Jacks Alt-Stays Climate Action Plan

Our Climate Action Plan 🌎

Jacks Alt-Stays Climate Action Plan

Who sets up a Climate Action Plan before they even set up their business?

We do.

Why? Because it’s just the right thing to do.

The environment is something that we take personally, and since the early days of concept development, we’ve been determined to create a genuinely environmentally sustainable business.

Here are 11 ways we’re doing our bit for the planet.


1. One Stay = 1 Tree Planted 🌱

Through partnering with Ecologi, we fund the planting of a tree for every single booking at Jack’s Alt-Stays!

These trees are planted in low-cost, high-impact areas around the world, because it’s “Save the Planet“, right?

So, unfortunately (or fortunately) you won’t see Adam and I running around with spades covering the whole island in trees, but as well as the tree planting through Ecologi, we’ve planted hundreds of trees, plants, shrubs and bulbs around our site in Millport.

Ecologi also runs environmental projects closer to home, such as this temperate reforestation project in Dalry, North Ayrshire.

Ecologi Jacks Alt-Stays Tree Planting


2. Proudly Powered by 100% Renewable Electricity ⚡️

Our Cabins are powered by 100% solar, hydro, and wind-generated electricity.

Primarily, we’re powered by solar energy, self-generated by 40x solar PV panels mounted on top of our cabins, with 2x Tesla Powerwall batteries which store energy during high gain, low use periods, for use in lower gain, higher use periods.

Jack's Alt-Stays Solar Panel Installation

Through the late spring, summer, and early Autumn months, our five cabins are 95% self-sufficient for electricity! ☀️ And, 51% self-sufficient year-round. It feels amazing to be able to self-generate most of our electricity, and know our guests can kick back and relax with environmental peace of mind 🌎

Through this infrastructure, we’re hoping to achieve annual carbon savings of 2.7 tonnes of CO2e!

[Thanks to the Ayrshire Rural Islands Ambition (ARIA) Fund and the Scottish Government for making our solar panels possible]

If the sun doesn’t shine (the sun always shines in Millport btw 😉), we’ll be supplied by Octopus Business Energy – a 100% Green energy provider.

We don’t do fossil fuels.

Jacks Alt-Stays Eco-Cabin Renewable Wind Energy


3. Ambitious Eco Goals 🎯

For a wee tourism business on a wee Scottish island, we have set ourselves some pretty big eco-goals.

By the end of 2024, we aim to:

🌲 Plant 3,500 trees.

💨 Avoid 45T CO2e from being emitted

We’re also working with the Cumbrae Carbon Neutral Islands Project to go through a carbon audit and verify our carbon status.


Fancy a Unique Stay on The Isle of Cumbrae?…

Check out our One-of-a-kind Cabin Concept in Millport.

The Hive Cabin - Jack's Alt-Stays, Millport

Welcome to the next generation of self-catering accommodation in Scotland.

We think of our one-of-a-kind Cabin Concept as a crossroads where quirky interior design meets eco-consciousness, in a stunning island setting.

👉 Discover The Cabins

 


4. Sustainably Built Cabins 🛠

We’ve been keen to get things right from the very start. Our cabins were designed and built locally in North Ayrshire – all within a 20-mile radius of our site in Millport

Fewer logistics = less CO2 emitted.

We’ve worked with Largs-based Architects to bring the Cabin concept to its final design stage, and with Stevenston-based builders, who have a real focus on sustainable building processes.

Eco Cabin Build

The timbers used for the cabin structure and cladding are sustainably sourced and PEFC and/or FSC-certified.

FSC, or the Forest Stewardship Council, certifies forests all over the world to ensure they meet the highest environmental and social standards. Products made with wood and paper from FSC forests are marked with their well-recognised tick tree’ logo, which means we can be confident that when using these materials to build our cabins, we won’t be harming the world’s forests.

FSC certification is well recognised in the UK and has a more strict focus on the farmed forest management and chain of custody side of things. Once a tree is harvested, three more are planted in its place.

For the insulation, we’ve opted for market-leading EcoTherm®, resulting in a highly efficient thermal performance.

Jacks Alt-Stays Alternative Eco Cabin Build Progress

We have also carefully selected the Cabins’ fittings, lighting, appliances, and contents of the cabins, based on efficient energy performance.

