Project Zero tackles rubbish in Hout Bay

From time to time, there’s news in the press about the landfill crisis – how Cape Town is running out of space to dump waste, and how volumes of waste are growing. Part of the City of Cape Town’s response to this challenge has been to gradually introduce, across the metropole, a FREE recyclable waste collection service on the same day as refuse is collected. This service has been available to residents, businesses and restaurants in formal areas of Hout Bay since 2009.

Alarmingly, though, WastePlan, the company that currently holds the recyclable collection contract, reports a 21% drop in the use of this facility (from 123.7 tonnes of recyclables in March 2012 to 98.3 tonnes in July 2017). What a waste!

Project Zero – For the Good of the Hood was born in November 2017 and is managed by Thrive’s Sustainable Communities Manager, Nontsikelelo Martel, with mentoring and support by Thrive Founder, Bronwen Lankers-Byrne. The project is just one facet of the multi-faceted approach being taken by Thrive to show a model on the ground, so that environmentally sustainable living practices can be documented and ultimately shared for use in other areas. The objective of this project is to encourage restaurants in Hout Bay to become environmentally sustainable.

project zero hout bay

Making Project Zero work

A list of 65 eateries in Hout Bay was compiled.  Ten volunteer mentors on the project were each allocated about six restaurants with a view to making contact, sharing the project objective, encouraging participation and building relationships.

project zero hout bay
Volunteer mentors work together through training material for restaurants

Each restaurant was provided with a pack containing information about ways and means in which they walk this journey to achieve the project objectives:

  1. Recycling Waste: Contact details of waste removal service providers such as WastePlan who collect recyclable waste
  2. Organic waste recycling for composting: Contact details of a local transport provider, Jeffrey Agulhus, who collects green waste and takes it to a local garden where it is turned into compost.
  3. Local fresh produce: A list of local gardens in Hout Bay where restaurants can source some of their fresh veg supplies. They also have access to a Thrive gardening consultant who can show them how to grow their own.

The project introduced a three-star grading system to inspire and motivate restaurants to acquire environmental sustainability status. A restaurant is able to achieve one, two or three stars, depending on how many of the three objectives they meet.

In December 2017, the first participating restaurants were awarded stars, depending on their status.  In the first quarter of 2018 those restaurants, plus others who have achieved stars in the interim, will be reassessed by the mentors and added to a Hout Bay tourism map through collaboration with Remax Hout Bay. The aim is to circulate the map in Hout Bay and beyond. It will also be made accessible through various media platforms, for example in newspapers, on radio and via social media. Click here for a full list of participating restaurants. 

Rewards of signing up to Project Zero

This may seem like a bit of extra work for restaurants, but there are rewards.

  • By diverting recyclables from your ‘rubbish’, restaurants can cut down the number of black bins you need, and reduce their refuse collection bill.
  • Restaurants can help keep municipal refuse charges affordable by reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfill and delaying the need for new landfill sites.
  • Restaurants will comply with the Waste Act (no. 59 of 2008). Section 16 (1), which states: “A holder of waste must, within their power, take all reasonable measures to –(a) reduce, re-use, recycle and recover waste”.
  • You can play your part in building a sustainable Hout Bay for ourselves and for our children.

Green restaurant ratings system

As part of Project Zero, a new restaurant-ratings system was launched. Ten Thrive “mentors” approached more than 60 restaurants, pubs and bistros to be part of the campaign.

Those that agreed to be part of the project were awarded a minimum of one and a maximum of three stars depending on how well they met the various criteria – making use of the recycling collection, separating food waste for composting and buying local produce.

Their star rating was displayed on a sticker at the entrance to their establishment. The Thrive mentors conducted monthly audits of the restaurants, looking at recycling/landfill statistics, composting data and food-purchase details. They also provided tips for restaurants, such as removing plastic straws and plastic bags for takeaways.

Anthony Streobel, owner of the Bay Harbour Market, said the ratings system was a “great idea”. “I think even more criteria can be added, such as looking at an establishment’s water usage.”

project zero hout bay
Restaurant staff pose with their Project Zero restaurant rating

Heroes aim for zero

The growing success of this project is in large part thanks to the dedicated efforts of our mentors who give of their free time by visiting and encouraging the restaurants. To date, 24 restaurants have achieved stars. Hout Bay residents and visitors are encouraged to look out for the Hout Bay Green Restaurant Map to locate these restaurants, in order to give them full support.

Well done Hout Bay, let’s do this for the Good of our Hood.

One thought on “Project Zero tackles rubbish in Hout Bay

  1. love this project, it’s fabulous! It’s going to make a big difference since restaurants produce a lot of waste.

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