Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘GSABiosphere’

Environmental Policy & Business Ethos

incorporating

“What can I do to be an ‘environmentally friendly’ guest?”

We are lucky enough to live in a truly beautiful area, next to Britain’s first Dark Sky Park and in the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere.

I signed Balkissock Lodge B&B up to the Galloway & Southern Ayrshire (GSA) Biosphere UNESCO Charter in 2015 because I knew that we already met their criteria and in 2018 we became the very first B&B to be awarded a sustainability quality mark for businesses operating in the GSA UNESCO Biosphere.

This policy was written to balance two crucial aspects of running a B&B:

  • Providing a high standard and quality of service.
  • Lessening the business’s impact upon the environment including food waste and fuel consumption.

Previous guests have asked how they can help maintain my environmentally friendly status so I’ve added a few suggestions to the end of each section for guidance (in italics) where you can help.

  1. Laundry
    1. Sheets and pillow cases:
      1. The sheets and pillowcases are washed after every visitor has left or in the event of a long stay, every five days.
      2. Any stains are pre-treated.
      3. The sheets and pillowcases are washed at 20C in Ariel Professional.
      4. The sheets and pillowcases are air dried outside when possible but are placed in the dryer in inclement weather.
      5. Sadly, in the event of ‘bird strike’ they need to be re-laundered.
      6. The bottom sheets in general are not ironed unless they are badly creased.
      7. Pillowcases are generally ironed.
    2. Quilt covers:
      1. The quilt covers are washed after every visit.
      2. Any stains are pre-treated.
      3. The quilt covers are washed at 20C in Ariel Professional.
      4. The quilt covers are air dried outside when possible but are placed in the dryer in inclement weather.
      5. Sadly, in the event of ‘bird strike’ they need to be re-laundered.
      6. The quilt covers are only ironed if they are badly creased.
    3. Pillow and mattress protectors:
      1. Pillow and mattress protectors are washed regularly but not necessarily after every visit.
      2. Any stains are pre-treated.
      3. Pillow and mattress protectors are washed at 20C in Ariel Professional.
      4. Pillow and mattress protectors are air dried outside when possible but are placed in the dryer in inclement weather.
      5. The pillow and mattress protectors are not ironed.
    4. Cushion covers:
      1. Cushion covers are washed when necessary.
      2. Any stains are pre-treated.
      3. Table and cushion covers are washed at 20C in Ariel Professional.
      4. Table and cushion covers are air dried outside when possible but are placed in the dryer in inclement weather.
      5. Cushion covers are only ironed if they are badly creased.
    5. Towels:
      1. The towels are washed after every visit.
      2. If visitors are staying longer than one night, any dirty or wet towels, or those placed on the floor or on the floor of the shower are removed and replaced with clean towels.
      3. Any stains are pre-treated.
      4. The towels are washed at 20C in Ariel Professional.
      5. The towels are air dried outside when possible and placed into the dryer to fluff if necessary.
      6. The towels are dried in the dryer in inclement weather.
      7. The towels are not ironed.
    6. Table cloths and napkins:
      1. The tablecloths and napkins are washed after every use.
      2. Any stains are pre-treated.
      3. The tablecloths and napkins are washed at 60C in Ariel Professional.
      4. The tablecloths and napkins are dried in the dryer
      5. The table cloths and napkins are ironed only if badly creased.
    7. Tea towels, kitchen cloths and aprons:
      1. The tea towels, kitchen cloths and aprons are washed after every use.
      2. The tea towels, kitchen cloths and aprons are washed at 60C in Ariel Professional.
      3. The tea towels, kitchen cloths and aprons are dried in the dryer.
      4. The tea towels and kitchen cloths are not ironed.
      5. Aprons are ironed only if they are badly creased.

 What can I do to be an ‘environmentally friendly’ guest?

  • Please excuse some creases in the bed and table linen.
  • Please excuse occasional peg marks on the bed linen, towels and table linen.
  • Please excuse occasional water marks from a leaky iron.
  • If you require fluffier towels please do ask, there are likely to be some in the laundry cupboard).

 

  1. Kitchen cleaning
    1. The kitchen is cleaned to a schedule that meets Food Safety Assurance Systems.
    2. The benches are sprayed with Dettol spray before and after breakfast is prepared.
    3. Paper towels are used for drying where necessary.
    4. Washable cloths are used where possible.
    5. Carex hand wash is used.

 

  1. Room servicing, rubbish and re-cycling
    1. Room servicing:
    2. Bins in the bedroom are emptied daily.
    3. Beds will be made unless guests have a large amount of personal items laid on them in which case I will not disturb them.
    4. If the personal items are only night clothes they will be laid under the pillow and the bed made up.
    5. Cups and glasses will be removed and replaced with clean ones.
    6. Shower cubicles will be dried to prevent condensation.
    7. Wet towels will be replaced with dry ones.

