GREEN TIP OF THE MONTH
Creating a more sustainable Christmas is simple, but many people still do not recognize the importance of the contribution of some ideas for sustainability. To prepare your meals you can make several sustainable choices such as to give preference to national or regional products, with little packaging, purchased from the local market and, if possible, of biological origin. To wrap presents, replace the usual wrapping paper for sustainable and more environmentally friendly wrapping, as patchwork fabrics, wall paper scraps, recycle paper or card boxes. Some of these packages can also be colored and decorated with children’s drawings and decorate with other elements that can be recycled / reused. These ideas allows to create unique and custom packages, family moments of creativity and at the same time promotes waste reuse and reduces production of more waste. Let us all contribute to a more sustainable Christmas!
In November starts the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference – 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21), the annual meeting of all countries which want to take action for the climate (
). The conference main objectives are: establish a new international climate agreement to reduce greenhouse gases emissions and global warming, to keep global warming below 2°C by 2100 and propose measures to adapt to changes taking place – drought, floods and rising sea level (
Aware that the contribution of all of us in our daily actions at home or work makes a difference, it always useful to remember some simple actions that can make a difference:
(1) Turn off the unnecessary lights;
(2) Use blinds to manage the light and temperature of a space;
(3) Properly adjust the temperature of the air conditioner and turn it off where not needed;
(4) Whenever possible prefer stairs instead of the elevator;
(5) Reduce the number of impressions and whenever possible, prefer the save ink mode, print double-sided and in draft mode;
(6) Prefer paper with lower grammage and, where possible, recycled;
(7) Turn off the computer and monitor after each use;
(8) Forward, whenever possible, appropriate documents in electronic form as an alternative to hard copy;
(9) Activate the power saving mode of your computer;
(10) Replace incandescent bulbs by compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), although more expensive the LFC worth the investment;
(11) Choose class A (A, A + or A ++) cooling equipments;
(12) Insulate doors and windows and opt for double glasses;
(13) Reduce the laundry washing temperature and use the maximum load;
(14) Disconnect the devices / equipment of the plug – do not leave them on stand-by;
(15) Choose equipment with Energy Star label, which have better energy performance;
(16) Unplug the cell phone as soon it is loaded, among others;
(17) Prefer products with less packaging and rechargeable;
(18) Avoid waste: (i) in the kitchen use creativity to take advantage of leftovers and buy only the necessary products/quantities; (ii) offer toys and clothes no longer in use;
(19) Opt for public transportation whenever possible;
(20) Control the car air conditioning: when travel on the road opts for the opening of windows and on the highway prefer the entry of air through the fans. (Source: Guia Dia-a-Dia Carbono Zero. Caixa Geral de Depósitos, 2012)
World Food Day 2015 will take place on October 16 with the theme “Social Protection and agriculture: breaking the cycle of rural poverty” (
). The initiative aims to evolve the Zero Hunger Generation, to the challenge of implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which has the objective to end hunger and poverty in the next 15 years.
Alongside this scourge numbers of food waste speak for themselves (
• Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted.
• Every year, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food (222 million tonnes) as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tonnes).
• The amount of food lost or wasted every year is equivalent to more than half of the world’s annual cereals crop (2.3 billion tonnes in 2009/2010).
Food loss and waste also amount to a major squandering of resources, including water, land, energy, labour and capital and needlessly produce greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to global warming and climate change.
Join this cause and in your daily life avoid food waste.
September is the returning month from vacations, the beginning of a new year with renewed energies and the perfect time to put vacation plans into action.
We want to take this opportunity to adhere to the European Mobility Week and Car Free Day initiative theme for this year: “Choose. Change. Combine. “[
]. The initiative, which is celebrated from 16 to 22 September, promotes multimodality and aims to raise people’s awareness for the the range of transport options available and the best way of combining with each other, instead of always driving by car. We leave a video of the project “Do The Right Mix” [
], which this year also joined this initiative and extends to the entire year.
We also would like to challenge you to rethink your mobility routine by using (complementary) car alternatives. Meanwhile, during your stay at Areias do Seixo, we have available traditional and electric bicycles that allow you to discover our surroundings.
