Our overall aim is to minimise our business’s impact on the environment whilst providing the best service we can to our guests within the style of our business operation.
When we down sized our business in 2002 we made not only a physical change in our business we also decided to adopt a different ethos in our style of operation.
As we have grown older this has taken on a greater emphasis. Now we rarely make decision without considering the environmental impact of our proposed action. In our Sustainable Tourism Statement that follows we have listed some of the items we have considered in operating our business, the list is not exhaustive and we like to think we add something to it each time it is reviewed. It is very much a working document.
Local Produce and Services
If a product or service we require is available locally we always consider it as our first option.
We use a local laundry, we don’t only consider ‘food miles’ we try and think ‘supplier miles’. When a service or product is not available locally we expand our circle of supply. If we know a supplier visits Helmsley and we need their service we will make an approach, after all if they are coming anyway why not avail ourselves of their service? Our Yorkshire dry cured bacon comes from Taste Tradition in Cold Kirby, our sausages from the Masham Sausage Shop, mushrooms from Dishforth, free range eggs from Ebberston, we could go on but I hope by now you have the picture. If we provide a dinner for a group who are staying, we use a local butcher and frequently walk through the farm where the animals are reared. We are not totally convinced on some ‘Fairtrade’ commodities, (we have a relation in the Coffee growing industry) but we always monitor our choices.
Regrettably our garden is not large enough to supply our commercial operation but we do derive considerable enjoyment from ‘growing our own’. We do encourage our local birds, if you are stay in room 8 you will become aware of that and have an active colony with many recognisable regular visitors. We do get occasional visits from a Sparrow Hawk which causes not only consternation in the garden but can lead to frantic action in the kitchen as we try and get to the garden to scare it away. If you hear a loud clattering noise from the kitchen, well …. I’ll apologise now! We do have occasional bat visitors whose flying antics are truly astounding.
Our electrical energy supply contract is something that requires more effort on our part. Our supplier Scottish Power does make purchases and supply from renewable sources but it, like us, has to improve. We monitor our energy supply and have done for 15 years, reading our meters on the 25 of every month. As an aside we have been summons to appear in court 5 times and have got to court twice, each time for the respective power company to effect a settlement prior to getting through the courtroom doors and all because we read our meter, amazing.
We use low energy lighting, it might take a couple of minutes to get up to full lux but is certainly worth the saving! We are currently experimenting with dimmable low energy lighting and LED bulbs the next revolution in power saving with ‘effect’.
If you feel the need to turn your TV off standby and turn off the lights when you leave your bedroom we’d like to take this opportunity to thank you.
Our central heating and hot water system is fueled by gas. In 2005 we purchased and fitted 2 new Condensing Boilers taking the opportunity at the same time to alter some pipe work to give us three heating zones. We saw a massive reduction, just under one third, in our consumption which meant that although we have endured massive price increases, along with everybody else, we are not paying more for our heating than we need.
At the same time as our boiler fitting we replaced those radiator valves that were not already fitted with thermostatic controls. Your bedroom can therefore be heated to the level at which you are comfortable as you are in control.
We are connected to both mains water and sewage removal. As with most natural resources we recognise that our water supply is finite. We use water saving devices in the toilet cisterns and the electric showers only heat the water required. We are currently examining using the tap outlets that aireate the water but tests to date have not been very successful, further work is required. Please use as much water as you need but remember that we’d like it to last!
When we attended college (too many years ago now to remember) we were taught some housekeeping techniques and remedies. We learned to use vinegar and water to clean mirrors/glass, lemon and salt to clean silver and brown paper to remove grease spots amongst other things. We now seemed to have travelled full circle and whilst we do use chemicals we minimise their impact by using Ecover and other biodegradable products. We use micro fibre cleaning cloths and always consider the ‘green’ option when faced with any cleaning issue.
We apply the 3 R approach to our waste.
We endeavour to reduce our waste footprint as much as we can. We opt when possible for loose packaging, and return containers when we can. We have a larger refuse bin but truthfully we struggle to fill it even at busy times. We separate guest waste into recyclables and return any cardboard to a local supermarket, whether it came from there or not!.
For those items that we cannot recycle locally we collect and take to larger reclamation centres when we visit the larger conurbations. Whilst shopping we are selective on products, we use our own bags and we remove excess packaging at the point of purchase. We do compost some of our food waste and our garden waste goes, via our local authority, to a farm some 4 miles away.
We are commercial customers of our Ryedale District Council one of the leading ‘recycling councils’. They earn money by charging us for our waste disposal. This creates an anomaly. Because there is no national government incentive for commercial waste recycling there is no incentive to recycle ‘trade’ waste. Ryedale is looking into this and trying to create a trade recycling scheme, in the meantime we adopt a pragmatic approach to the waste we recycle by using our domestic recycling containers for our business. Please don’t tell anyone.
We support Ryedale in its recycling efforts but feel that national government must lead the way on these issues by taking companies to task for excessive and unnecessary packaging.
We support the VisitBritain Walkers and Cyclists Schemes and are happy to drop off clients on linear walks and secure bicycles overnight.
Being green and or sustainable is no longer a choice. It is very much a requirement! We adopt the principle the ‘we borrow this planet from our children’ not ‘we inherit from our forebears’. We are responsible and we like to think we play our part although suggestions are always welcome.
Thanks for reading.
Chris & Margaret
P.S. Want (NEED!) to get involved? Visit http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Environmentandgreenerliving/index.htm