 

  1. Kitchen waste:
    1. Raw food waste such as strawberry stalks, pomegranate skins and similar items are placed onto the garden compost heap.
    2. Eggshells are placed onto the garden compost heap.
    3. Excess cooking fat is drained into a container and used to light the coal fire.
    4. Breadcrumbs, left over toast and bacon rind are fed to the garden birds.
    5. Waste food that cannot be composted nor fed to the birds are put into the kitchen bin.
  • All cereal boxes and other similar paper/card items are placed into the household re-cycling bin.
  • All juice bottles, milk cartons and all similar items are washed and placed into the household re-cycling bin.
  • All empty tins, from baked beans, prunes etc. are washed and placed into the household re-cycling bin.
  • Any items that cannot be recycled in any other way such as greaseproof paper used to wrap sausages are used to light the fire rather than go to landfill.

 

What can I do to be an ‘environmentally friendly’ guest?

  • Please place wet towels on the bottom of the shower tray so that they can be replaced with dry ones.
  • Please don’t put wet towels on radiators to dry as this causes condensation which lifts wallpaper.
  • Any towels which you wish to reuse can be placed on the rail; if they’re damp, I put them into the dryer for 10 mins to dry.
  • Only use as many towels as you need.
  • Place recyclable items either in the waste bin in the bedroom or beside it so that they can be sorted into the correct recycling boxes.
  • Place items such as tampons, condoms, etc into the covered bin in the bathroom (do not flush these down the toilet).
  • Please excuse the huge compost heaps around the property!

 

  1. Central heating
    1. The central heating works from an oil fired boiler and is normally on ‘timed’ to ensure that the rooms are warm in the evening and morning.
    2. The central heating is not normally switched on during the day to avoid excess Kerosene usage especially since, in general, guests tend to be out of the property.
    3. The central heating system is set to a medium temperature to optimise Kerosene usage.
    4. I will always check if guests are warm enough and the heating will be turned up to a higher temperature if so.
    5. The central heating is not routinely left on overnight except when the outside temperature is expected to drop below 5-8C.

 

What can I do to be an ‘environmentally friendly’ guest?

  • Please avoid leaving the outside door open to prevent heat loss especially when you’re packing/unpacking the car.
  • If you are feeling chilly PLEASE DO let me know. I’m a naturally warm person and in general I don’t feel the cold and the central heating in our private home is rarely switched on even in winter.
  • If you’re too warm please do turn your radiator down/off (if you’re the only guests in let me know and I can turn the heating off centrally).
  • If you’re too warm please feel free to open your window HOWEVER please ensure your window is closed during the night (we have stoats in the area who enjoy the challenge of getting indoors!!) and never leave it open when you are away for the day to ensure the security of your personal items. The windows have a catch so that it can be ‘locked’ in an open position to allow air flow.

 

  1. Hot water
    1. Please note that the water is heated in a tank (i.e. it is NOT a ‘combi’ system with instant hot water).
    2. The water is heated morning and afternoon to ensure that there is sufficient for all guests.
    3. The water heater is not normally switched on during the day to avoid excess Kerosene usage although the water should remain hot during the day.
    4. In general the water will always be hot enough however as it is not an ‘on demand’ system, if everyone has a shower at once, the tank will take a while to refill and reheat.

What can I do to be an ‘environmentally friendly’ guest?

  • Avoid leaving the taps running unneccessarily

 

  1. Lighting
    1. The bulbs in the overhead lights and bedside lamps are low energy types.
    2. The bulbs in the corridor are standard types due to the dimmer switch.

What can I do to be an ‘environmentally friendly’ guest?

  • Avoid leaving lights on in your bedroom when you are in the lounge for breakfast or in the evening or when you leave the building.
  • Please switch off the lounge and corridor lights if you are the last person to retire in the evening.