The chosen Herschel infra-red panel heaters are market-leading, use 30% less energy than standard electric heaters, are thermostat controlled, and can be controlled remotely. Low-energy internal and external LED lighting has been fitted. Again, all of these are powered by 100% green energy.

Jack's Alt-Stays Eco Cabin The Hive Millport (8)

The flooring and bathroom wall panel manufacturer uses FSC Forest Friendly certified materials.

The double bed is from Get Laid Beds®, who also have a keen focus on sustainability. Their Scandinavian Pine is sustainably sourced from FSC & PEFC forests and they have planted over 100,000 trees in Africa, so far. Any excess waste is made into wood briquettes and donated to their local community to help reduce their heating bills.

Jack's Alt-Stays Eco Cabin The Hive Millport (7)

This is topped with an eco-friendly mattress, Vegan down duvet and pillows, made with fibres from recycled plastic bottles, uniquely spun and blown in such a way that they simulate the hand feel and warmth of natural down.

These are just a few examples of our eco-conscious decisions made through the cabin design and build process. Check out our Cabin Build Journey Blog for more.

Jacks Alt-Stays Alternative Eco Cabin Build Progress


5. An Eco Commute 🚴‍♂️

Sometimes it’s the wee things that matter. We’ll be cycling into site whenever possible.

Saying that, it’s not like cycling to work is a chore for us. We live just across the water in Largs, love a good cycle, and the route to site is nothing short of stunningly scenic.

The only time we won’t be cycling is when the weather doesn’t permit (in that case we’ll grab the bus), and a few days week we need to bring supplies over in the car.

Millport Ferry


6. Compensating for our Unavoidable Carbon Footprint ⚖️

First, it’s about quantifying and tracking our CO2e contributions. Second, it’s about reductions and minimising them. Third, it’s about compensating for the rest.

Being located on an island, there will, unfortunately, be some small areas of our business where we are just not able to avoid a carbon footprint. The reality for us is that ferry travel will be simply unavoidable (unless someone invents teleportation sometime soon).

Although it’s only an 8-minute trip over and the impact is split between large numbers of passengers, let’s face it, the ferry is no eco angel. And as mentioned, we’ll need to take the car over occasionally.

As part of our partnership with Ecologi and on top of our “book one, plant one” model – we also contribute a set amount each month to compensate for our unavoidable carbon footprint.

Here’s our impact so far:

3 YEARS

of Climate Impact

44 TONNES

of CO2e Avoided

3012 TREES

In Our forest

 

Lastly, our cabins come equipped with a Skargards hot tub.  We chose to endorse wood-fired hot tubs as they’re natural, smell amazing and require no harmful chemicals to run. Electric tubs were ruled out due to their unviable heat-up time and use of chemicals like chlorine and bromine.

We’re not using wood, but briquettes made in Girvan; only 40 miles away as the crow flies. These briquettes are sustainably sourced from Forest Standard accredited forests in the UK, and are actually a by-product of the timber industry’s lop and top method, along with co-product from sawmills in the form of logs rejected due to their size or shape. Any tree that is cut down is replanted within 12 months. They are Clean Air Act compliant, Ultra Low emissions and 100% sustainable.


7. Partner Eco Credentials 🤝

We also make sure that anyone we work with has their eco-credentials in place.

For example, the linen hire supplier, ‘Jonhson’s Stalbridge‘, has significantly invested in improving their environmental performance, and recycles all soft plastic wraps (via third party). Our guest consumables supplier ‘Kingdom Coffee’ offers sustainably sourced products in recycled and/or recyclable packaging.

ARRAN Sense of Scotland‘ supplies our guest toiletries in bulk containers which are made from 100% ocean-prevented recycled plastic, and 100% recyclable after use. We then refill and reuse our smaller bottles for guest shampoo, shower gel, and hand soap, which are also recycled at their end of life, meaning minimised plastic produced, and zero plastic to landfill.

ECOLAB’ supply us their most environmentally friendly cleaning product range in fully recyclable packaging, most in bulk refill bottles.

Who Gives A Crap‘, who supply our recycled toilet roll and kitchen roll are B Corp certified, for their highest standards of social and environmental impact. It’s by far not the cheapest option, but it’s great quality, good for society, and good for the environment.

