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Our environmental policy

Recent years have seen a growing awareness of how damaging some of our lifestyle choices can be to the environment. This of course extends to the ways in which we take our holidays and run our businesses. Here at Staffa House we support the idea that the earth’s resources are limited and finite and that we should steward them well. We believe that good choices, however small, can make a difference, and if everyone encourages everyone else to make small differences, then the overall result can be amazing! Here are some of the ways in which we try to put responsible stewardship into action at Staffa House:

We bank with Triodos Bank because of its rigorous ethical values. Triodos believes that profit doesn’t need to be at the expense of the world’s most pressing environmental problems. It finances organisations such as organic food and farming businesses, renewable energy enterprises, recycling companies and nature conservation projects.

Cleaning products
At Staffa House we are committed to using environmentally-friendly cleaning products. Our washing-up liquids, dishwasher tablets, cream cleaners, toilet cleaners, shower gels and liquid soaps are made by Ecover; multi-surface cleaners, glass/mirror cleaners and laundry powders are made by BioD. Products are purchased in large (5 litre) containers, and dispensed into small containers where necessary, in order to reduce use of plastic.

Our electricity is supplied by ‘Green Energy’, a small, independent company based in Hertfordshire. We opt for the ‘Deep Green’ tariff, meaning that 100% of our electricity is generated from renewable sources.

Our fridges and freezers have tight seals to prevent heat loss. When replacing white goods, we always purchase those with an A+++ rating.

Fairtrade products
We are passionate supporters of the Fairtrade movement. All our breakfast teas, herbal teas, ground coffee, instant coffee and hot chocolate sachets and sugar carry the recognised Fairtrade label.

Hot water
In October 2009 we installed a solar thermal system . This uses the heat of the sun to heat much of our water for showers, baths, washing up, etc. Please ask if you would like to see it in action!

The main part of our loft is insulated with Warmcel, a product made from 100% recycled newspaper. A smaller section of the loft is insulated with Black Mountain sheep's wool, another very green material containing 95% natural fibres.

Bed-linen is not generally changed within the length of a guest’s stay which cuts down on water usage and laundry powder. A change of towels is offered if the stay exceeds three nights. We do not take bookings for stays of one night only.

Most of our lighting uses low-energy bulbs/tubes. We make every effort to ensure that lights (and heaters) are not left on unnecessarily.

Organic food
For both environmental and health reasons, we try to purchase as much of our food as possible from certified organic sources. Our milk, yoghurt, flours, rice, cocoa powder, herbal teas, tinned tomatoes, some cereals, some sugars, some grains and pulses and some meats are organically sourced. The vast majority of our eggs are sourced from local smallholders who would consider their hens to be organically farmed, although not certified as such.

Responsible Visitor Charter
Looking after our resources and our landscape is very much a team effort in which we aim to inspire our guests and hope that, in turn, they will inspire us!
Here is our Responsible Visitor Charter, outlining six practical ways in which guests can make a positive environmental impact during their stay at Staffa House.

Smoking policy
Staffa House is strictly non-smoking throughout.

We use the Good Shopping Guide to inform our choice of brands and companies when making new purchases, from a bag of pasta to a new washing machine…!

Many dry foods and cleaning products come from Greencity, a wholefood cooperative based in Glasgow which aims to provide a supportive workplace, supports local and organic producers wherever possible and is committed to Fairtrade products.
Our vegetables are delivered to us by Breckenridge, based in Oban. In the growing season we aim to use produce from a local organic garden only 3 miles away in Kintra. Pork sausages are sourced from Sgriob-Ruadh Farm near Tobermory. Beef sausages are purchased from Ardalanish Farm, just outside Bunessan on the Ross of Mull.
We support Baby Milk Action’s call for a continued boycott of all Nestle (and its subsidiary companies) products due to the company’s continued promotion of powdered baby milk as an alternative to breast milk in the developing world. Nestle’s stance is in contravention of the World Health Organisation guidelines. Where at all possible we try to avoid purchasing from large multi-national corporations.

We source office paper, plastic wallets, ring binders (including the one in your bedroom!) etc from The Green Stationery Company. Their materials are made from recycled materials and/or are biodegradable.

We acknowledge that the number of cars on Mull is increasing, putting pressure on roads, parking space, and creating pollution. Clearly it is not always possible nor practical for everyone to travel to Fionnphort using public transport. However, we actively encourage our guests to use public transport by having up-to-date, accurate information to hand over the phone and on our website, by clearly displaying train and bus timetables in the house, and by offering a reduction of £2 on each overnight stay for any of our guests travelling to and from Staffa House entirely by public transport. We were founding members of the Ross of Mull car share scheme which has now merged with an island-wide Facebook page ‘Mull and Iona Lift-Share’.

We have a wide selection of walking books and maps readily available for guests’ use and we go out of our way to help with queries and advice regarding local walks. Many of these walks do not require a car, and we encourage our visitors to explore these gems on our doorstep before rushing off to walk further afield.

We recycle all waste paper, cardboard, tin, aluminium, glass and plastic. Office paper that is used on one side only is kept and re-used for notes and filing etc whilst envelopes are used more than once, sometimes several times! We use recycled toilet paper. Individual hand soap and shower gel containers in guest bedrooms are re-filled from large containers rather than purchasing separate ones each time they are empty. With five compost bins used in rotation, we are avid composters! In order to minimise food waste we ask guests to make their breakfast choices on the previous evening. For the same reason, any special dietary requirements are requested at the time of booking.

All our toilets are fitted with water-saving ‘Hippos’. A Hippo reduces the amount of water used to flush a cistern by 2-3 litres each time.
Outside the house we have three large water butts which collect a significant amount of water for non-domestic cleaning, watering the garden etc.

We love to talk to guests about the local wildlife and to chat about the delicate balance in this area between tourism and conservation. We have good working relationships with local wildlife tour operators and are able to recommend models of good practice to our visitors during their stay with us.

Connecting with the wider world
We subscribe to/are members of the following organisations:
- Friends of the Earth
- Global Justice Now
- Greenpeace
- John Muir Trust
- Mull and Iona Community Trust Eco-Charter
- Organic Places to Stay
- Scottish Green Party
- The Resurgence Trust

We appreciate that actions speak louder than words on the subject of environmental tourism. We’re determined to do our bit, small in some areas, larger in others. We also know that we’re not perfect and we aim to make even more progress in the coming months and years. However, we hope that you’ll agree that the above represents a good start. We love it when our guests take an interest in this subject - and give us new ideas. Please join in!

(last updated January 2017)

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