Responsible Tourism means taking action when it comes to environmentally friendly practices.
Woodridge has always had environmental systems but no one has known about them and we feel the time has come to share our programmes with our guests and potential business partners.
In the past 12 months we have added significantly to our greening strategies that are all environmentally sustainable, and we hope these will have a positive impact on the overall guest experience.
Woodridge started small but we are just getting going. The projects we have undertaken are inexpensive but rewarding and the staff are now going to be encouraged to take ownership of the projects and come up with ideas that will add to the current systems. We will be implementing regular newsletters to staff to keep them informed about what is being done and hopefully educating them to try the same practices at home.
Waste disposal and sorting. Our kitchens sort all waste into edible and non edible. The edible waste is used to feed the ostrich.
Excess waste of a biodegradable nature is also used for composting and mulching , as are all grass cuttings, leaves and trimmed branches.
Water usage - Water used on Woodridge is recycled via septic tanks and French drains back into the natural water system. This process acts as a natural grey water system with all used water, all natural water sources and all rain water on Woodridge, seeping back into the ground which then runs into the Impofana River and eventually the Lions River which feeds Midmar Dam.
Water Conservation - We do not automatically provide guests with fresh towels or a change of bed linen daily. While this is available on request linen changing is limited and guests are quite happy to participate in this water conservation measure.
Toiletries used in the rooms are all manufactured onsite and are presented in refillable toiletry containers. All ingredients are 100% natural and biodegradable. All products use vegetable oils, minimal water and are complimented with herbs grown on the property.
The Midlands air could not be more pure. We discourage the burning of anthracite and smoking is restricted to very limited areas outside generally acting as a discouragement.
Light bulbs used at Woodridge are as far as possible Energy saving bulbs. Light fittings that do not accept energy savers will be replaced as part of an ongoing exchange programme.
Geysers all have heat saving geyser blankets and temperatures are turned right down in summer and kept down as far as possible in winter.
All Geysers are on timers which has resulted in a huge electricity saving.
Woodridge has a vigorous alien plants eradication programme which currently tackles the removal of all bug weed and wattle. This is not an easy programme as neighbouring properties are not being protected and the spread of these aliens is prolific.
Woodridge has removed hectares of alien Eucalyptus which has resulted in enormous water savings and an ongoing replacement programme with indigenous trees and plants grown onsite has been implemented.
Grass Lands have been successfully restored in our 65 hectare Nature Reserve
Only Alien wood is used for fireplaces and braai fires - predominantly Wattle.
95% of Woodridge staff are from locals.
Many can walk to work limiting Carbon Footprint.
Staff that are not housed onsite are provided with communal transport from the local village.
Woodridge has made a substantial investment in trainee programmes for gardeners, housekeepers and chefs. Most of the local staff currently employed at Woodridge come straight out of school and receive on the job training. They receive an in house certificate which will provide them with basic skills and invaluable experience which is beneficial when seeking alternative employment.
Woodridge currently provides a staff housing scheme for long serving senior staff which will enable them to enter the commercial housing market should they leave Woodridge.
Woodridge offers a variety of food options but all revolve around the use of traditional, seasonal and locally available ingredients. We grow some of our own vegetables and all herbs and flowers used for garnish and for spicing our dishes.
Leftover food, i.e. when we have over catered, is taken for redistribution to a local primary school in the village.
No individually wrapped condiments are used at Woodridge limiting the use of wasted wrapping. If disposable containers are required for a large function or picnics then biodegradable products are used.
As far as possible communication is maximised using electronic communication, emails and our Website.
All photocopy paper on Woodridge is recycled as Waiton order pads and even internal note pads. No executive pads are purchased for staff use and conferences are discouraged from using new paper – with recycled paper being offered as preferred alternatives.
A number of future programmes are to be implemented including:
Biodegradable and non toxic cleaning products
Biodegradable fire lighters and brickettes for our fireplaces and braai's.
A transfer service will be provided to limit the number of vehicles coming onsite and car sharing will be rewarded.
Once onsite guests will be transported when necessary by golf carts and encouraged to use the walking routes.
Conferences will be encouraged to purchase carbon offsets.
Jugs of water will be encouraged instead of the use of plastic bottles.
Recycled and eco friendly giveaway’s will be suggested and pencils made from reclaimed wood instead of ink pens.
Suggested Corporate gifts will be made from sustainable materials and be locally produced
We will be encouraging the use of memory sticks or disks instead of printed presentations or brochures. Handouts will be limited to using recycled paper and soy ink.
Seasonal living plants will be encouraged for decor rather than cut flowers and when fresh flowers are used Indigenous options rather than imports will be suggested.
Much of an environmental programme takes place behind the scenes but guests are advised of the hotel policy and in many instances like being involved.
A tree planting programme for brides will be implemented. Trees will be provided and brides will be encouraged to revisit the property to watch their trees grow from strength to strength.
Woodridge will be developing relationships with recycling partners and soon start its own sorting facilities for the separation of Glass – coloured; and clear; paper and cardboard; plastic and tins for collection by recycling companies.
During Arbour Week guests will be provided with trees to plant onsite or allowed to take saplings grown onsite home to plant.
We hope to extend the tree planting programme to include special occasions - commemoration of birthdays, anniversaries, christenings and any other event that deserves a living memory, at the same time adding to the sustainability of our planet for future generations.