Sustainable Business Tips and Advice for Shropshire Tourism Members

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What does 'Being Green' actually mean?

'Being Green' is a general term used to describe products or actions that are meant to help the environment and it can mean different things to different people. For example, buying products made of sustainable material, products that are made with natural ingredients, eating and buying local, using organic food, conserving energy, using renewable energy, planting trees, recycling, supporting wildlife and their local habitats etc. The list is almost endless. But we think being green means operating your business in a sustainable way and taking responsibility for the impact your business has on both the environment and community.

Benefits of Being Green

Apart from helping the environment implementing a greener way of life can:

  • Save you money

"Most tourism businesses can reduce energy, waste and water costs by at least 10% and some have made savings of 40%" - VisitEngland

  • Help attract new visitors/guests

A survey of over 2,000 people showed that "Over half [of recipients] expressed an interest in staying in accommodation with environmentally friendly practice"
Source: VisitEngland Sustainability Consumer Research, Feb 2010.

  • Be good PR

Visitors associate Shropshire with scenic countryside and landscapes. By implementing simple 'green' initiatives into your business, you can help to uphold Shropshire's brand values and make sure you portray your own business in a positive light too. It's also good PR within your local community.

Tips & Links

Shropshire Tourism has put together a list of a few green advice tips and links to websites that we hope you find interesting and informative and help you to operate in a more sustainable way.

For more information and advice on membership, marketing, or for a general discussion about ways of improving your business, please contact us any time:

Tel: 01743 261919
Email: enquiries@shropshiretourism.co.uk

Water efficiency

  • Monitor your water bills and look at the relationship between the number of guests you accommodate and the volume of water used, taking into account your busy periods and changing seasons.
  • Check all your taps to ensure they are non-drip.
  • Put a plastic bottle of water in your toilet cistern. This could save around 1 litre per flush.
  • Encourage guests to use the shower rather than the bath where appropriate - be mindful of the difference in usage rates if you have a power shower. The average eight minute shower uses 62 litres of hot water, some power showers can use up to 136 litres compared with an average bath's 80 litres (waterwise.org.uk)
  • Check if you have a soakaway on your property. If your surface water drains to a soakaway you may be entitled to a rebate on your water bill.
  • Contact your water company to find out about free water saving devices. Outside, purchase a water butt and use the rainwater to water your plants and garden.
  • Consider installing a reed bed for waste water and make a wildlife habitat at the same time.

Energy efficiency

  • Collate your bills and keep a record of your energy consumption and expenditure. Check actual readings vs estimates (if applicable) to make sure you are not paying too much.
  • Use low energy light bulbs or LED lights* and if replacing fridges, freezers and washing machines look for 'A' rated equipment.
    *N.B. As many accommodations have now introduced low-energy light bulbs or LED lights minimum lighting levels are no longer specified as part of accommodation assessment schemes (both the Shropshire Tourism Assessment Scheme and the national grading schemes)
  • Try turning your heating down by 1 or 2 degrees. You and your guests are unlikely to notice a difference but you will save money. Keep windows and doors closed.
  • Remember to switch off appliances when not in use, as leaving on standby will still cost you money. You could also consider using timer switches and thermostatic controls.
  • Check your loft insulation, cavity wall insulation and double glazing to make sure it's as efficient as it can be.
  • The Resource Efficiency Grant Scheme provides capital grants to SMEs in Shropshire, Herefordshire, Telford & Wrekin and Staffordshire for a specific project or investment that helps to improve a business's resource efficiency and therefore reduce utility bills and running costs and improve profitability. Grants are available from £1,000 to £3,000 with a 50% match from the business.

For more information about the Resource Efficiency Grant Scheme see www.shropshire.gov.uk/regrants or contact Amy Preece, External Funding Officer, Shropshire Council:

Telephone: 01743 252545
Email: amy.preece@shropshire.gov.uk

Cut your Energy Bills

'Make it Cheaper' is the UK's largest price comparison service exclusively for businesses.

