Thursday, 30 April 2009

Is that a rocket taking off?

No, it's just the sound of the new hand dryers in the changerooms.

The old ones were very inefficient. The hand towels had to be washed at high temperatures in strong cleaning chemicals and trucked around. We've now got those new ones that dry your hands in seconds by efficiently blowing the water off them. The best alternative to wiping your hands on your trousers (which may not be a hygienic solution).

On another note, this month our Route Setting Manger Mike has been getting in touch with all our hold suppliers and requesting statements from them about their environmental policies with regards manufacturing and where they are being made. We are choosing to buy from manufacturers who make things as close to us as possible and have strong environmental statements.

Finally, Audrey has signed the Castle up for the Mayor of London's Green Procurement Challenge. It is sometimes difficult to decide which of many options is the "greenest". The Green Procurement Code reminds us to consider that a new product:

  • uses fewer natural resources

  • contains fewer hazardous or toxic materials

  • has a longer life span

  • consumes less energy or water in production or use

  • can be reused or recycled on disposal

  • generates less waste, for example be made from recycled materials, use less packaging or be recycled by the supplier.

Our EP (which is almost finalised and needs to be agreed by the Board of Directors and the Core Management Team) will also remind us to think about whether or not actually buying something is necessary at all.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Cafe Changes

I thought I'd make a separate entry about all the changes that have been happening in the cafe becasue there have been so many. Although the cafe forms such a small part of the business, it seems that it's one of the most visible aspects of the business and one of the most emotive. People really care about food!

What we have done so far:

  • Got rid of coke and nestle products

  • tried to source local, fairtrade and organic food where possible (for example all our coffee is now organic and fairtrade though obviously not local!!)

  • Got a proper milkman (Peter) who delivers organic milk in reusable glass bottles like the old days (no more plastic bottles!)

  • Peter also delivers us some juices so we can get rid of the tetrapak single portions of juice.

  • Sourced a local organic bread supplier.

  • Reduced our packaging by not using cling film any more and using proper glasses, plates and cutlery instead of disposable versions.

  • Ordered some bulk snacks to also reduce packaging.

  • Tried to find more vegetarian and vegan options.

This final point has created quite a discussion amongst the staff. We started the Great Vegetarian Debate on our staff intranet and got possibly the most passionate, involved and enlightening discussion in the history of the Castle! It seems on an environmental basis, the meat industry is simply not sustainable in its current state but people are not ready to give it up. I'm making no comment either way in here for fear of igniting the debate once again, I just want to point out that currently the cafe only serves organic ham, bacon and occasionally chicken, line-caught skipjack tuna and we're trying to find some more delicious vegan and vegetarian menu options. I'll leave it at that for now.

Meat Free Mondays anyone?