Wildlife tourism

Islay Birding

Islay Birding talk about the how they've gone about becoming more sustainable tourism business, reducing their bills in the process.

As a wildlife attraction on a popular Hebridean island, Islay Birding aims to be a sustainable option for tourists looking to discover Scotland’s natural world.

The business follows the “three R’s” principle of recycling, re-using and reducing, but has also pledged to promote the use of renewable energy and environmental responsibility in its activities. 

The firm has already reduced its energy consumption by using eco-bulbs, using local energy sources, having heavily insulated accommodation and performing all of its business in daylight hours – and has pledged to source all of its equipment from local companies, which supports the nearby economy.

The business re-uses envelopes and paper and purchases second-hand goods wherever possible, as well as recycling all glass, cans and cloths that it uses. In the office, recycled paper and ink cartridges are used, while food waste is composted and wood is used as a cheap, environmentally-friendly energy source.

The company also uses an Ecoflow fuel system for its company vehicle while ecoballs are used for washing - rather than phosphorus or powder/liquid - and Ecover for washing up. The business also has an allotment to grow food, has built bird-feeding stations on-site and buys Fairtrade products wherever possible.

Reducing energy consumption, and energy bills

Jeremy Hastings, owner of Islay Birding, said: 

“We’ve been promoting environmentally-friendly tourism here for many years and some of the things we are doing have been at the forefront of sustainability. We use recycled cooking oil from local restaurants and hotels to fuel our company Land Rover and are trying to reduce the amount we use it in the business.

“We’ve been reducing our Co2 emissions for many years and our last measurement showed that the business had an annual output of 5.5 tonnes of carbon – compared to the national average of 9-11 tonnes per person in Britain. We plan on reducing this further in the coming years and lowering our electricity usage, which is already down to just £250 per year.

“We promote cycle tours to visitors and try to encourage the use of public transport wherever possible. We also try to give visitors as much information as we can about the need to be eco-friendly and sustainable in order to help protect the natural landscape.

“Our visitors are definitely engaging with the environmental side of things. It isn’t necessarily the reason why they choose us, but they are very interested to hear what we’re doing and how they can help, which is great.”

For further information please visit: http://www.islaybirding.co.uk/