The Last Straw – Swinton Estate joins the fight against single use plastics.

The Swinton Estate has joined ‘The Last Straw’, a voluntary eco campaign that aims to bring an end to the wasteful use of environmentally damaging plastic straws. The Estate’s five bars and restaurants at Swinton Park, Swinton Country Club & Spa and Swinton Bivouac have recycled all their single use plastic straws and replaced them with a non-plastic, biodegradable alternative, which dissolves in boiling water.
The nationwide campaign, which was launched by the London Evening Standard in January, follows the Government’s pledge to eliminate all plastic waste in Britain within 25 years. Environment Secretary Michael Gove said he was “particularly delighted” to welcome The Last Straw initiative after launching the Government’s blueprint earlier this year, “which encourages everyone to play their part in protecting and enhancing our natural world by helping to reduce the amount of plastic we all use; giving up plastic straws is an excellent place to start.”
Felicity Cunliffe-Lister, Proprietor of The Swinton Estate, commented, “The vast majority of plastic straws end up in landfill or our oceans and take up to 500 years to break down. By joining The Last Straw campaign, we are playing a small but important part in the fight against plastic.”
The Last Straw campaign is the latest in a series of eco initiatives that have been introduced by the Swinton Estate. Others include:
• Participating in ‘Refill’, a national, practical tap water campaign that aims to make refilling bottles as easy, convenient and cheap as possible. The Swinton Estate has introduced a number of refill points, where guests are welcome to fill their bottles free of charge, in an effort to stop handing out water bottles to guests on departure.
• The installation of a wood-chip boiler, which is used to provide all Swinton Park hotel’s heating and hot water requirements. This avoids the use of oil and, as it uses a renewable energy source, it is a carbon neutral operation.
• Working in partnership with local waste management firm Yorwaste, the hotel’s, glass, paper and cardboard are collected separately and recycled. Waste food is sent for anaerobic digestion. ALL residual waste is used to provide “waste to energy”. This means that the waste is treated at the Thirsk plant and then sent to Allerton Waste Recovery Park to be burnt to generate electricity to power up to 40,000 homes.
• The installation of an on-site laundry, which uses the latest O-Zone technology to wash at lower temperatures using the minimum amount of cleansing agents, water and energy (30% less than conventional laundries). This has also eliminated the need for laundry to be transported across the country to be laundered as it once was.
• In the bedrooms, environmental measures have also been taken such as the use of recycled pencils, re-usable water bottles (Harrogate Borough Council do not recycle the Estate’s glass) and energy efficient bulbs.
• The Estate’s four acre walled garden grows over 60 varieties of fruit, herbs and vegetables, which supplies the restaurant kitchens and cookery school with fresh seasonal produce throughout the year, helping to keep the carbon footprint for food deliveries to a minimum. All menus focus heavily on local produce, and the majority of ingredients are either sourced from the walled garden, surrounding estate or Yorkshire countryside.
• Swinton Bivouac offers completely off-grid zero emission accommodation in the tree lodges with no power, built using Estate timber and heated by Estate timber thinnings from sustainable forestry. Bivouac also has a carbon neutral wood-chip boiler for hot water and heating in the café and site headquarters.
The Swinton Estate’s Eco Awards
• 2007 – Best Business Initiative Award at the first Yorkshire and Humber Microgeneration Awards.
• 2009 – Green Tourism Business Scheme Award, the largest green accreditation scheme in the world and the only one currently recognised by the VisitBritain tourism authority.
• 2009 – Green Business Award at the Yorkshire Rural Awards.
• 2012 – Samuel’s at Swinton Park was awarded the “Three Star Sustainability Champion” by the Sustainable Restaurant Association, scoring 84%, which was the SRA’s highest score in the whole of the UK that year, with the restaurant achieving 100% in some areas.

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