GREEN CREDENTIALS AT THE OLD SCHOOL
The Old School has been awarded a Green Tourism Bronze Award and we hope to achieve a Gold Award by the end of 2020. Below are listed some of the ways we are trying to do our bit for the environment. We hope you will join us in trying to live as sustainably as possible during your stay and beyond!
We would like to encourage you to use public and sustainable transport. The Old School has got an electric car charging point, there is a bus time table in the visitor’s guide and we have secure bike sheds at the back of the guest house. We are working hard to have a public bike hire point close to the School soon.
We are lucky enough to be very close to some beautiful countryside, and we would encourage you to explore the Grand Union Canal, Ouse Valley Park and The Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve, all of which are within walking distance of the Old School. We have a good selection of maps and walking books for you in the living room.
Please be aware of your energy use in the Old School: make sure to switch off the light when you leave the room and don’t leave your TV running in your absence. We have tried to insulate the building as well as possible to reduce the use of the radiators.
We offer you the option to re-use your towel by hanging it over chairs or banisters, which saves water, energy and staff time. If you leave it on the floor we will assume that you would like a new one.
We use LED bulbs throughout the building.
The Old School hopes to install its own solar panels by the end of 2021.
Natural chemicals and refills
Our cleaning chemicals are sourced from a local company, Bubbles’ Laundromat in Wolverton, and are refilled into glass bottles, rather than one-use plastic. The chemicals don’t contain chlorine and are better for the environment. You can find the information sheets in the folder under the sink.
We have a green veg waste bin, a recycling bin and a glass recycling bin, as well as a normal black bin. Please make use of them and avoid one-use packaging if you can. There is a guide to recycling in the kitchen.
We try to work with refillable systems as much as possible. For example, you will not find milk sachets on your tea tray in your room, but we encourage you to use the small jug in your room to get milk from the fridge.
The Old School House is a drinking water refill station, and the cafe offers free refills during its normal opening times. If you go walking please (re)fill your own bottle from the sink, so that you don’t need to buy extra plastic bottles.
We ask our guests in advance whether they would like to participate in our Continental Breakfast scheme, and so minimise waste in the kitchen. Bread is kept in the freezer for a longer life and we mainly stock breakfast items which perish very slowly.
Fruit and veg which have gone past their ‘best before’ dates are donated to the Milton Keynes community Fridge for re-use. The fridge is in the Old Bath House in central Wolverton and local residents and visitors (including you!) are welcome to check out food for free Monday to Friday between 10am and 2pm. There is more information on their website: www.mkcommunityfridge.org.
Locally grown and fair food
In the long term, we are hoping to grow herbs and small vegetables for the Cafe on our own grounds.
For now, we try to source most in-house food locally and in a sustainable way. In the kitchen you can find local honey and jam from the Urb Farm in Wolverton and other rotating goodies form local suppliers. Supporting local suppliers reduced carbon emission, keeps the money in the local economy and supports individuals who are passionate about the quality of their work and materials. We hope to create a local food map for you soon!
Our coffee and tea in the guest house kitchen are fair trade and rain forest alliance certified.
Re-used materials in the Old School
Most of the furniture in the Old School are recycled and have been given a new lease of life by upholstering, painting and fixing. We worked with the local companies Mrs B’s Emporium and Ruby Lou’s Recreations to create a unique look which takes its inspiration from the past. Some of the items in the House were found when Future Wolverton first took ownership of the Old School, and have been lovingly upcycled.
We only use recycled loo paper, and the vast majority of the paper in our office is recycled, too. Marketing materials are printed via instantprint.co.uk on recycled paper, and we are currently trying to find a local supplier who can offer the same service at an affordable price.
The Old School is very lucky to work with the local artist Jane Charles, who completed several projects with the students of Slated Row School next door over the winter 2018/19. Your bed spreads and curtains are hand printed by the students and we hope you love the unique Old School design as much as we do!
Looking after the local wildlife
The Old School grounds have been designed with local wild life in mind and in the community hall garden we have bird houses, a woodland walk with shelters for little creatures and a big hedgehog house. We are ‘Hedgehog champions’ (www.hedgehogstreet.org) and would love you to let us know if you see any hedgehogs snuffling around in the evening.
If you would like to use the outside seating area behind the cafe or the wildlife walk, please make sure to take any rubbish with you.
The Old School has ‘twinned’ one of its toilets with a loo in Afghanistan, to support the installation of better sanitation for all. You can read more about the project at www.toilettwinning.org.
We continually look at ways to improve our commitment to green issues. Please let us know if you have any further tips or suggestions. You can find out more about Green Tourism at www.green-tourism.com
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