19th January 2012 at 9:31 am


January 2012: The Protea Hospitality Group has started a roll-out across South Africa of a purified water system that will replace bottled mineral water in their conferencing venues and ultimately save millions of plastic bottles from ending up in landfills.

Africa’s leading hospitality company has partnered with the international leader and originator of premium water systems, Vivreau (which sees to President Obama’s water needs in the White House as well as the finest Hotels and Michelin starred restaurants across Europe and America), to introduce a system of on-site bottling of purified water served in stylish glass bottles.

Protea Hospitality Group Operations Director William Ford said the roll-out was beginning this month and the initial phase would comprise approximately 20 hotels that include:

  • Protea Hotels Fire & Ice! Melrose Arch and Cape Town;
  • African Pride Melrose Arch Hotel;
  • African Pride Crystal Towers Hotel & Spa;
  • Protea Hotel Umhlanga Ridge;
  • Protea Hotel Wanderers;
  • Protea Hotel OR Tambo;
  • Protea Hotel Vineyards Estate and
  • Protea Hotel Victoria Junction

“We will be serving complimentary Vivreau water, purified on the premises in our conference rooms, rather than bottled mineral water as is the case now” said Ford, explaining the changes. “We will also be offering complimentary chilled Vivreau water in our receptions and to diners in our restaurants as well as in the bedrooms of hotels where we currently offer complimentary bottled water. We will of course continue to make available for purchase bottled mineral water for those of our GUESTS who would prefer to have this option.

“We have been given to understand that the material from which the plastic mineral water bottles we currently use is recyclable, however there is a lack of facility nationwide which is convenient and cost-effective for our hotels to expedite the recycling process and resulting in the majority of used bottles ending up in land-fill. Ford said it took between 3 and 7 litres of water to produce a 1 litre bottle of mineral water if one included the bottle manufacture and transport processes.

“The Protea Hospitality Group doesn’t view sustainability as an additional strategy or range of new activities, we have been sensitive to the environment and our responsibility in this regard for many years and are continually looking for ways to improve the environmental sensitive behaviour of our hotels and reduce the carbon footprint impact of our operations.  It is also about influencing all corporate strategies – creating integration and deepening our work to bring effect to profit (Prosperity), society (People), and environment (Planet). We recognise that this calls for a shift in the way we approach the very issues that face our business on a daily basis and that is what the move to Vivreau water is all about.”

Charles Tapanlis, MD of Vivreau Advanced Water Systems for Sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean islands, said by providing an in-house purification system and endlessly sanitising and reusing the same glass containers, dispensing just 100 Vivreau bottles per day, would replace more than 73 000 plastic bottles in one hotel over a two-year period.

Citing a National Geographic report, he said in America alone some 30 billion bottles of water were consumed per year. In order to make those bottles, manufacturers used 17 million barrels of crude oil – enough to run 1 million cars for a year.

“Vivreau’s mission is to offer the highest conceivable quality alternative to bottled water, whilst eliminating the carbon footprint, ‘water miles’, landfill waste and Bisphenol A (BPA) linked to health concerns from bottled water.

“We are immensely excited to be partnering with the largest and leading hotel group in Africa on this project that will not only give GUESTS a premium water product, but also massively reduce their environmental impact.”