Alexander Hotels & Utopia Spas
Our environmental policy
The historical nature of Great Fosters provides a challenging setting in which to consider our impact on the environment. Despite the physical and legal restrictions of a Grade One listed building we have already taken great steps towards doing our bit to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle if at all possible.
We are keen to do more and welcome suggestions from our guests to help us further reduce our carbon footprint. Being an independent, privately owned property, without the restrictions of a corporate hierarchy, decisions can be made and changes implemented promptly. We pledge to review our environmental actions and continue to build on them as if the future depends on it... which, of course, it does!
What we do
Here are some of the things we currently do:
- Consumption of our filtered water is encouraged as an alternative to mineral water. This water is filtered and bottled on site (so no air/food miles, is 500 times purer than tap water and measurably purer than most mineral waters. Bottles are reused so less manufacturing and less landfill!
- In 2009 we installed individual energy efficient systems in the refurbished Coach House requiring a room key to activate the heating and lighting for each room. We hope to increase the number of rooms with these energy saving benefits when further refurbishments take place in the future.
- Low energy light bulbs have been installed throughout the hotel where possible.
- A modern energy efficient boiler was installed in 2010 and we constantly monitor our utility consumption levels and aim to reduce them where possible without impacting on the needs and experience of our guest.
- Dual flush cisterns have been installed in the refurbished Coach House and will continue to be introduced as refurbishment takes place.
- L'Occitane toiletries are used in the guest bedrooms and public areas – 90% of their products are made in England and are never tested on animals. In addition Molton Brown is currently changing their packaging to an even more environmentally friendly version.
- Bespoke furniture for the Coach House refurbishment project was hand crafted in Nottingham rather than being sourced and transported from outside the UK.
- Used printer cartridges are recycled and a local school benefits from the sale of these re-conditioned cartridges.
- All unwanted paper is shredded onsite and added to our compost heap.
- Newspapers are supplied only upon request to avoid unnecessary wastage.
- In June 2011 we took delivery of 60,000 bees not only encouraging the pollination of our flowers and fruit but helping to increase the number of these important creatures who are globally under threat. We've already received our first crop of honey!
- No insecticides or fungicides are used in the gardens and grounds.
- Green waste generated by our team of gardeners is matured into nutrient-rich compost on site and then added back into the gardens.
- Water butts are installed around the gardeners’ sheds and the harvested rainwater is used for watering.
- Watering of the gardens is carried out using water pumped from underground springs and is done during the night where possible.
- We have cultivated our own herb garden for use by the hotel kitchen brigade.
- A variety of other produce is either grown or foraged from the grounds and used in preparation of seasonal dishes in the Oak Room such as apples, wild plums, mulberries and blackberries.
- Glass is actively sorted into green, brown and clear before being recycled.
- Cardboard is baled on site and collected for recycling.
- Some plastics and cans are currently recycled and we hope to increase the level once improved facilities are in place.
- We recycle corks (wine and Champagne) in conjunction with Laithwaites Wine. Some are donated to schools for craft projects and the rest are mulched for use on their English vineyards in Berkshire.
- Where possible our suppliers are locally based and the produce we buy is grown locally to reduce transport costs and food miles whilst supporting local businesses.
- We encourage our suppliers to reduce their packaging and recycle if at all possible.
- Redundant furniture and fittings are donated to local charities.
- Obsolete IT and electrical equipment is recycled in accordance with WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment directive)
- We promote awareness of the environment among our employees and work with them to ensure their impact on it is minimal.We promote walking or cycling to work and a cycle rack is in place to encourage this.
We are researching technology to enable guests to check in online and eliminate the need for registration cards.
We hope to be able to reduce our paper consumption further and will shortly be offering guests the option of having bills and invoices emailed to them rather than printing paper copies.
Any future refurbishment plans will take into account the most recent developments in ways to reduce our impact on the environment. We are working towards becoming self sustaining in firewood and by planting large areas with ash and beech trees plan to purchase dual fuel boilers for future projects. We aim to reduce our general waste further by increasing the amount we recycle.
What you can do to help
Below are a few ways in which you may wish to contribute towards our plan to reduce our carbon footprint.
Towels - we would normally replace towels in the evening and the following morning if you are staying for a further night. Rather than replace your towels we can refold them so that they may be used again. If you wish to have fresh towels simply place them in the bath.
Television – switch off the television rather than leaving it on stand-by.
Lights – switch lights off when you leave the room.
Rubbish – we may be able to recycle some of your rubbish, such as newspapers, bottles and cans. If you think we can, please leave it beside the bin (rather than in it) and we will recycle it for you.
Air conditioning – please ensure your windows are closed when the air conditioning is on.
Heating – rather than opening the windows turn the heating down a few degrees.
Water – choose to shower rather than bath and use less water.
And finally, choose the Green Guest option during your stay.
However we do believe that Luxury shouldn’t be a guilty pleasure
At Great Fosters we are enthusiastic about reducing our impact on the environment without compromising our guests’ experience. We have devised 5 little ways you may wish to help us do more than our bit...
By choosing the Green Guest option we will make the following changes to our housekeeping service:
- Rather than replace your towels we will refold them so that they may be used again. If you would like fresh towels please place them in the bath.
- If the toiletries in your room are more than half full we will leave them for you to finish rather than dispose of them and replace with full bottles.
- When we service your room in the evening we will close the curtains and turn back the bed but will not switch on the lights or leave the radio on for your return.
- If you are staying with us for more than one night we will not change the sheets every morning but will do so every other day instead.
- If the bottles of water provided for your stay are more than half full we will not replace them.