I'm revisiting a couple of the goals I set for my business at the beginning of the year. One was to improve on my efforts in protecting the environment - recycling, less chemicals, less waste and less plastic.
At the start of the year I thought this would be a reasonably easy goal to achieve as we already recycle, compost and mulch, and use ecofriendly products everywhere.
Now, however, I'm not so sure. Sure, I am definitely recycling more, rinsing out even the smallest of plastic containers and trying not to buy more, more garden waste is going into the compost bin and I haven't sprayed the garden this season.
I've made some tough decisions and compromises over waste, power use and chemical pollution and, for the most part, I'm happy with the efforts we've made. But there are some areas I have difficulty with.
Coffee for instance - we have a Nespresso machine which is fabulous, except for the left over pods. I tried sourcing bio degradeable pods but then realised they came from Australia so with all the carbon emissions I decided this wasn't really a viable alternative. My eco friendly efforts have turned me back to plunger coffee brought in paper bags.
Buying in bulk is another issue for me. I run out of storage space to store enough bulk buy product to last the season. And then there is also the issue of product shelf life. As I only have two rooms and we are very quiet in the off season, I'm pretty sure my eco friendly products don't last through to next season resulting in extra waste (and money!). So my compromise has been to buy the biggest size of product available that is not bulk.
Single use plastic bags have almost gone completely - I do have a dog so all plastic bags are used more than once! Not sure how I will cope without the plastic bread bags over winter! I'm still looking for a viable option here.
The area that lets me down the most, though, is pest control. In particular, mice and cockroaches especially now the weather is getting colder.
I have invested in a number of the sonic pest control thingys that you plug in and they emit a high pitch sound. They use power but not chemicals and don't kill. Apparently, the high pitch whine isn't discernible to humans (except the odd guest with a certain type of hearing aid when it then sounds like a high pitch whine beeping at irregular intervals!)
Do they work? Actually yes, but I wouldn't say they were 100% effective.
The mice appear to have become use to the noise and are in the process, due to the weather, of attempting to move back in. Apparently, you need to turn them off for a couple of days then on again so the mice don't get use to the sound. Of course, turning them off means they definitely move in so I have reinvested in a mouse trap which together with (organic) peanut butter seems to work quite well.
But the biggest downfall in my efforts comes in dealing with the cockroaches. Anyone living in HB will tell you that they are plentiful and everyone has them - they are not reflective of an unclean property (although try telling that to guests!). They live in the garden and when it gets cold they like to come inside. The sonic thingys do make a difference but there are the odd few that get inside. And I think they are horrid!!!!
But the biggest downfall in my efforts comes in dealing with the cockroaches. Anyone living in HB will tell you that they are plentiful and everyone has them (to see more about them - click here) - they are not reflective of an unclean property (although try telling that to guests!). They live in the garden and like to come inside when it gets cold. Whilst the sonic thingys do make a difference there are the odd few that get inside. And I think they are horrid!!!!
A friend, who shall remain nameless (but who is the President of the Association) once said to me "don't you think they are handsome?" I think the look on my face was response enough! "We capture them and release them back outside", she said. Really? Don't they just come back in??
For the most part I am quite happy gathering them up in a damp, paper towel and putting them in the bin or flushing them down the toilet. But, as many of you know, I am slightly vertically challenged and sometimes they are simply out of reach. It is also surprising how fast they can run and what tiny gaps they scuttle into. I'm sorry but then I resort to ... spray.
I know this is not the best nor "politically correct" attitude but I have decided that this is where I draw the line in my environmentally friendly endeavours and I am hoping the rest of my efforts make up for this transgression.
Association Secretary, May 2019
Since writing this blog I have come across this amazing video clip of Greta Thunberg, a 15 year old Swedish student talking at the United Nations. If you need motivation to revist and redouble your conservation efforts - this will provide it for you!.