We have always been leading environmental concern in backpacking in South Africa. The Green Elephant is committed to low, impact, sustainable tourism to preserve our natural beauty for the next generations. In December 2004, we installed a 300l solar water heating system that preheats our existing electrical geyser. It has already shown economic and environmental benefits, by using the sun's power whenever it is present. It has been orientated to be as close to optimimum as possible. In future, solar water heaters will be installed in all houses. We recycle as much of our waste as possible. We help this by sourcing our supplies to be in the most practically recyclable material. Reduce, recycle and re-use
SOURCE APPROPRIATE MATERIAL, REDUCE THE AMOUNT USED, FIND A SECOND USE FOR THOSE ITEMS YOU DO USE PAPER
Paper and cardboard are separated at source were collected by Hansie and fellow recycling operators since we started The Green Elephant. Sadly, Hansie passed away in March 2005, but in his memory, The Green Elephant will continue to think of him when they recycle their paper products, which are frequently seen around Observatory collecting any materials that can be sold as scrap to the merchants.
GLASS Glass is separated at source, and collected by Michael, who takes it to Two Oceans recycling. Savanna drink bottles are collected separately and given to The Carpenters Shop. This is a charity that provides work opportunities for Street people in the centre of Cape Town to get them to start earning a living. The bottles are cut and polished by hand to make glasses and wine goblets.
CANS Cans are collected and sold to Collect-A-Can. The money earned is given to other charities. Grey Water System The Green Elephant has the first grey water system in use in Backpackers in South Africa. The water from our washing machine is passed through a filter and into 2 storage tanks. There a chlorine tablet prevents algae growth. The water is pumped from 2 submersible pumps to 2 of the toilets in the house. In this way we are reducing the wastage of good water going straight into the sewerage system. The program will be expanded to the rest of the toilets in the house over time.
ELECTRICITY Lighting Our lighting includes as much natural light as possible. Where electric light is used, low energy bulbs are installed.
HEATING WATER An energy efficient hot water boiler is used instead of a kettle for tea and coffee. The swimming pool is heated through solar panels on the roof. Cooking is done on gas which reduces the energy wasted on heating metal plates.
INSULATION Insulation sheets are in the roof to reduce heat loss in winter. Glass doors partially enclose the balcony upstairs to keep it warmer in winter. Water pipes are insulated in the walls. WATER Water consumption. Low flow shower roses are installed which are more efficient in directing the shower spray onto the body, rather than bouncing off the person and heating the shower wall tiles. The dishwasher is a far more energy efficient way to wash cutlery and crockery. It uses as little water as possible and does not run the water down the drain to wash one item!
RAIN WATER Rain water is directed into a 2500 litre storage tank. This water is used to water the garden or to top up the swimming pool or jacuzzi.
JACUZZI The jacuzzi is a luxury and is not energy efficient. However, it is heated by gas, which is faster and more efficient to reduce losses. Also the water is drained from the jacuzzi to water the garden, so that even in moments of indulgence we are aware of our impact on the environment.
EDUCATION All the staff are educated in our Environmental Management Plan and sign it and are committed to abide by it. We request and expect our guests to do the same and help The Green Elephant improve where they are missing out.
The Green Elephant is committed to impact positively on the society we live in. This necessarily involves supporting different charities and organisations. The Green Elephant supported the following projects improving education , conserving our environment , boosting food security and improving basic healthcare and I am proud of the staff. Woodside Sanctuary provides fulltime care to severely mentally disabled children. All small denomination coins are collected for Woodside and every year we buy 30 or more Christmas puddings for presents from Woodside which aids their fundraising efforts. The Red Cross Society We collect any left over clothes and deliver them to the Red Cross Society. The Red Cross also provides First Aid courses for our staff. Fountain House Fountain House provides employment for mentally disabled adults to integrate them into society and help them to earn a respectable living. They are based in Observatory and we employ a few people to clean the streets in our area and support their community meals.
SANCCOB cleans, feeds and provides support to coastal birds damaged by oil spills and other unnatural happenings in South African coastal areas. The Green Elephant toook part in the worlds largest ever operation to clean penguins damaged by the Treasure oil spill. Hopefully The Green Elephant will not be called upon again, but always ready and willing Ons Plek Ons Plek in Woodstock and Cape Town provides a safe home and base for young girls abandoned on the streets of Cape Town. The Green Elephant has aided them in energy management to reduce their bills. Installed new shower roses so that they have sufficient hot water for all the girls. Volunteers are also encouraged to go and see Ons Plek and help out with the children.
The Haven The Haven is a collection of night shelters for street people. We give them our old mattresses and bedding. IN winter we buy plastic reflective aluminium bags from them which provide a dry and warm protective cocoon from the Cape Winter elemants. We give these bags to street people we see battling in winter. Some years ago we bought a bag for each guests who was staying here and collected backpackers donations.
The Green Elephant Community Programs
The Green Elephant strives to be an active member in our Community and aids the development of personal skills and programs. The Green Elephant Education Programs Education is the key to our future and any organisation not involved in educating its staff and their families will lose out in the development of its people.
Environmental Goods or Services
Primary Country Where Active:
Location (Town, City, District or Region)
Cape TownWestern Cape
Postal Address (Main Contact)
57 Milton Road, Observatory Cape Town Western Cape
South Africa +27-21-4486359 Fax:+27-21-4480510 Mobile Phone Number: 0800 222722