 

 

  1. Shopping, food & flasks
    1. Shopping trips are kept to a minimum as it is a round trip of approximately 50 miles to Stranraer or 80 miles to Ayr to do the shopping which increases the carbon footprint of the business as well as adding substantially to the running costs.
    2. Items that can be stored easily such as toilet rolls and tinned beans are normally bought in bulk whether at the supermarket or the cash and carry.
    3. Items with a short shelf life such as milk can be bought locally in Ballantrae.
    4. To reduce mileage/time/costs, many items, such as sausage, bacon or smoked salmon, are bought in bulk and frozen.
    5. Flour is bought in bulk and bread is made on-site.
    6. I try to source as much of the produce locally to reduce its carbon footprint.
    7. I get many items delivered by Asda and select the ‘do not use bags’ option.
    8. Guests are asked to pre-book evening meals so that I can plan shopping deliveries.
    9. Guests are asked to pre-order breakfast to reduce kitchen waste.
    10. Milk is no longer offered in small plastic cartons. A flask of cold milk is provided which providing the lid is replaced after each use seems to stay cold for up to 18 hours.
    11. Small bottles of water are no longer provided. The tap water is safe to drink and a large bottle of water is available should you prefer.
    12. I attempt to ensure that all food offered to guests is of a high quality. Many items are sourced locally in the GSA Biosphere eg: eggs (Lendalfoot farm eggs), cheese (McLeland, Stranraer), yoghurt (Rowan Glen, Newton Stewart), sausage (Dalduff, Maybole) but many other items such as cereal and beans are quality branded goods.
    13. I have flasks for guests to use and wooden tea spoons should you require them for your picnic.

What can I do to be an ‘environmentally friendly’ guest?

  • Complete the breakfast order sheet so that breakfast can be cooked to order without wastage.
  • I can amend most orders until 24 hours before delivery so I can sometimes accommodate late meal orders.
  • Ensure that I know of any dietary restrictions so that I can cater accordingly.
  • Ask if you require additional fresh milk.
  • Ask if you require additional bottles of water.
  • Please understand if I can not provide a particular food item at short notice as I would have to make a round trip of up to 80 miles to obtain certain items.
  • Ask to have your own flask filled or if you are returning in the evening I have flasks that you can borrow.
  • I have a supply of wooden spoons that may be useful for your picnic.

 

  1. Water supply (natural Scottish spring water!!)
    1. All of the water entering Balkissock Lodge comes from a spring located on Balkissock Hill next to the property. The water is potable (safe to drink) and has passed all chemical and bacterial tests. To meet necessary stringent water quality tests the water is treated as follows:
      1. The water passes through an ultra violet light to kill bacteria.
      2. This ultra violet light operates 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.
      3. The ultra violet lamp is replaced every year to ensure that it is working at an optimum level.
      4. The water passes through a string filter to remove all dirt particles.
      5. The string filter is changed every month
      6. The water supply is treated with Milton solution every two months.

What can I do to be an ‘environmentally friendly’ guest?

  • Large bottles of water are provided and please ask if you require additional bottles.
  • PLEASE NOTE: the natural spring water is heavy with natural minerals and turns the inside of the kettle black! Please do not be concerned about the colour of the kettle!

 

  1. Sewerage, surface water and drainage
    1. Septic tank:
      1. Balkissock Lodge is serviced by a septic tank that requires a fine balance of waste and microbes to keep it functioning correctly.
      2. All toilets and bathroom waste water at the lodge empty into the septic tank.
      3. Environmentally friendly cleaning products are used to clean the toilets.
      4. Flushing unsuitable items into the tank such as condoms, tampons, baby wipes, etc. result in blockages which are not only costly to rectify but an overflowing septic tank is not only unhygienic and odorous but can damage plants and wildlife (e).

 

  1. Soak away:
    1. Surface water from the gutters flows into a soak away in the nearby burn.
    2. Waste water or harmful chemicals are not put down the sink nor into the septic tank but are taken to be treated at a local centre.

What can I do to be an ‘environmentally friendly’ guest?

  • Please DO NOT flush items such as baby wipes, condoms, tampons, cotton buds, etc down the toilet. They will damage the drainage system and the functioning of the septic tank and will lead to costly repairs as well as risk blocking the tank and leading to it over-flowing into the courtyard and neighbouring burn.
  • Please put any of the above items (or similar items) into the covered bin in the bathroom. There will be additional small waste bags on the shelf should you require them.

 

  1. Garden, wildlife, weeds and animals
    1. The area close to the guests’ windows is kept relatively tidy with tubs of flowers and herbs to add interest throughout the year.
    2. We have almost an acre of garden at Balkissock Lodge B&B so the remainder is left more natural to encourage the wildlife that we enjoy seeing.
    3. The lawned areas closest to the guests’ windows are mowed weekly in the growing season and the large lawned area to the rear of the property is mowed two or three times a year to encourage wildlife and it is also the main area where Maisy is allowed to play.
    4. The birds have feeders throughout the garden and kept topped up with seed or fat balls throughout the year to encourage them to keep returning.
    5. Dogs are welcome at Balkissock Lodge B&B (please refer to separate ‘dog policy’) in the twin room only which allows for one room to be booked by those who are sensitive to animal hair.

What can I do to be an ‘environmentally friendly’ guest?