This typically vacation month, we propose some tips for more sustainable vacations:
– Visit destinations with conservation value, such as natural parks and devote yourself to nature tourism but do not forget: observe the natural / wild life without interfering and disturbing the natural dynamics. Enjoy, participate and contribute in local conservation projects;
– Plan your trip in advance and learn as much as possible about your destination in order to make the most enriching trip: the parks and natural resources of the area, local culture and the essential habits of the population;
– Travel light and limit your packaging;
– If possible explore the idea of traveling in alternative ways to car or plain, for example by train or bicycle, which allow to know in detail the chosen destination and reduce the carbon footprint associated with travel;
– Avoid buying souvenirs made from protected and/or endangered species;
– Enjoy your holiday meals, experience local dishes and choose in season local ingredients;
– Do not forget: even on vacation save water, electricity, reduce waste and make selective separation;
– In your summer activities save in plastic water bottles and keep filling your own reusable water bottle;
– Relax and try to detach from all of your electronic devices. Do not forget to unplug your equipment from power when you are not using them. Be careful about vampire energy consumption.
We wish you a relaxing and sustainable vacation!
Sources: IUCN (
It is expected that by 2030 the demand for water will exceed 40% of viable resources if consumption patterns remain (business as usual). Some numbers are informative about the world situation in terms of water availability: About 1 billion people lack access to clean water; 1.2 billion people live in areas of physical scarcity and 500 million people are approaching this situation. Examples of measures already being taken by some countries to address water scarcity: Britain has opened a desalination plant to tackle water shortages and Brazil has had to implement water rationing. Clean drinking water is scarce. Up to 30% of fresh water supplies are lost due to leakage in developed countries and in some major cities losses can reach 40% to 70%.
The behavior of each one of us makes a difference! We left some tips for a more rational use of water:
• Close the taps to prevent leakage;
• Repair immediately any leak (a leak can waste several thousand liters of water per year);
• Use flow reducers in all taps and showers to reduce consumption;
• When hand-washing dishes, do not use run water continuously;
• Use the dishwasher with full loads;
• Adjust the time and amount of water used in irrigation accordingly to weather conditions.
• When cleaning the teeth, close the faucet while brushing your teeth and save about 15 liters of water per minute (about 750 liters per week for a family of 4);
• When hand washing, close the tap while soaping hands;
• Cook foods in as little water as possible: save water and help retain nutrients;
• Collect the water you use while rinsing fruit and vegetables and use it to water house plants;
• Take 5-minute showers instead of baths. A full bathtub requires up to 260 liters of water:
• Teach children to turn off faucets tightly after each use.
The plastic impact on global ecosystems is increasing.
A recent study found that there are over 5 trillion plastic objects in the ocean, most of them deriving from food and drink packaging and from clothing. It is estimated that about 10 to 20 million tons of plastic are annually forwarded to the oceans, with a consequent annual cost of 13 billion USD in terms of environmental damage to marine ecosystems.
The larger pieces can strangle or entangle marine organisms. On the other hand, micro-parts can be ingested by aquatic organisms, thereby entering the food chain and evolving to humans, who feed on these organisms. Furthermore, the plastic contains various chemicals and when in an aquatic environment have the ability to attract pollutants. Plastics travel over the oceans with currents so that today there are few sites worldwide that are not polluted with this material.
Annually about 280 million tons of plastic are produced globally, with a small fraction recycled. Data indicate that globally, about 85% of plastic waste is not recycled. Areias do Seixo are aware of this issue, implementing measures to reduce the plastic footprint. The waste management policy is based primarily on the prevention of plastic materials production, reuse wherever possible/appropriate and selective separation and subsequent recycling of plastic. The purchasing policy of Areias do Seixo also includes criteria that contribute to the reduction of plastic footprint.
Having regard to the recognized advantages that plastic has on our daily life, the challenge we leave you this month includes reviewing how to reduce the plastic footprint of each of us: 1 – Reduce consumption of plastic in daily activities and 2 – Separate / recycle plastic inevitably consumed / used.
· UNEP (2014) Valuing Plastics: The Business Case for Measuring, Managing and Disclosing Plastic Use in the Consumer Goods Industry.
Have you seen our organic garden? We invite you to experience our garden based on the sustainable principle of permaculture: through a guided tour with our farmers, participation in a ”hands on earth” activity or through our latest video “Areias do Seixo Permaculture” –
watch the video
The garden is a central element in our sustainability policy, allowing the operation of our sustainable cycle that begins with the forwarding of the organic waste fraction produced at our restaurant for the composting plant we have in Areias do Seixo; the use of the produced compost (without fertilizers or chemical additives) in the organic garden; and the use of the obtained cultures in our restaurant seasonal menu.