Wylie Price from Make it Cheaper - "We recommend that Shropshire Tourism members pay close attention to their contract renewal date as this informs them of the short window in which they can shop around for a better deal."

'Make it Cheaper' advise that business energy contracts essentially work like this:

  • Unlike household utilities businesses are not free to switch suppliers at any time (95% of businesses are in contracts which last anywhere from 1-5 years)
  • A current rule of thumb is - if you are paying anything over 10p/unit for electricity or over 4p/unit for gas, it would be worth taking some form of action
  • If you do not serve notice to your supplier it will be automatically rolled into a new contract, typically on higher rates, for another 1-2 years (Make It Cheaper can supply a template termination letter if you wish)

If you are interested in receiving help from 'Make It Cheaper' on your non-domestic electricity and/or gas bills, here's what to do:

  • Call or email Shropshire Tourism on 01743 261919 or enquiries@shropshiretourism.co.uk. We will then email you a 'Letter of Authority' for you to complete (simply to allow Make It Cheaper to contact your supplier to confirm when your current energy contract ends)
  • You will then need to send this Letter of Authority, together with all the pages of a recent bill (electricity and or gas to partnerships@makeitcheaper.com or fax to: 0845 833 2714
  • 'Make It Cheaper' will contact you and advise you about your current situation and when action is required i.e. when your current contract is due to end.
  • 'Make It Cheaper' will then call you ahead of your contract renewal date to get you the best rates in the market (which should take no more than 10 minutes on the phone).

Other energy supply comparison organisations are also available.

Minimise waste

Think about reducing the production, use or disposal of anything you can't re-use or sell.

  • Ask your suppliers to cut down on the packaging they provide.
  • Use your own re-usable shopping bags.
  • Put notices in rooms to encourage guests not to have their towels and sheets changed daily.
  • Use jugs and bowls instead of plastic pots/sachets (where possible)

Recycling

  • Try and recycle whenever you can. If you have a self catering property help guests to recycle by providing appropriate bins.
  • Re-use scrap paper which has only been printed on one side - put it back in the printer the other way up or use it to write notes/shopping lists/telephone messages. Then recycle it!
  • Print your leaflets, business cards, menus etc on recyclable paper or paper from sustainable sources. You can also use vegetable oil based inks.
  • Compost your grass and plant waste.

Useful links:

Information

  • www.weee.co
    Based in Telford, XPO Recycling specialise in the secure and efficient recycling and disposal of all Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE).
  • www.shropshirecomposters.co.uk
    Shropshire Master Composters are a group of volunteers who encourage home composting and waste prevention. Find out how to get yourself a compost bin from just £16.00 and how to compost.

Local Sourcing

Shop at your local farm shop and markets - as well as stocking up on local produce it's also a good networking opportunity.

If you are using local produce, make sure you say so on your website, your brochure and indeed across all of your promotional material.

You could print the names of your suppliers on your menus and ask producers/suppliers if they have leaflets you can display in your accommodation to raise awareness - they may even do the same for you in return! You could also have reciprocal links on your websites.

Useful Links:

Local Area

Get clued up on what your guests/visitors to Shropshire can do in your local area and ways they could leave their car behind.

For example, Shropshire Hills Shuttle Buses provide easy access into the Shropshire Hills for walking, shopping, sightseeing, pub lunches, picnics and more.

Make sure you tell visitors how far you are from the nearest bus and train station on your website. Whilst the majority of visitors come to Shropshire by car, it's an easy way for you to show where you are in relation to public transport.

You will have a Google Map on your Shropshire Tourism web entry but you should also have one on your own website so people can plan their journey to you as easily as possible.

Useful Links:

Environmental Policy

We recommend that you put together a simple 'user friendly' environmental policy for your guests/visitors to read which tells them what you are doing to help the environment and how they can help, e.g. by choosing not to have their towels changed daily and switching off any appliances when they are not in use.

Display this on your website and have a copy in your welcome folder. You can also incorporate it into your wider marketing messages.

Other Useful Links