Green – Gwyrdd
Ceridwen Environmental Management Policy.
Canolfan Ceridwen Centre aims to reduce the impact on climate change by positive action in each of the areas below. We aim to grow a sustainable business rooted in the land and the community. We are active members of the Centre for Alternative Technology and attended the Zero Carbon Britain conference in October 2015.
We are here for the long term, creating a family business with our children for their children, which we hope will continue to grow and bring more visitors to Carmarthenshire together with more add-on business and employment to the area. We try to pass on our green ethos on to all our visitors and our staff are all informed and trained in our sustainable policies.
We’ve been puzzling for a while as to how best to encourage guests to recycle while they’re with us; obviously providing the spaces, the labelled bins and explanatory notices all help, but we’ve decided that incentives are good too! So we recently launched the Ceridwen Green Cauldron Scheme!
It’s simple – guests staying anywhere on site who amaze us by following all our waste and recycling guidelines and then some(!) will be sent a thank you and a Ceridwen Green Cauldron Sticker by email. If they return to Ceridwen this sticker can be exchanged for goods – like local beers, a pizza voucher for one of our pizza nights, an organic veggie box, etc – thus rewarding their good green practice.
We’ve already awarded our first sticker and hope the guests will come back to trade it in next year!
We’re sure Ceridwen , the white witch and mother of Taliesin, would approve
We act with restraint and efficiency when using energy and encourage our visitors to do likewise. Most of our energy usage is created using renewable energy sources.
- All heating is by solar or biomass. Either a centralised biomass boiler or individual wood burners in lounge areas. Woodchip is made on-site with logs from a local, managed forest and the leftover ash is added in small quantities to the compost heap and around the orchard trees (Welsh organic fruit).
- All hot water is solar only supplemented by biomass when required.
- We have 2 Photovoltaic panel arrays giving a total of 8 KW which contributes substantially to our overall electricity usage and still enables us to export some to the grid, even our on-line power comes from Ecotricity
- All lighting uses low energy bulbs and we are on a replacement policy to LED where possible. (we have already installed low energy)
- We ensure electrical equipment is set to go to standby when left for a short period and equipment turned off at night.
- All existing stone-built building roof spaces have been insulated with a min. of 300mm of recycled plastic fibre insulation or equivalent.
- All new or converted buildings have been designed to almost passivhaus standards. The Byre has an EPC of 21. (level A)
- We plan to keep regular records of energy use to compare year on year to help us perform better.
Resource Management and Waste Disposal
We aim to reduce, reuse and recycle waste and purchase secondhand and up-cycled or reused goods wherever possible. This includes building materials, office/kitchen equipment, furniture and paper products.
- We avoid unnecessary printing and duplicating – we think before we print
- We use both sides of the paper when printing.
- We circulate written information by e-mail and use mostly electronic marketing instead of printing where appropriate.
- We avoid disposable in favour of reusable or compostable items (eg Vegware in catering)
- Use of reused building materials for the recent conversions include second-hand insulation, timber beams and studwork, paving slabs, bricks, metal roofing sheeting, and use of railway sleepers.
- All our Yurt furniture and oak-decking is secondhand bought locally.
- Where possible curtains and cushion covers are bought secondhand and reused or repurposed and adapted (eg all hot water bottle covers are made locally from recycled welsh wool blankets)
- Reuse plastic bags and boxes
- Reuse envelopes and jiffy bags
- Use blank sides of printed paper for notes or draft copies
- We reuse used vegetable oil by filtering and adding limonine (orange peel extract) to produce our own diesel alternative.
- Recycling collection bins are placed clearly throughout all areas, clearly labelled.
- We collect in our recycling sheds for reuse or single transport to recycling centres, paper, glass, cans, cardboard, metal, plastics, timber, building materials
- Recycle electronic equipment, cartridges, toners and batteries
- All our organic waste is composted in our own systems
We aim to grow as much as we can of our catering requirements in our 4 organic certified polytunnels and orchard. We reduce unnecessary consumption, support ethical trading, the local economy and maximise the positive benefits of our own financial activities. We give preference to suppliers who subscribe to sustainable development principles.
- We’re committed to using products not tested on animals or using animal ingredients.
- We are vegetarian society certified and all our course catering is vegetarian and also the majority of our wedding catering.
- Where we need to buy food we give preference to local, organic or fairtrade.
