I’ve lived in the same apartment block for a good couple of years. Opposite us is a small shopping complex that has seen its share of restaurants come and go. They’ve been rowdy with drunks and drag queens, they’ve been noisy during quiz nights, and there’s been the clinking of dozens of bottles being thrown out to be recycled after a busy shift.
While I always complained about the noise of the two former situations, I’ve never been troubled by the glass, which I can assure you is pretty loud when being dumped. The reason why? Because I knew there was a good ending to the waste we create as humans beings for those bottles.
When I agreed to The Glass Recycling Company‘s recycling challenge a few weeks ago, it was easy for me to say yes because I am so obsessed with recycling in any case (read about that here), but I needed a way to be more aware of the waste I create outside of my home.
What this means is that I’ve now started bugging waiters, restaurateurs and hotel staff about their recycling programmes. I can assure you they’re all thrilled (not so much).
Sadly, in the last few weeks, I’ve discovered that many restaurants and hotels don’t seem overly concerned about recycling, making superficial efforts to recycle their redundant paper and maybe install some LED lighting, and I think this may be more in an effort of cutting down costs than actually being concerned about the environment.
So instead of detailing (and shaming) those getting it wrong, I opted to bring you a story of a happy recycling hotel in Cape Town I stayed at recently. DoubleTree Cape Town was never designed as a hotel to win first prize in a recycling competition, but the story of how the hotel has evolved over time to make sure there is as little waste as possible being thrown into landfill is an inspiring one.
To give you an idea of what the hotel has done to make itself greener, I’ve included this simple list:
- Obsessively sort waste and recycle everything that can be recycled including paper, glass, plastic, cans and tin
- Install low-energy bulbs and appliances wherever possible
- Install recycling stations around the hotel
- Making sure food doesn’t go to waste by sending it to local charities and homes
- Harvesting 80% of their herb requirements from their very own rooftop garden
Because the original building of the hotel wasn’t built to be eco-friendly, the hotel has had to implement extreme practices, and has been monitored over the course of a year to make sure they’ve been upheld. The result is Five Star Green Rating by the Green Building Council of South Africa.
Recycling isn’t only something that’s done here, it’s an absolute necessity in order to maintain that rating. DoubleTree Cape Town is also only the second hotel in South Africa to achieve this (Hotel Verde was the first).
What it comes down to is this: If an entire hotel can convert to become one of the greenest buildings in the country, why is it so hard for restaurants to implement glass recycling? Probably the most basic out of all the green practices?
If we as the public, who care about this planet, don’t start asking these questions when we spend our money somewhere and put pressure on our favourite eateries and hotels to change, they simply won’t.
So as my challenge draws to a close, I’m asking you to take it up and start asking where your next empty wine bottle is ending up: recycled or in the landfill?
If you’re looking for a glass bank to recycle your own, then find your nearest one here. And if you’re keen to find out which restaurants are all about that recycling life, then check out these listings for Joburg, Cape Town, and Pretoria.
This post is sponsored by The Glass Recycling Company. As with all of my posts, the words are my own.