbosch Garden. Water-capture systems onsite are used to irrigate the estate. Additionally, the heat pumps at the hotel consume less electricity and produce heat efficient hot water.