At Singita, we believe sustainability is an ongoing journey of continuous awareness, improvement, and thoughtful, appropriate adaptation to the changing contexts in which we find ourselves. This philosophy is echoed across our business, from the lodges and camps situated in remote parts of the African bush to our urban offices in some of the continent’s most populous cities. Reducing our overall use of plastic has been a key objective for the past few years; one in which we have made great strides in all our regions of operation. Reducing plastic consumption and finding sustainable alternatives is helping us to achieve our 100-year purpose.
One of the most significant accomplishments is a 90%+ reduction in the procurement of bottled water which has saved the equivalent of 127,000 1ℓ plastic bottles from the waste stream. Our guests are given reusable glass or stainless steel bottles filled with filtered water which they are encouraged to take with them as they continue on their travels or return home. In addition, plastic straws have been completely eliminated from use, preventing these non-biodegradable items from finding their way to our landfills and oceans.
There are other examples of reduced plastic use in our lodges and camps: soft drinks in our minibars are housed in tin or glass and milk is provided in a reusable glass bottle. At Singita Sweni Lodge we are experimenting with a bean-to-cup coffee machine that will eliminate coffee ‘pod’ waste. Where we do use Nespresso pods, and until such time as we move away from them entirely, the used pods are sent back to Johannesburg for recycling.
A few years ago, we also started paying attention to how much cling film (Saran wrap) our kitchens were using and found alternative ways to store and protect food. For example, compostable and/or cardboard boxes have replaced the plastic takeaway containers which had been used for our guests’ off-site picnic lunches, while dining room condiments are stored and presented in bottles or reusable containers rather than single-serving packs. This process is an ongoing one as our chefs continuously engage with their suppliers to reduce plastic and styrofoam packaging.
Last year, our Style, Design & Procurement division implemented a sustainable and reusable crate system which uses shredded paper and fabric from recycled uniforms to protect items in transit, rather than plastic bubble wrap. Items sent further afield are packed in shredded paper and boxed in cardboard which is sealed with gummed paper tape instead of the standard plastic tape. While this system costs more, it’s environmental benefits and alignment with our sustainability promise far outweigh the financial investment.
The spa range has shifted to Terres D’Afrique; a more sustainable, locally-produced brand which avoids plastic and uses glass and aluminium packaging for its products. Our in-suite amenities are from another local range called Malee which uses refillable metal or glass containers for shampoo, conditioner, body wash and moisturiser. Even the complimentary toothbrush (made from bamboo), cotton buds (fully biodegradable) and other small items are plastic free and, where applicable, stored in a corn-starch rather than plastic wrappers. Clean laundry is returned to guests wrapped in paper or in a reusable box, rather than plastic, and our in-suite bin liners are brown paper bags.
These simple alternatives to using environmentally-damaging single-use materials play an important role in reducing our negative impact on the Earth and form part of global efforts to end plastic pollution. As worldwide initiatives to reduce or eliminate the consumption of disposable plastics gather momentum, we encourage you to join us in making similar substitutions in your own homes. Changes both big and small help to minimise any damage made to the precious ecosystems we are dedicated to protecting and benefit all of us who share this one, precious planet.
At Singita, it is our goal for everything to circulate back into the ecosystem, the same way that it does in nature. We strive to get as close as possible to replicating sustainable natural cycles seen in a healthy natural environment by reducing waste, reusing where possible, and ultimately sending zero waste to landfill. Find out more about our approach to sustainability in the Conservation section of our website »