We only went a won the Environment Award at the North Norfolk Business Awards 2019!

Respecting our environment has been at the heart of what we do from the very beginning, so we’re are incredibly proud (and overwhelmed) at receiving this award.

Being sustainable has been a part of our lifestyle for quite a few years now. We’ve always loved upcyling, re-using or re-purposing ‘things’ but as it’s become more apparent that we all need to be making changes we’ve embraced the zero waste lifestyle as much as possible. It’s not made easy for any of us though with so much single use plastics, most fruit and vegetables wrapped in unnecessary plastics in supermarkets (sometimes twice!) and the cost to buy separately, not in plastic packaging, more expensive (why!?), what we can and can’t recycle is confusing and different in every county (and district in some cases) and so much more.

But, as with many others, we’re trying and really thinking before we purchase anything. Do we need it? Can we buy elsewhere without plastic covering? What impact will this have on the environment? and most importantly living a simpler, less materialistic life……we really don’t need that much to live a fulfilled life!

We are truly blessed with a beautiful county and coastline attracting more and more visitors to Norfolk each year. Obviously tourism has a big part to play in this and can be seen as having a negative effect due to the ignorance of some visitors disrespecting our natural environment.

What is sustainable tourism? “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities” The World Tourism Organisation. 

I identified closely with this quote from an Ecotourism Pioneer in Spain from the Sustainability Leaders Project: “To me, sustainable tourism is a tourism that is respectful and non-invasive, where the important thing is to enjoy your surroundings while leaving the smallest of footprint possible”

Sustainable camping
Sustainable camping

Our priority when setting up MarGins Holidays was to be as sustainable as possible and have a responsibility to lead by example. If we are attracting visitors to our beautiful county then we should promote awareness and understanding of protecting our delicate environment . I was honoured to be asked to do a presentation on sustainable tourism at the Norfolk Coast Partnership 50th Anniversary of our Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty celebratory event in April 2018. This gave me a great opportunity to evaluate my own business in sustainability:

  • All correspondence is printed on recycled paper. Our guests receive their full itinerary in a personally written booklet printed by us so they have all their information together and don’t have to print anything themselves. Even our envelopes are recycled Ordinance Survey maps
    • The Information Booklet includes information such as where the location of toilets, dog poop bins, local places to eat and drink, things to see and do along the way, important contact numbers and most importantly the Countryside Code
  • We pitch our tents on established campsites along the coast path
  • All food products are purchased locally from Norfolks finest producers or handmade by us. With information on where to buy the products either during their holiday or website details of the producers
    • there is absolutely no food waste as we replenish the breakfast hamper each day and anything left over is a bonus for us (or the chickens!). We bake our own bread in small loaf tins, just enough for a fresh loaf each day for 2 people
  • Most materials used to make our essentials such as bedding bags and bunting come from Scrapbox. An eco-friendly charity selling re-use resources reclaimed from landfill
  • Our Oztents and essential camping supplies are purchased from Norwich Camping
  • We upcylce/recycle/re-use/repurpose where possible. For example our bed side tables have been made from an old set of draws which have been upturned with foldable legs for packing away in Glampy (the van)
  • We provide bio-degradable dog poop bags and bin bags
  • Single use plastic is avoided and only recyclable containers are purchased
  • All laundry is washed in eco-friendly liquid and essential oils and dried naturally
  • We work in partnership with other like minded businesses and organisations promoting respect for our environment:
    • Experience weekends – working with professional practitioners to give guests the best possible experience. Check out the yoga retreats or the Deepdale Music Festival here
    • Promote and conduct beach cleans on a regular basis. We partnered The Outdoor GuideJulia BradburyKeep Britain Tidy and many more amazing businesses in the production of ‘litter bags’. All our guests now receive a bag encouraging litter picks and beach cleans whilst they holiday with us
    • Actively support the work of Norfolk TrailsNorfolk Coast Partnership and other organisations in promoting sustainability and respect on our trails and coastline

We have such lovely feedback from our guests, which I have to admit brings a tear to my eye and is the reason we keep so motivated and enthusiastic: “I love and appreciate the beauty you have created by putting your heart into this – keeping things local, using brown paper, encouraging care of our earth. Loving being in beautiful Norfolk and having the gift of what you provide to enhance it” 

We are certainly no experts but are very willing to continually learn, develop and improve our efforts to being as sustainable as possible……