Our garden provides vegetables (radishes, carrots, lettuce, cabbage,…), herbs (coriander, parsley, chives, gardener, among many others), fruits (strawberries, plums,…) and many other ingredients like edible flowers and berries, which provide a range of diversity and creativity to the menu. In addition to our organic products the restaurant also uses in its menu other organic products created locally. We are also starting the production of our own organic seeds, in order to increment the percentage of organic products created in our garden in the hotel restaurant menu. Make an appointment and come see our “edible forest”!
Freshwater is a scarce resource and demand is growing. The water footprint of humanity has exceeded sustainable levels at several places.
People use water for drinking, cooking, washing and even more for producing goods and services consumed by all of us (food, paper, cotton clothes, etc.).
Did you know that:
• 16000 litres of water are needed to produce 1 kg of beef, quantidade muito superior à necessária para a produção da mesma quantidade de carne de galinha/frango, porco ou carneiro?
• 10000 litres of water are needed to produce 1 kg of cotton (one cotton shirt of 250 gram needs about 2500 litres of water)?
• 18900 litres of water are needed to produce 1 kg of roasted coffee (a cup of coffee (125 ml) which require 7 gram of roasted coffee, needs 130 litres of water)?
• Every year, some 247 000 million m3 are extracted from ground and surface water sources (streams, lakes and rivers) in the EU .
The water footprint is an indicator of water use and includes both direct and indirect water use of a consumer or producer. The water footprint is defined as the total volume of freshwater that is used to produce the goods and services consumed by the individual or community or produced by the business.
Average water footprint of Portugal is 2505 m³/yr per capita (the global average water footprint for comparison is 1385 m³/yr per capita) and 59,9 %of this footprint falls outside of the country (due to imported products).
All of us as consumers can play an active role in reducing the countries’ water footprint, by reducing our own footprint. The direct water footprint (home water use) by installing water saving toilets, closing the tap during teeth brushing, using less water in the garden and by not disposing medicines, paints or other pollutants through the sink. The indirect water footprint of a consumer is generally much larger than the direct one. Some reduction options can include the substitution of a product that has a large water footprint by a different type of product that has a smaller water footprint.
Since 2012 that water consumption at Areias do Seixo have been decreasing, accompanied by an increase in the number of daily. Since construction, we have been adopting several measures that contribute to this situation, namely:
• A system to capture, reuse and routing rainwater, excess water from irrigation, well and spring water, to supply the hotel irrigation area and organic garden ;
• Insertion of flow reducers (6 l/min) at every point of water, with the exception of showers of the rooms;
• Sanitary flushes equipped with water-saving valves;
• Monitoring of water consumption by the automation and multimedia application;
• Domestic effluents are discharged in the municipal collector for treatment.
Calculate your own water footprint and get to more information on this issue at:
The society we live in is characterized by exponential consumption of valuable and finite resources and the significant production of waste, which in many cases are still raw materials with value which can have prolonged use. Sustainable and responsible procurement helps to reduce this trend: small actions taken daily by each of us make a difference in the transition to a waste free economy. At the time of shopping remember:
1- think before you buy
2 – buy Local
3- buy recycled
4 – buy products with less packaging
5 – buy biodegradable cleaning products
6 – buy efficient electrical devices
In March spring arrives and with it the most varied and fresh fruit such as strawberries. Put into practice some of these principles when, for example, you think of buying strawberries: see the source, the amount you need and the type of packaging: buy locally sourced strawberries to reduce the environmental footprint, buy the quantity that you will actually consume to avoid waste and buy in bulk to avoid the production of packaging that will generate waste.
Areias do Seixo have a sustainable procurement policy. We invite you to learn more about it!
The European Commission launched in early 2015 a set of energy efficiency measures to achieve energy savings in European households. The measures came into effect on 1 January 2015 and cover the inclusion of energy labels in cooking appliances like ovens, automatic standby for coffee machines, printers, modems and other network devices, among others .
Since 2011 the electricity consumption at Areias do Seixo have been decreasing, accompanied by an increase in the number of room nights. We have been adopting several measures that contribute to this situation, including a LED based lighting system, investment in additional photovoltaic panels that produce energy for consumption in unity and awareness and engagement of our employees for a sustainable action in the performance of their duties at the hotel. We will continue to implement measures that improve energy efficiency and electricity savings at the unit. We count on our employees and guests to achieve this goal.
 More information on:
Accordingly to the Guardian, readers identified the circular economy as one of the hottest sustainability topics for 2015 and it should be on the agenda of each of us!
