Talking Point: Quitting straws and other ways to reduce single use plastics

Environmentally friendly fixtures and fittings at The Green House Hotel

Environmentally friendly fixtures and fittings at The Green House Hotel

Plastic is a big issue right now and loads of consumer-facing businesses are seeking ways to reduce their reliance on single use plastics. In today’s Talking Point, Olivia O’Sullivan, manager of the UK’s greenest hotel shares her top five tips for hoteliers looking to cut back on plastic waste to landfill.

The Green House Hotel is a boutique hotel and former Green Hotelier Award winner located on the UK’s South Coast. Famous for being as serious about luxury as it is sustainability, The Green House Hotel opened in 2010 following an 18 month environmentally considered refurbishment. Every element from the interiors to the food has been sourced with the highest standards in mind.

From our experience I’m sharing my top tips for easy wins on waste.

  1. Stop using UHT milk containers in bedrooms and replace with fresh milk in reusable flasks which are not only more environmentally friendly, but also more appealing to guests.
  2. The same goes for toiletries- invest in fixed 300ml refillable bottles instead of the single use disposables.
  3. Cut back plastic in the bar by limiting the number of Tetra packs of juice and milk you use. Consider buying a product like Pergal milk instead, which contains a gallon of milk in minimal packaging, and if you have the facilities why not freshly squeeze your juice?
  4. When it comes to water use an onsite filtration system such as Belu or even opt for house water where glass bottles can be used.
  5. Look to recycle as much waste as possible. We donate our milk tops to schools for arts and crafts and our wine bottle corks to Recorked. Suppliers are also paramount to being green, talk to them about how they deliver goods and ask to reuse pallets to build furniture and plant pots within the grounds.

Every aspect of The Green House Hotel has been developed on sustainable principles – from the building materials, the energy systems and even the bee hives on the roof. Everything from the crockery to the wallpaper has been painstakingly selected and evaluated for its carbon footprint. We’ve tried hard to think about everything. The guest room wardrobes and desks were handmade from Ash trees felled either by tree surgeons or storms, while the entirely natural beds were uniquely created for the hotel. The wallpaper, designed by students at London’s Central St Martin’s college, was printed on FSC paper using vegetable inks and wrapped in natural starch. Electricity is produced on-site using an efficient Combined Heat and Power Unit which not only keeps the building warm, but makes a contribution to the UK’s sustainable energy goals.

Our imaginative menu has a huge emphasis on locally sourced organic produce while the bar menu boasts the country’s widest range of organic spirits and biodynamic wine choices. The kitchen team works closely with suppliers who stake their family name on the quality of their produce, ensuring the kitchen receives daily meat, vegetable and dairy deliveries from ethical suppliers based within a 50 miles radius.

Design for the new wildlife garden

Design for the new wildlife garden

Outside, in the grounds, the commitment to sustainability continues as we’ve just begun work on an eco-friendly garden project. As well as human guests, we also want to provide a sanctuary and home to all the local bugs and wildlife which is vital in urban environments. The garden needs to be as eco-friendly as possible which means using as many materials already found on site instead of buying new, and any new materials have to be bought locally to reduce the carbon footprint.  We’re using organic soil, local planting, reusing materials already on site, sourcing other materials as locally as possible and the garden needs to work in three ways; a romantic setting for couples, a landscaped outdoor eating area, as well as a haven for wildlife.

We’ve won a number of awards for our sustainable approach but it’s easy to become complacent so we continue to try to challenge ourselves to do better. Eight years since opening, we are still striving to remain at the forefront of sustainability and ethical hospitality by constantly analysing best practices and reviewing modern technologies.

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