- We run 2 craft fairs each year to encourage local crafts. A resident artist/teacher runs workshops here for visitors, using mostly recycled materials
- All cleaning products are eco-friendly natural and biodegradable, mostly bought in bulk and the containers refilled – likewise complimentary toiletries.
- Bulk dry goods are purchased from a co-operative venture and are organic or fairtrade where possible
- Stationary is recycled paper or card using environmentally friendly inks where possible
- Our only non renewable energy supplies are bottled gas for cooking and some diesel for cars when it’s too cold for our bio-diesel.
- Preference to eco-design products and those with recycled content (eg our shower cubicles in the eco toilets)
- In redecorating we use organic, non VOC paint such as clay paints
- We give preference to local traders, traditional craftsmen and craftspeople when renovating buildings or commissioning new work (eg our new gates)
- Our Tipi and yurts are all made by local tradespeople and the timber poles are all from Teifi Pools managed plantations. Tipi fabric is 50% organic flax and is treated with environmentally friendly materials.
- All loo paper and kitchen towels are recycled
- All our wooden beds, mattresses and futons were made by a local supplier ( a co-operative, Alpha beds – now sadly gone) and all new pillows are filled with recycled plastic bottles. All blankets we buy are recycled Welsh wool blankets
- We only sell organic wines, sparkling wines and lagers. All wine sold is European.
- All the beer and cider we sell is Welsh from local small breweries apart from the lager which is organic from England.
- We buy local cheeses and dairy products, organic where possible, from small suppliers we actively seek out at local food fairs.
We aim to reduce the detrimental impacts of transport through individual work – related car use where possible
- Minimise the impact of necessary business travel by encouraging our visitors to maximise the use of public transport, walking or cycling. We offer visitors pick up from the train station or local bus stops
- Offer tree planting to all visitors to assist our visitors having carbon neutral courses, weddings and holidays. We have planted over 4500 deciduous trees to extend existing woodlands and have planted over an acre of willow for coppicing.
- Car sharing is encouraged whenever possible for visitors and staff
We aim to reduce fresh water consumption where possible
- We have a new borehole water supply and purification system.
- We collect the rainwater water runoff from the larger roof drainage areas to irrigate the 4 poly tunnels.
- Our Yurt camping has compost toilets and we have built a mobile shepherds hut compost toilet and shower block for our wedding and glamping guests.
- Water Saving devices are fitted in all water toilets and all showers are low volume.
Land and Wildlife conservation
- We are a member of the Glastir farmland management scheme
- We have set aside 5 acres as natural habitat, converted one of our fields to a haymeadow and restored an old orchard with rare local varieties.
- We have planted 4,500 trees restoring old woodland and encouraging wildlife.
- We do our own hedge laying over winter to thicken the hedges and harvest the wood we need for our 9 woodburners.
- We have taken part in a RSPB volunteer and farmer alliance programme here to survey the species and number of birds on our site.
- We have owl and bat boxes around the farm and are proud of our nesting barn and tawny owls, our pipistrelle bats and the recently spotted long eared bats.
Maintenance and cleaning
Ceridwen aims to minimise its environmental impact through work-place risk assessment and selecting non-hazardous products and supplies.
- All equipment is serviced as necessary to ensure optimum efficiency and longevity. We always repair rather than replace where possible.
- Cleaning materials are bio-degradable, do not contain harmful solvents or propellants and have not been tested on animals.
- When replacing goods, sustainable products are purchased.
- We support local businesses and contribute to our local community and the environment, local charities, mother and toddler groups etc – not all our activities are driven by profit
- Purchase products and use suppliers locally, organic and then fair-trade
- We aim to be be socially inclusive welcoming staff and visitors of all races, ages, religions and sexual preferences.
- Encourage our wedding clients to develop environmental and sustainable practices – using local flowers, favours, upcycled dresses etc.
- We are members of a local sustainable energy group and run local tours to sites where interesting and creative sustainable energy solutions have been used. We welcome groups who want to visit our site for educational purposes.
- As a family business we aim to create a warm supportive environment for all our staff whether temporary or permanent.
- We are members of The Soil Association, The Centre for Alternative Technology, The Vegetarian Society, The Green Party and are in the accreditation process for Green Key – all organisations are working towards reducing pollution and combating climate change.
Our Environmental Management System is reviewed regularly to ensure its relevance to our business aims and objectives and to ensure that we improve year-on-year.
Roger and Simone Broome
Canolfan Ceridwen Centre and Welsh Green Weddings (April 2012, – reviewed August 2013, August 2014 and September 2015)