Sun International’s Wild Coast Sun has received a Net Zero Waste rating by the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) – the first in the country. This certification is a giant leap forward for Sun International on its sustainability journey. The Group has set an ambitious target to achieve zero waste to landfill by 2020.
The Wild Coast Sun achieved the Net Zero Waste rating after submitting regular audits on its operational waste and material management plan to the GBCSA, undergoing a rigorous, year-long verification process that proved that, due to Wild Coast Sun’s recycling efforts, zero waste is sent to landfill.
The GBCSA works in collaboration with its membership community, sponsors and extended network of professionals to inspire a built environment in which people and planet thrive. It advocates solutions and tools that enable the design, construction and operation of all buildings in an environmentally responsible way and carries the vision that someday all South Africans should live, work and play in a healthy and efficient urban built environment.
For years Wild Coast Sun has, under the watchful eye of its Environmental Manager, Sonja Stroud together with Recycle 4 Africa (R4A), the properties’ local waste management agency, operated in an extremely environmentally friendly and responsible manner. According to Stroud, Recycle 4 Africa (R4A) formed an integral part of this process and assisted to pioneer the zero waste process for the Wild Coast Sun.
“R4A is responsible for separating and recovering all waste items on property and ensures that items such as glass, paper, plastic, and cans are bailed and sent to the various recycling outlets,” says Stroud. “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 of achieving zero waste – the production of Eco blocks or waste-to-blocks as we refer to it.”
By the end of 2016, Wild Coast Sun had already put things in place toward achieving a zero waste goal. However, the property’s efforts are about more than just the rating. Together with their waste management partner, they also strive toward bringing utmost awareness to staff of the environment and caring for it in the long-term by presenting educational workshops and seminars. “We want to protect the Wild Coast environment which plays host to so much wildlife, marine animals, beautiful beaches and sees so many tourists visit our shores. We want to contribute positively to the many reasons visitors are attracted to the Coast,” explains Stroud.
Every element of the Wild Coast Sun’s operations was relooked. Skips and compactors were removed off property, not only creating employment for waste-sorters, but also lessening the property’s environmental footprint and assisting people living in the communities they do business in through donations of physical products, excess food from their gardens and the creation of new business and employment opportunities.
In addition to these already highly commendable achievements, efforts by Wild Coast Sun also see to the sustainability of two local projects; Gavo Enterprises which collects and separates food waste, cartridges, paper, batteries and such, and Vuka Uzenzele Trading, which produces compost from food waste and garden cuttings, and plants and manages the new organic vegetable gardens on property.
Wild Coast Sun offers guests vegetables grown organically in the gardens, straight from the ground to the plates of the resort’s restaurants and hotel, promising consumers the best in freshness and organic goodness. The vegetable gardens came about as a natural extension to the resort’s very successful natural compost project which produces enough natural compost to dress the sprawling lawns at the Wild Coast Sun, as well as feed the vegetable and herb garden.
“We are thrilled with the progress we have made towards optimising our resource efficiencies and entrenching sustainable practices and at the same time assist to create job opportunities within the local community,” a proud Stroud concludes. “A zero waste rating is an absolute honour for us.”