Why a War on Waste?
You may be aware of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s War on Waste. Waste
management in a bed and breakfast is a subject we never contemplated when we were considering coming into the business! Nevertheless, it is something we now consider carefully and we are keen
to develop an eco-conscious business. We use a waste hierarchy to help us to prioritise waste management actions, we try to eliminate waste by avoiding producing waste
in the first place, we reduce waste by minimising the amount we produce, we re-use, using items as many times as possible, we recycle whatever we can and we dispose of what is left ethically and we are monitoring our progress in this area.
Hospitality in the UK is big business, there are more than 45,000 hotels and
almost 200 hotels and Bed and Breakfasts in Torbay alone. Some of the figures are staggering, across the country 8 million meals are served with 79,000 tonnes of food being wasted in a year,
less than half of this weight is recycled. If you are concerned about this waste issue, then we’d like to reassure you that we “love local”. We source our food locally and more
information is provided on our breakfast page. We cook our award winning hot breakfasts to order so that guests choose just what they want to eat and waste is minimised. We serve our homemade jam in jars so
you can help yourself to just the amount you need, we serve our hand churned butter in china dishes to minimise packaging waste. Careful planning and stock management means that any food that
is “left over” is eaten by us and if, by some freak chance, any of our delicious food is left by guests then this is recycled.
Why is it important for
housekeeping to clean green?
Housekeeping is at the frontline of any bed and breakfast business, after the bed
and the breakfast, and this is an area where we are trying to develop our sustainable business. We use Method eco-friendly cleaning products. We changed to these products because they do
not impact on the environment or the people using them and because these products do not impact on insect populations including bees.
Why reduce, reuse, recycle?
As you may know, most of the work at Heathcliff House is carried out by either
Nigel or Juliette but in the height of the summer season Sam and Courtney help out. We are all aware of the need to ensure that Heathcliff House is a sustainable and eco-conscious business and
this includes water management, being aware of energy consumption and ensuring that we reduce, reuse and recycle.
Which.co.uk (August 2018) recommend seven actions for plastic footprint
reduction, we are pleased to say we do all of them! Think twice about black plastic; screw lids back onto bottles and push in any plastic straws; Squash plastic bottles; Recycle plastic film
and carrier bags at the supermarket; We try to avoid plastics whenever we can; We empty and rinse our plastic before recycling and we buy loose fruit and vegetables. Additionally, there is
fresh milk every day in every room as we have stopped using small uht milk cartons in all our rooms and have invested in small flasks for our standard rooms.
Long life low energy lightbulbs are used throughout Heathcliff
We are lucky to have an array of solar panels on the roof which heat our hot water
and create electricity;
We monitor our electricity usage through the day and operate appliances at
different times to maximise our use of solar electricity;
We replaced our old boiler with an up to date A+ rated energy efficient model and
we are seeing the benefits of this on gas energy saving;
In the winter, if the sun is shining and we are generating solar power, we will
further reduce our use of gas by turning off the central heating and use electric heaters instead;
We replaced a set of wooden single glazed doors with double glazed units and three
aluminium framed replacement windows from the 1980s were replaced with double glazed units which meet up to date fire regulations and save energy;
As part of our maintenance and improvement plan, we are replacing electric showers
with A+ rated appliances;
To help conserve water, we replaced two old style toilets with large cisterns with
smaller more efficient dual flush cisterns;
Taking advice from South West Water, we "Love our Loos" and encourage guests to only flush the three Ps (pee, paper and poo), we
have lined bins, we provide odour and leak-proof nappy bags in all our bathrooms and ask guests to bin everything except the three Ps even if an item says flushable or biodegradable we ask
guests to bin it! We do this in our house too!
We also "Think Sink"! We scrape our plates , we collect cooled fats, oils and grease in glass containers for recycling and
we wipe our pans before washing. This helps to reduce the chance of blockages in sewers and the inevitable cost of unblocking them, as well as helping to lower water bills;
We purchase our IT products from a company based in Somerset,
www.makingitgreen.co.uk, they specialise in recycled ink cartridges which are refilled and refurbish computer equipment;
Complimentary toiletries are provided in refillable 250ml bottles which means that
we waste less packaging when providing these products. The toiletries are designed in the UK and often manufactured in the UK too. Walter Geering who supply our toiletries "strive to
ensure all our packaging is recyclable" and the toiletry products we use are paraben free and NOT tested on animals;
We use organic washing powder for our personal laundry, this is to ensure that
there are no toxic chemicals to impact on our health and to ensure that toxic chemicals are not dumped in our sewers where they might end up in our rivers or in the sea. We understand that this
switch can also impact on our water consumption and lower our waste production. We have an A+ rated washing machine which uses less water.
We have a clean towel policy – less washing means less harm to the
environment. We use our discretion to decide whether towels need replacing each day, however, if you feel you need a clean towel then you only have to let us know, our clean towel policy is in
Clean Linen Services provides our bed linen and towels. This is a
surprisingly efficient way to launder such a lot of items as their "advanced machinery use energy, water and chemicals with maximum efficiency", they deliver our linen using "a fleet of hybrid
vehicles", Clean's "water recycling systems and chemical alternatives reduce environmental impact" and they are "Green Apple Award and Footprint Award winners";
We use our own containers when purchasing some food items at our local Morrisons
With great public transport links right on our doorstep you can easily visit
Paignton, Brixham, Dartmouth, Totnes, Teignmouth, Dawlish and Exeter or, if you don’t feel like the short walk, you can take a bus ride to Torquay seafront. Why not park your car in our
car park and walk the 200 metres to Torre Railway Station or take the Hop 12 service which runs from Newton Abbott all the way to Brixham?
We segregate glass from other packaging such as paper, cardboard, tin and plastics
and send as little as possible to landfill;
So far this year we have recycled more than 1240 aluminium cans which is enough to
make two bicycles;
We recycle around 6kg of glass bottles and jars each week; Since we have
lived here that is 744kg of glass!
All paper and card is recycled - a tonne of recycled paper and card saves 17
We have been monitoring our use of water “fresh water” and the amount of “grey
water” that goes down the drain. We now recycle our washing up water (generally using it to water the garden or clean outside spaces!). In addition, we have six water butts to collect
rainwater which is also used to water the garden or clean outside hard spaces.
We compost all garden and food waste. The compost is used in our
We recycle unwanted household items through Preloved and other free online
We have become a collection point for Ecobricks
- An Ecobrick is
a plastic bottle packed to a set density with used, clean and dry plastic to achieve a building block that can be used over and over again. Ecobricks can also be packed with other non-biological
un-recyclables that, uncontained, are toxic to the environment (i.e. styrofoam, wires, small batteries, etc.). Ecobricks
are used to make modular furniture, garden spaces, walls and even full-scale buildings. Ecobricks are an exciting way that individuals, communities, and companies can start their immediate
transition from plastic towards ever greener harmony with the Earth’s cycles. We understand this is not a long term solution for unrecyclable materials and we will continue to encourage
producers to use recyclable materials and aim for zero waste