Virgin Active, Constantia Club, has achieved a Net Zero Waste certification from the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA), through rigorous waste reduction and recycling on site, with Ecolution Consulting as the Net Zero Accredited Professionals.
Currently 93% of the gym’s waste is being diverted. An amount which was calculated as being possible through an initial waste audit.
How does Net Zero Waste Work?
The GBCSA has laid out a number of pathways for a building to achieve a Net Zero or Net Positive certification. Waste reduction and efficiency is the highest priority/preferred pathway followed by on-site recycling, off-site solutions and finally waste offsets. The GBCSA has illustrated this principle in the following way:
In the case of Virgin Active Constantia:
In order to achieve a 93% diversion rate, similar to the methodology laid out by the GBCSA, reduction of waste was the highest priority for Virgin Active Constantia.
Waste was reduced greatly through addressing food waste and over-packaging/non-recyclables in the cafe.
The waste streams have been separated into recyclables, organic waste and general waste (on-site recovery) to ensure as little waste as possible ends up in the general waste bin destined for landfill.
What about the remaining 7%?
Similarly to how energy is often equated to carbon in the process of offsetting a building’s carbon emissions, the same can be done with the carbon footprint associated with an amount of waste sent to landfill.
As such, in order to calculate the carbon equivalent of the 7% currently not being diverted, Defra factors were used to ascertain how much carbon offsets needed to be purchased to neutralise the remaining negative impact.
The CO2 offset was purchased through impactChoice from the accredited project CarbonGreen Africa: Kariba REDD+ Project in Zimbabwe. It is validated by VCS and Issued by South Pole Carbon.
12 months of carbon offsetting has been purchased to date with commitment to purchase further. The gym also has plans to support further diversion from landfill through providing bins for members to bring their recyclables from home to be recycled through the Virgin Active scheme.
Ecolution Consulting’s Role
At Ecolution Consulting, we guide building projects through the Net Zero certification submission to ensure they are as sustainable as possible, meet the certification requirements and are recognised as such.