Our environmental scrutiny of our suppliers even comes down to our web hosting provider. ProStack have their ISO 14001:2015 – Environmental Management Standard in place, which encourages businesses to help reduce environmental impacts, reduce waste, and to be more sustainable.


8. The Environment – It’s in our Values. 🌎

One of our core founding values is to ‘Respect Our Backyard’ – Leave nothing but footprints. Always respect your surrounding environment and leave it a little better than you found it.

By this, we mean both our immediate ‘backyard’, i.e. our site, surrounding area, and our neighbours, but also the wider island environments.

We return to our values every time we make a business decision – because what’s the point in even having them if you don’t?

Check out Jack’s Alt-Stays Founding Values.


9 Looking After our Environment at a Community Level 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦

Both Adam and I are passionate about the environment and see our environmental duty extend beyond our own site’s boundary.

We get involved with beach clean initiatives, such as the FSC’s recent Kames Bay clean, with a view to champion these in the near future.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by FSC Millport (@fscmillport)

We also plan to lead the campaign for on-street recycling facilities in Millport later this year.


10. We’ve Declared a Climate Emergency! 🚨

Tourism Declares supports tourism businesses, organisations, and individuals in declaring a climate emergency and taking action to reduce their carbon emissions. They acknowledge the science stating we have to act now to address the crisis over the next decade.

Alongside fellow tourism organisations such as Visit Scotland, here are our five commitments in declaring a climate emergency;

    1. Develop and commit to this ‘Climate Action Plan’
    2. Share our commitment and progress publicly
    3. Cut carbon emissions
    4. Encourage our suppliers and partners to make the same declaration
    5. Advocate for change in tourism

11. Responsible Waste Management ♻️

We do everything we can to eradicate the use of non-recyclable, single-use plastics in our Cabins. We also make sure that our day-to-day waste and recycling processes are up to scratch, and make it super simple for guests to do the same, with clearly labeled 3-compartment and food waste bins.


So in a nutshell, that’s how we’ll make an ‘Alt-stay’ an ‘Eco-stay’.

As individuals, we have both become much more environmentally aware over the last few years. Greta would be proud!

Why a Climate Action Plan?  We have a Climate Action Plan in place from day 1.  It’s our way of holding ourselves accountable and committing to the cause.

We see our business as an extension of ourselves. – we do share the Jack name after all. That’s why from the get-go, we’ve set out to create a genuinely environmentally sustainable business.

Cheers!


Fancy a Unique Stay on The Isle of Cumbrae?…

Check out our One-of-a-kind Cabin Concept in Millport.

The Hive Cabin - Jack's Alt-Stays, Millport

Welcome to the next generation of self-catering accommodation in Scotland.

We think of our one-of-a-kind Cabin Concept as a crossroads where quirky interior design meets eco-consciousness, in a stunning island setting.

👉 Discover The Cabins

 

Jack's Alt-Stays Solar Panel Installation

Installation of Renewable Energy Infrastructure at Jack’s Alt-Stays!

Jack's Alt-Stays Solar Panel Installation

That’s right! – we’re incredibly excited to announce our brand new installation of solar infrastructure at Jack’s Alt-Stays.

Thanks to the Ayrshire Rural and Islands Ambition (ARIA) fund and the Scottish Government, we’ve been able to achieve a goal we’ve had since Day 1 of our start-up business.

We’ve always strived to be a genuinely environmentally sustainable business, through efforts such as tree planting initiatives in partnership with Ecologi, and our local and sustainable build processes, however a lack of funds during the early stages of our start-up meant we were unable to install our own green energy infrastructure from the outset.

Up until January 2023, we’ve been powering our cabins through the national grid, supplied by the 100% green energy supplier – Octopus Energy.

Despite amazing efforts of Octopus to make green energy accessible to all, we always wanted to have something tangible which would allow us to generate our own on-site renewable energy.

After applying to the ARIA fund near the end of 2022, we managed to secure some vital Scottish Government grant funding which has allowed us to install 8 x solar panels on the roofs of each of our 5 cabins in Millport.

The installation took place during early January, and we’re delighted with the final product. Check them out:

Solar Panels Jack's Alt-Stays

The funding has also allowed us to install 2 x premium Tesla Powerwall batteries, enabling us to store generated energy for use in low-generation, high-usage periods.

Solar Panels Jack's Alt-Stays

Based on the infrastructure as a whole, we are hoping to achieve annual carbon savings of 2681.11kg CO2e.

When compared to our predicted energy consumption data, we believe this infrastructure will allow us to power our business through renewable energy for the vast majority of the year – what a result!

We will now only have to rely on the mains connection as a back-up for short periods of high consumption or the winter where solar energy generation potential is limited.

This is a huge milestone for our business, and we’d like to thank the Ayrshire Rural and Islands Ambition (ARIA) fund for helping us achieve this huge ambition of ours!

 

Responsible Tourism Scotland

10 Ways to be a Responsible Tourist in Scotland

Responsible Tourism Scotland

After a long and difficult two years of travel restrictions and uncertainty, it’s super exciting that we can finally get back out there and explore the wonders Scotland has to offer. As we do so, it’s a great time to really reflect on how we can do this responsibly – to be a ‘Responsible Tourist‘.

Here are 10 ways to be a Responsible Tourist in Scotland, this Summer:

 

1: Leave Nothing but Footsteps 👣

Let’s keep Scotland’s landscapes litter-free by binning it. It should go without saying, but if there’s not a bin nearby, do the right thing by taking it with you, and of course, use recycling points where available.

Even better – leave the place in a better state than you found it if you can.

This is your opportunity to get your good deed of the day in. Add in an extra few bits of litter to your own clean-up. It’ll all add up to a clean and tidy Scotland for everyone to enjoy!

Scottish Outdoor Access Code - Responsible Tourist
Scottish Outdoor Access Code Campaign Artwork created by Nature Scotland, Scotland’s Nature Agency.

We touch on this in one of our business’ four founding values, which is to;

Respect Your BackyardLeave nothing but footsteps. Always respect your surrounding environment and leave it a little better than you found it.”

See Jack’s Alt-Stays’ Values here

 

2: Choose a Sustainable Travel Option 🚴‍♂️

Being a responsible tourist is far more than keeping places tidy. It’s also an opportunity to do our bit for the wider climate crisis.

Instead of the car, why not opt for a greener staycation travel option such as train travel? If you’re visiting an island, why not ditch the car on the mainland and make the most of the public transport links?

Alternatively, why not take it slow and explore by bike or foot? In my opinion, that’s the best way to soak in your scenic surroundings. Good for the planet, and great for your health.

Check out Millport, the island of 1,000 bikes.


VisitScotland – #RespectProtectEnjoy Campaign Video


3: Support Local Business – Shop Local 🛍

Small, local, tourism-dependent businesses have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic. Here’s how to support them as they re-open and recover.

If you fancy a coffee, why not stick your few quid in a local family-owned café’s till, rather than Costa’s or Starbucks’?

Now that I mention that, don’t be afraid to spend a few quid, whether it’s in the local bakery, craft shop, or distillery. Who knows, you could discover a hidden gem you wouldn’t have otherwise!

Choose restaurants that use local produce. Not only are you supporting the local restaurant and the family running it and the staff they’ve given a job to, but you’re supporting all of the local businesses up the supply chain, behind the scenes.

Check out the Best Places to Eat in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae.

Millport Town
Millport Town

4: Choose a Sustainable Place to Stay 🌎

Choose overnight digs that have their eco-credentials in place.

Even something as simple as them using eco-friendly cleaning materials, or using a sustainable linen supplier shows they’ve thought about their environmental impact.

Perhaps they’ve even earned their Green Tourism Gold Certification. Look out for this badge on their website:

Visit Scotland Green Tourism Award

Knowing you’ve made a conscious decision as a responsible tourist to stay eco, you can rest easy and stay with environmental peace of mind.

I suppose this is a good time to let you know about our Unique Cabin Concept in Millport.

They’re built locally from sustainable materials, are powered by 100% renewable energy and we’ll have a tree planted for every booking made, through our partnership with Ecologi.

The Hive Cabin - Jack's Alt-Stays, Millport

Welcome to the next generation of self-catering accommodation in Scotland.

We think of our one-of-a-kind Cabin Concept as a crossroads where quirky interior design meets eco-consciousness, in a stunning island setting.

Bookings are now OFFICIALLY LIVE! 🚀

👉 Discover The Cabins

 


5: Be a Responsible Walker / Dog Walker 🐾

Stick to the trail and follow the signs. The National Trust for Scotland charity puts a lot of work into maintaining our woodland pathways, so they are safe for us all to use. To avoid eroding them, try to stick to the official routes where possible.

If you’re walking your furry friend, it makes sense to always have a lead handy and be aware of any livestock around.

Scottish Outdoor Access Code Campaign Artwork - Responsible Tourist
Scottish Outdoor Access Code Campaign Artwork created by Nature Scotland, Scotland’s Nature Agency.

Now, I know many dogs don’t need kept on the lead most of the time (mine certainly doesn’t!) but do keep one handy and use it if you’re walking by any livestock – especially in calving/lambing season!

Jack's Alt-Stays Rudi the Dog

6: Waste Not, Want Not. ♻️

Staying in self-catering accommodation? Only bring the provisions you need to try and minimise food waste. Even though you are in holiday mode, do bring your best practices at home on your trip with you.

Again, go for some local produce to have the best local experience!

I suppose this could be extended to energy use too. Have you been guilty of leaving the light and/or heating on in your accommodation while heading out to explore? I think many of us have been.

Every little carbon emission avoided eventually adds up. Only use the energy you need, and you can sleep easy, knowing you’ve done your bit for the planet.

7: Shop Eco/Ethical 🌱

Now, I mentioned shopping local above, but go even further and shop eco/ethical.

Loads of local shops in destinations around Scotland take pride in offering some fantastic eco and ethical products.

Whether the local business is a Living Wage employer, or sells FairTrade, Vegan, eco-friendly, or recycled/plastic-free products, make your pound work not only for you, but for the environment and community too.

Visit Scotland's Take Five For Tourism Campaign - Responsible Tourist
Visit Scotland’s Take Five For Tourism Campaign

8: Consider Donating to a Local Cause 🎗

Leave a small but lasting legacy of your visit.

Many of the small communities you visit will have local fundraising initiatives on the go. Keep an eye out for posters or donation tins in shops etc. This could be a great alternative way for you to leave the place you visit in a better way than you found it.

9: Before you visit, do your homework 📖

This might be an obvious one, but the more you learn, the richer the travel experience you’ll have. Trust me, you’ll discover wee gems, you would never have come across otherwise!

Embrace the local culture & learn more about it. Isn’t that what travelling is all about?

Check out our blog on Unique Things to See & Do in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae.

Finally, 10: Hands, Face, Space 😷

Although brighter days are now ahead of us, we are still not out of the woods yet.

It’s important that alongside our extra freedoms, we take the responsibility of not bringing the virus to the often remote communities we visit.

Always follow the government guidelines around travel and household mixing for the area you are traveling from, traveling through, and traveling to.

Let’s all do our bit to keep this virus at bay and keep tourism safe and open for good. Please also follow the instructions in shops, accommodation and shared spaces.

Scottish Outdoor Access Code Campaign Artwork
Scottish Outdoor Access Code Campaign Artwork created by Nature Scotland, Scotland’s Nature Agency.

 

There you have it – 10 ways to be a responsible tourist in Scotland.

If you got this far, thanks for checking out the blog!

I’m Daniel Jack – the person behind this blog, and one of the cousin duo behind Jack’s Alt-Stays (That’s me on the left 👇)

Daniel Jack and Adam Jack - Jacks Alt-Stays

I’ll leave you with my thoughts on responsible tourism…

I’d say being a responsible tourist is to have some amazing and unique travel experiences without harming the environments and communities that we visit and protecting them for generations to come.

In my opinion, it’s all about respect – Respect for people, places, and the environment.

Responsible tourism is more than just reducing our negative impact as we explore Scotland. It’s about seeing tourism as a force for good.

It’s about focussing on how we not only maintain, but improve places for people to live and visit, around the whole of Scotland…. about respecting our environment, addressing climate change and protecting our cultural heritage and everything around it. Responsible tourism is welcoming everyone to Scotland with open arms, regardless of age, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or level of ability. It’s about making sure that tourism in Scotland is inclusive and accessible for all.

Most importantly of all though, it’s about sustainably rebuilding our tourism industry, and the rural, tourism-dependent, often family-owned businesses within, after the devastation caused by the global pandemic over the last couple of years.

#RespectProtectEnjoy


Check Out:


VisitScotland’s Visitor Pledge

To finish, why not save this image for the next time you’re out exploring Scotland?

VisitScotland's Visitor Pledge
VisitScotland’s Visitor Pledge
Adam's Daily Dook for Mental Health SAMH

Adam’s Daily Dooks for Mental Health 🏊

Adam's Daily Dook for Mental Health SAMH

Hey guys – Adam here!

07.01.2021

So, it’s official. I’ll be jumping into the freezing cold waters of the River Clyde EVERY DAY for the month of January. I’m 5 days in as I’m writing this and all I can say is… I really hope it gets easier.

But why have I decided to put myself through this? Well, let me tell you.

In the early hours of Boxing Day, my girlfriend & I both made a commitment to jump into the sea every day for the full month of January. To be completely honest, it was one of those commitments that you make after a full day of festivities and it’s only the next morning you realise what you’ve actually signed yourself up for.

Nonetheless, we decided in the end that it’d be a great idea. We wanted to do it primarily for some fun! But also because cold water exposure is linked to lots of health benefits such as improving skin, muscle recovery and boosting happiness levels.

We also thought it’d be a great opportunity to start of 2021 whilst making a truly positive impact on the world!

Looking back on 2020, it was a shocker of a year for everyone. We also know first-hand that it’s easy to feel down in the tough times. There’s a lot of people out there who’re really struggling in the current climate and with further lockdowns looming, it looks like there’s still some more difficult times ahead…

We decided that for the duration of our daily dooking challenge, we’d team up with the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) who do some truly amazing work helping people with their mental health and wellbeing.

We set-up our JustGiving page and we’re so thankful to have raised over £1000 for the charity so far – what a result!

If you’d like, you can donate here.

For the rest of the month, we’ll be posting daily updates on our Instagram Stories & Facebook stories and if you’d like to sponsor us doing this then any donations are hugely appreciated! We also hope that you get some enjoyment from us being daft and jumping in the cold water!

Thanks everyone for your generosity and stay safe!

Adam


Hey folks!

17.01.2022

17 straight days of jumping in the River Clyde ✅ 14 days left…

Daily Dooks for Mental Health Jack's Alt-Stays

As we’ve just made it over the half way mark, I thought it would be a good time to send out an update.

With 8am starts, ice, wind and rain there’s certainly been ups and downs but we’ve been loving it so far!

We would like to say a HUGE thank you to everyone that has donated. We’re delighted to have raised over £1100 on our Just Giving Page for a brilliant cause.

Click here to see a video of our highlights so far.


We made it! What a feeling…

01.02.2022

31 days of jumping into the River Clyde completed!

There’s been lots of ups and downs. Sometimes we were lucky to have sunny days, other times we fought against the ice, wind, rain and snow. In true Scottish fashion, we faced just about every type of weather you can get.

Check out our highlights:

Did we love the challenge? Absolutely. Will we be in the water today? 🥶

Well… Absolutely not.

BUT! Saying that, there’s honestly no better feeling than getting out the water with all the happy endorphins coursing through your body – so we will be carrying on our dooking! Just not everyday single day.

We also managed to smash our fundraising target! We’re absolutely buzzing to announce that we’ve raised £1779 for the Scottish Association of Mental Health (SAMH).

Also, here’s a link to our Fundraising Page, it’s still open for donations if you missed your chance.

Thank everyone so much for supporting!


Fancy a Unique Stay on The Isle of Cumbrae?…

We’ve JUST launched bookings for our One-of-a-kind Cabin Concept in Millport.

The Hive Cabin - Jack's Alt-Stays, Millport

Welcome to the next generation of self-catering accommodation in Scotland.

We think of our one-of-a-kind Cabin Concept as a crossroads where quirky interior design meets eco-consciousness, in a stunning island setting.

Bookings are now OFFICIALLY LIVE! 🚀

👉 Discover The Cabins