Looking into sustainability within the hospitality sector is a huge task, there are always ways in which businesses can improve & develop. Our journey started in 2019 when we took over the meeting rooms of St Johns Chapel in Hay-on-Wye and our pledge is to always continue to improve, to learn, to ask questions and to listen to ideas & feedback. We don’t claim to have done it all or to be perfect but we are enjoying the challenge.
Please read on for more details and do get in touch to chat if this is something that interests you as we are truly passionate about improving in any areas.
When first creating the restaurant one focus was insuring that we use local tradespeople and reusing what was already in place if possible. With a plumber and electrician from the area on board we then contacted an independent sign writer @jessie.illustration for our hanging sign (reusing the sign already there). After installing a new bar (made from reclaimed scaffolding boards) we painted, added new art work (repurposed from old books) and we were almost ready to go. Over the summer of our first year we decorated by filling the shelves with foraged items that had been dried or pickled & stored in Kilner jars.
January 2021 saw us take on a small space within a large walled garden, giving us the opportunity to increase the food we were growing ourselves and helping to keep the food miles down to a minimum (Click HERE to follow that journey).
Food waste is a huge issue for restaurants and there are several ways in which Chapters tackles this, firstly by only offering a set menu it is possible to really control how much food is prepared. Only making what is needed is a skill which has taken time to perfect. If for any reason there is any food left over it either goes towards staff meals or is taken home to be eaten at a later date. As a last resort food waste is added to the compost bin which in turn goes onto the restaurant garden and in turn is used to create more food.
The waste that is created at Chapters is all carefully sorted and what can be recycled, is recycled. Tins, Plastic, Card, Glass are regularly collected from the council. Soft plastic is collected every two weeks from a company called Capital Valley Plastics that turn it into roofing tiles. Cork from wine bottles are sent to Wine Corks a social enterprise that reuses the corks and sends a percentage of profits to charity. Any items that cannot be recycled are collected by the council and turned into energy by burning (all waste is kept within the UK. – head to there website for more information at Powys County Council).
In January 2022 Chapters signed up to Business Wales Green Growth Pledge. The Pledge helps businesses take pro-active steps towards improving their sustainability, demonstrating their positive impact on the people and the places around them as well as jointing a growing community of forward-thinking organisation.
February 2022 the MICHELIN Guide for Great Britain and Ireland announced 9 restaurants to be awarded the MICHELIN Green Star for sustainable gastronomy something that was introduced to the guide in 2021 and Chapters is 1 of only 31 restaurants in the UK and 1 of 2 restaurants in Wales to be able to boast about this achievement.
June 2022 Chapters signed up as supporters of the UK Slow Food. Slow Food is a global, grassroots movement with thousands of members around the world that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment. It was founded in 1989 in Italy. It is a not–for–profit organisation seeking to promote a better way to eat, celebrating the rich food traditions of the different nations that make up the UK, and protecting our edible biodiversity. They engage members of the public, food producers, chefs, businesses, academics and a global network, spreading and enacting our philosophies internationally and locally.
This is not an exhaustive list and we will promote ideas and new practices on our social media pages, but we love to talk about this issue so if there are any companies out there with exciting ways we can help to leave the planet in a better way do get in touch as we would love to hear from you! firstname.lastname@example.org