Ballintrillick Environmental Group believes that everything we do has an impact on the environment. We are committed to maintaining a high standard of environmental performance through sustainable actions, we will ensure this through an annual review of the environmental impact of the business conducted by The Benwiskin Centre. We will ensure that we maintain high eco-tourism standards and we have achieved EU Flower Ecolabel certification. This European Eco-label is a guarantee of high environmental performance.
The Benwiskin Centre aims to be proactive in implementing best environmentally friendly practices.
This aim will be met by achieving the following objectives:
In July 2008, the Benwiskin Centre was awarded the EU Flower Ecolabel Certification in recognition of their 'Green' approach to their services from the European Commission under the Tourist Accommodation category.
The EU Flower Ecolabel is a unique certification scheme, established in 1992, aimed to help European consumers distinguish greener, more environmentally friendly, products and services.
Over the past ten years, the "EU Flower Ecolabel" has become a European-wide symbol for products, providing simple and accurate guidance to consumers.
All products bearing the "EU Flower Ecolabel" have been checked by independent bodies for complying with strict ecological and performance criteria. The EU Flower Ecolabel is a recognised environmental quality mark across the countries of the EU and the award of the label is independently verified and endorsed by the European Commission.
The EU Flower Ecolabel Certification is another step in The Group’s green efforts. In the past year the Group has installed a Wood Pellet Boiler and Solar Panels at The Centre. With this combination they hope to be completely independent of fossil fuels in the near future.
Other environmentally sound measures put in place to receive the EU Flower Ecolabel Certification included recycling of waste, composting, harvesting of rain water, use of energy efficient light-bulbs, use of environmentally friendly cleaning products and the provision of a bicycle hire service for guests.
The Centre is liberally supplied with information and advice for guests to encourage actions that promote and continue these measures.
Jackie Warnock, Manager of The Benwiskin Centre said, ”The EU Flower Ecolabel award is a great achievement for BEG and the Staff at The Benwiskin Centre who have implemented the measures and believe in encouraging responsible tourism.”
Reducing the Benwiskin Centre’s Carbon Footprint
By Noreen Duignan, Group member
Since the foundation of BEG back in 1992, our consistent aim has been the enhancement and preservation of the environment. We have been very faithful to our aims over the years, particularly in our continued annual clean-ups of the locality. Combined with this, we have developed the Mill Site in The Gleniff Horseshoe as an amenity area with walks, picnic area and restoration of the stables on the site. Over the years we have planted hardwood trees, while at The Benwiskin Centre we are currently running our 12th year of our community garden.
Participants of this project learn all about organic gardening from the digging stage to the final cooking of the vegetables and fruit.
At the Centre we operate a reduce, re-use and recycle policy. As an extension of our efforts to preserve and enhance the environment, we have installed solar panels with the purpose of eventually eliminating our need for oil thereby using natural energy and easing our dependence on fossil fuels.
The Benwiskin Centre was listed at number 1 in the ‘Top Five Green Hostels in Europe’ in an article written by Catherine Mack for the National Geographic’s Traveller Magazine.
Catherine Mack is an accomplished Journalist and freelance travel writer who is also an Ethical Traveller. Catherine is a passionate advocate of responsible tourism. Also in the top 5 were places in Crete, England, Southern Norway and Scotland. Catherine said about The Benwiskin Centre:
“Hire bikes and discover some of Ireland’s wildest and wettest valleys while staying at the Centre in the foothills of The Dartry Mountains. In the shadow of Benwiskin Peak, it features bunk rooms sleeping four and eight, plus a family room – all heated by solar panels and wood pellet boiler.“