  • Please excuse the weeds … I do not have enough hours in the day to remove them all.
  • We have two vermin control officers (Starsky & Hutch) who are good mousers, catch the occasional rabbit and eye up the birds on a regular basis. They are discouraged from taking birds but please do not attempt to hit them or throw anything at them.
  • The Head of the Welcoming Committee (Maisy) uses the garden to foul in and it is cleaned up on a regular basis. My apologies if she squats in front of your window! Please be mindful of any dog mess that may be in the garden or out in the courtyard from other animals and check shoes before entering the Lodge. Please note that Maisy is very friendly but will bark at anything new or anyone passing or wandering through the garden. If you notice, her tail will be wagging, and she has never been known to injure anyone.
  • If you have brought a dog, please feel free to take him/her into the garden with you but please keep on a short leash if they are known to chase dogs, cats or wildlife please.
  • Guests are welcome to sit on the seat on the pebbled area in front of the guests’ lounge. I’m bust making the garden lower maintenance and hope to have more guest-friendly areas soon.
  • Guests are not encouraged to wander through the garden and do so at their own risk. Please be vigilant as the ground is riddled with rabbit holes and surfaces are slippery even in summer.

 

  1. Smoking
    1. Balkissock Lodge B&B has a no-smoking policy through out the house and gardens.

What can I do to be an ‘environmentally friendly’ guest?

  • Please do not throw cigarette ends into the hedgerows.
  • If you let me know that you are a smoker, I can place a bucket of water at the back door to dispose of cigarette ends into.

 

  1. Office paperwork, GDPR & guest information
    1. There are a number of items of paperwork that are required by law or by local regulations in order for me to operate such as keeping temperature records of food items served, or guest details (registration forms) and therefore are unavoidable use of paper.
    2. Those that contain sensitive guest information are kept securely in keeping with new GDPR guidelines for businesses.
    3. There is only one guest folder in the lounge rather than one in each room in order to half the paper and printing requirements.
    4. I only take one of each tourist information brochure to place in the folders to cut down on unnecessary printing and waste of resources.
    5. There are only a couple of main breakfast menu folders which are updated yearly. Guests are asked to complete a separate smaller form that also doubles up as a temperature record once back in the kitchen. It is the one item of paperwork that does not seem to guests as being in-keeping with the policy but it has improved the reduction of waste immeasurably since it was introduced in the summer of 2017.
    6. Junk mail is sorted and recycled.
    7. Old business information such as outdated menus are recycled.
    8. Business correspondence and forms that are no longer required and shredded and burnt on the fire particularly where they contain sensitive guest information.
    9. Guest details are held in accordance with Police and Scottish Government regulations and are not passed on to third parties other than Police by request.
    10. Guest email addresses are used in general correspondence relating directly to their visit and once after their visit to ensure that they had a pleasant stay and to ask if they would like to be added to the e-newletter distribution list.
    11. Guests’ email addresses are not passed on to third parties or used by Balkissock Lodge B&B for any other reasons.

What can I do to be an ‘environmentally friendly’ guest?

  • Please avoid taking the folders to your rooms if there are other guests in.
  • Please use your mobile phone to photograph the leaflets of any places of interest or events that you may be interested in during the day.
  • Please make use of the plethora of apps that are freely available to help you such as google maps, apple maps for directions, Welcome to Scotland app to locate places of interest, etc.
  • If you do not have a phone with this facility please do ask and I’ll print off a copy of any information that you require.
  • If you require additional information regarding a certain place of interest please do ask and I’m happy to telephone on your behalf to answer your query.

 

If you have questions regarding this policy please do ask. If there are items that you think have been omitted, please do let me know. This is a live document that grows with age!

Please note that this May 2018 edition replaced the April 2015 edition which has now been removed from the website.

Cordelia Galley

Balkissock Lodge B&B

May 2018 (update)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

I just though that I’d share hubby’s photo of tonight’s supermoon. We are so lucky to be in an area with dark skies where it can be seen so clearly.


.

Edit …. really pleased to see that the photo received an Editor’s Pick and made it to the Gallery on the BBC Weatherwatchers website.

.


.


.

Do you want to see our fabulous dark skies for yourself?*

Cordelia 2016 (c)

All right reserved.

*cloud-free skies can not be guaranteed!

Read Full Post »

Ayrshire often feels like the forgotten corner of Scotland but it has a huge amount of wildlife and scenery to offer guests and Balkissock Lodge B&B is a proud supporter of the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Reserve.

thumb_IMG_5277_1024

 

If you want to find out more, why not visit their website.

Copyright © 2016 by Cordelia

All rights reserved

Balkissock Lodge

Visit the Galloway and Ayrshire Biosphere

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: