It’s that time again - another spotlight from the Host Advisory Board and this month we’re talking to @Anna1403 in Pembrokeshire, Wales. Several of you have seen Anna around the Community Center and it’s apt that her piece comes today on Earth Day 2021, as her focus as an Advisory Board member is on Sustainability.
Check out the latest Resource Center article here which details what the Host Advisory Board has been doing around sustainability as well as Anna’s fascinating hosting journey.
Let’s use this thread to say hello to Anna and discuss sustainability! As always, please be respectful and constructive with your comments.
Really lovely to hear of not only a fellow eco warrior host, but also one just down the coast from us, here in Ceredigion!
Just thought I'd share with you/the community what we're doing re sustainability too. This is going to sound like a Pat on the back to myself, but it is really partly a culmination of a lifetime of hopes beginning to come to fruition. I'm a Grandmother, and started caring about this planet and the life on it when I was a young girl. Back then, recycling was scoffed at by economists as not profitable. Don't get me started!
So we host a little cabin, with various lovely quirks, from our smallholding. (Tangnefedd, meaning 'heavenly peace' or similar) We have a waterless toilet, use renewable electricity, have, solar pv panels, I buy recycled paper for the waterless loo. We buy our tissue, both loo and kitchen paper from the company, 'Who Gives a Crap' which gives half its profits to build toilets in developing countries, a health and safety issue in communities without a safe place especially for girls to go when nature calls. We have also twinned the loo via the initiative 'Toilet Twinning'. We have dedicated a large section of our land to conservation, having planted lots of trees for woodland, and some for firewood, as we have a woodburner, too. I have alsways used washable cleaning cloths and mops, and use washable PPE too. I give guests the option, with microfibre cloths left under the sink, and they do seem to be using that more often than the paper wrapped Kitchen towel. By not unwrapping the new roll, often it just doesn't get used, and so I can just wash the cloths. I bought loads of cleaning fluids from companies like AlterNative, Ecover and the like, in bulk. I then refill and reuse all my sprayers and have nice hand wash dispensers that can be refilled in the WC/shower for guests. I have various books available for guests to read that include the concepts of sustainability and conservation, to browse if they wish, and we include homemade fruit preserves in breakfasts, which I make using home produced fruits. We even made the furniture from silver birch we had growing in our woodland, so not much carbon footprint there. We simply have to buy 2nd hand furniture, and often consider it to be better made unless you have plenty to spend, but it all reduces waste. I handmade some of the furnishings with organic cotton, and used scraps to make cushion covers and a big floor cushion. So thanks so much for raising this as the environment is very close to my heart, even more now that I have a precious little granddaughter's future to consider, and all her generation. Hwyl! Judith
Shwmae @Judith608 ! Thank you so SO much for taking the time to share everything you are doing!! We too do very very similar things here - it’s a journey isn’t it and I am constantly learning new things! I am also a huge fan of upcycling and recycling and I am learning some woodworking skills too!! I am thinking a local host meet up around this would be wonderful! The remakery in Fishguard used to be wonderful but sadly Nicky and co have moved on - if you haven’t already joined the Wales Facebook group for hosts please do (https://www.facebook.com/groups/walesairbnbhosts/) it would be so lovely and inspiring to have your input there!
I am really pleased to hear that AirBnB are bringing sustainability issues to their hosts. I have two bedrooms in a standard victorian terraced house in Totnes, Devon. Living Lightly B&B aims to encourage and demonstrate ways of living with minimal environmental impact. I want to create an experience that makes it more affordable the smaller the visitor's impact is whilst staying here and at the same time offer a quality experience. I show how people can live lightly in a conventional house. I provide a locally sourced, organic breakfast; bedding is organic, the duvets are made from British wool, furniture is all 2nd hand etc.
I reimburse people a % of the income that I receive from their booking if they:
stay for more than 3 nights
and I give 5% of my income from a booking to local charity Transition Town Totnes if the visitor has come to find out more about the work of this world renown environmental organisation.
I love meeting people and hearing their stories and their relationships with the environment and my ethos self selects the kind of people that I want to host in my home.
However where I am struggling with AirBnB is around the COVID cleaning rules - spraying everything with disinfectant, using disposable protection items, washing bedding on high heats after 1 nights use are all against the very ethos that I have created in my B&B. Instead I would like to have the option of telling potential visitors the efforts that I go to to clean the rooms in an environmentally friendly way and allow them to then decide whether they want to stay with me or not.
I believe empowering hosts and visitors is a more effective strategy than dictating to them. Having worked in the environmental field all of my working life, I have made it my purpose to empower people to protect our environment. I would be very happy to assist AirBnB in coming up with a system that allows this in the cleaning standards. As hosts we choose how we run our accommodation in every other way, and this is 'checked' through the feedback of our visitors. I would like this sense of trust to be extended to include our response to COVID through the opportunity to provide open and honest information to our visitors.
On another note I would love to see AirBnB provide an option for selecting accommodation that describes itself in some way or another as eco, as these are the places that I look for when I go on holiday.
Can you send me a link to your accommodation in Pembrokeshire Anna?
I look forward to hearing your response.
Hello @Anna1403 .
I'm so excited for this further meeting with you. You make me swell with pride at also living in Wales and trying to modestly work on adjustments to lessen my impact. You are so inspirational I can't wait for the meeting. @Liv has written to interested members and some of us have indicated our interests so I'll tag you in if that would help? Also our colleague from last Month's board who was so keen... shall we both encourage him?
Til Thursday then..... yipheeeeeeeeeeee xxxxx
@Anna1403Really nice introduction and love that you raise/have chickens. So do you know of water glassing eggs? If not, check it out on Youtube - rather amazing way that folks preserved/stored fresh eggs when there was no refrigeration.....my understanding is you can keep them fresh for about 1-2 yrs. in this water mixture.
My husband is an organic gardener as hobby....now retired...lifestyle and wonderful new way of living.
I'm so curious what all you are able to grow in the UK....we are in Florida and we have a long and hot growing season mostly.
Wishing you the best in all you do.
Thank you so much @Clara116 for taking the time to comment - yes! I have heard of water glassing - here in the UK pickled eggs are the most popular way to preserve eggs I would say! Not that I have had much chance to experiment - with all of my family and both cottages full of guests there aren't many spare usually!! They are very yummy! And yes, we are distinctly less warm and humid than Florida for sure but we have quite a microclimate here in Pembrokeshire and we very very rarely ever get frost or snow - so I can grow all year with no issues in my greenhouse particularly! I have a polytunnel going up this weekend after my husband and i got all the landscaping ready - I am excited to get some rather exotic tomato seedlings going!!
@Anna1403 how terrific hearing back from you! I am delighted to talk garden, veggies, eggs and anything with food preservation. We too love pickled eggs....I am so envious of your polytunnel......our tomatoes are busting with growth and so in just a few weeks there will be lots of canning happening around here. I will experiment even more this year with more salsa recipes and different tomato possibilities.
Happy growing & all good things!
Ooooh sounds wonderful - I don't think there is anything quite as satisfying as sitting down to a meal made entirely from your own produce is there?? I am keen to also start growing tomatillos which make amazing salsa!