Table Mountain Aerial Cableway has announced a recent decision to boost its recycling target to 80% by 2021. Currently, the iconic tourist attraction recycles about 55% of the waste produced by visitors at Table Mountain.
The cable cars transport over one million locals and tourists alike to the summit of Table Mountain every year. This results in a lot of waste in the form of plastic bottles, food packaging, paper tickets and more. The company is committed to balancing its business of handling large numbers of visitors with the sensitive flora and fauna of the Table Mountain National Park.
“We are mindful of our role and responsibilities as a custodian of this globally recognised attraction,” says Table Mountain Aerial Cableway managing director Wahida Parker. “With this in mind and our need to continue to improve, we aim to have 80% of all our waste recycled within the next two years,” she adds.
How the Cableway plans to recycle more waste
Table Mountain Aerial Cableway was recognised for ‘Best Resource Management in Waste’ at the 2019 African Responsible Tourism Awards, making it one of the leaders in controlling visitors’ litter. The Cableway also adheres to the United Nations Principles on Responsible Tourism. These are some of the measures implemented by the company to control waste:
- Placing more recycling bins at both the Lower and Upper Stations, the head office and in the kitchens.
- All food and beverage outlets at both stations must use compostable straws, plates, cups and cutlery.
- A formalised organic waste recycling programme has been introduced to manage organic food and wet waste.
- A full-time recycler has been employed to ensure that the maximum amount of recyclable waste is removed from the general waste stream.
- Detailed waste records are kept to document the waste created and removed from the two Cableway sites. These records are updated daily to track progress.
- Drinking fountains and beer on tap have been installed to reduce the need for cans and plastic bottles for beverages served at the drinks outlets. These beverages are served in recyclable PLA cups.
- Suppliers are required to take their packaging and boxes back after delivery. They are also encouraged to use reusable crates.
- The Cableway has employed a dedicated night team to transport waste from the Upper Station to the Lower Station, outside of operating hours. This waste is then sorted and collected before the Cableway opens for business the next morning.
- The cable cars have special tanks fitted to transport wastewater down to the Lower Station, where it is drained into a municipal sewer system.
- The Cableway’s four main waste streams (general waste-to-landfill, dry recycling, organic waste and hazardous waste) are removed and handled only by accredited waste management companies.
- Hazardous waste, such as printer cartridges, batteries, sanitary waste and medical refuse are removed by specialist waste management companies with appropriate certifications.
“The Cableway is serious about waste management, and has been for many years. We have been formally recognised for being industry leaders and will continue to find innovative ways to ensure we meet our goal of having 80% of all our waste recycled within the next two years,” explains Parker.
She also believes that getting people to experience the magic of Table Mountain is the best way to garner support for the need to preserve it. “A trip up Table Mountain can inspire, invigorate and humble anyone who has ever set foot on this majestic rock,” she says.
“In South Africa we are privileged to have a tourist market that appreciates what we have to offer, but there is still such great opportunity for locals to become ambassadors for this country, its cities and the beautiful attractions that it boasts. Our job is to make sure that every visitor who visits the mountain basks in the awe of their experience long after they have returned home,” Parker concludes.
Image credit: Joshua Oates
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