The current economy based on a linear model of business is threatened due to the scarcity of natural resources, imposing the transition to a restorative or regenerative economy and to ensure the efficient use of natural resources as an alternative to the concept of ” ‘end-of-life’ – i.e., to maintain the raw materials and products in a production cycle for as long as possible, making industry less dependent on natural resources. Includes the transition to the use of renewable energy, elimination of the use of toxic chemicals, and the elimination of waste through the design of materials, products and systems. Recent figures indicate that the transition to a circular economy can save about $ 500m (£ 296m) in materials, create 100,000 jobs and prevent the production of about 100m tonnes of waste over the next five years . There are several examples of companies worldwide that are developing the transition to a circular economy and opening a wide possibility in the reuse of materials and disposal of waste (the elimination of product packaging, the use of coffee residues in food, and other examples) .
Areias do Seixo joined this concept and launched in 2015 the challenge of zero waste to landfill. Besides this goal, our waste management policy since early, sets as priorities the prevention of waste production and whenever possible the reuse of materials, as is the case of materials that could be considered waste but we use in decorative items (see October tip related to the upcycling concept). We invite you to explore this concept!
 Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Towards the circular economy. Economic and business rationale for an accelerated transition. 2013
 The Guardian [http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/series/circular-economy] (Consulted on January 2015).
Creating a more sustainable Christmas is the challenge for this year. There are a lot of ideas to explore: to prepare your meals you can make several sustainable choices such as to give preference to national or regional products, with little packaging, purchased from the local market and, if possible, of biological origin. Another ideia for a more sustainable Christmas, is to replace the usual wrapping paper for sustainable and more environmentally friendly wrapping, for example, you can use the saved patchwork fabrics, clothing or even wall paper scraps, recycle paper or card boxes and ask the children to color and decorate with other elements that can be recycled / reused. Alternatively, you can buy recycled paper rolls in plain colors and decorate with buttons, felt, beads, designs, leaves, …
The European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR) will be held between 22 and 30 of November, a European initiative aiming to raise public awareness to waste issues, reinforcing the need to prevent its production. There are several actions that can be taken on a daily basis aimed at the prevention of waste, some examples of these actions are the use of long-lasting products as an alternative to disposable ones, combat food waste by choosing products with a closest expiration date, give a second life to clothes that you no longer use by donating them to organizations or charities instead of being sent to the trash, reuse and fix electrical and electronic equipment . Areias do Seixo’s waste management policy is based on a first phase in the prevention / reduction of production, being made bulk purchases for the prevention of waste generation, communication is performed without paper, using instead electronic media or written messages in slate, packaging from suppliers are reused for many uses whenever possible, it is made selective separation of all waste produced in the hotel, highlighting the use of organic waste for the composting system on the property. These are just some examples. We invite you to learn more about the waste management policy in Areias do Seixo and find inspiration for your daily life: be creative and contribute to a world with less waste! Source: www.apambiente.pt
Have you heard about the upcycling concept?
Upcycling: “is the process of turning waste materials into new products or products of higher value” ; “it’s recycling but with a difference: turning junk into highly desirable pieces.” ; “keep valuable materials in continuous use and reuse cycles”; “the improvement of product quality from one cycle of use to the next” .
There are several examples of the upcycling concept, which is an international trend boosting an economy segment, with an increasing number of companies from different economic sectors working on this concept: fashion industry has been starting to reuse textile waste in the production of new fashion clothes, with design. The Patagonia – the outdoor retailer – has a programme turning plastic bottles into fleece jackets , .
Other sector includes the production of upcycled furniture, decorating lamps and other object from waste materials. At other level, a recent example of this concept comes from an airline (Southwest Airlines) that decided to remodel the seats of the aircrafts, replace it by a new lighter and more eco-friendly material. The leather replacement left Southwest with the responsibility to find the solution/final destination for the about 80 000 pieces of leather. Instead of threat these material as a waste, the company joined the international upcycling trend and turn the leather material into backpack, footballs, and other products , .
The upcycling concept was present since the conception of the project Areias do Seixo and accompanies us daily, challenging us to find new uses/solutions for still valuable materials/products. Examples such as outdoor lighting provided by lamps made from leftover plumbing pipes and reuse of materials damaged in the storm that lashed the Western region on 23 December 2009, namely reusing the gcadmins to form the “fire circle”, the trunks were used in the pavement. Also we used the trunks to the floor of the greenhouse.
Get to know more upcycling examples at Areias do Seixo and become an “upcycler” … all it takes is some imagination!
 Forbes, by Peter Kelly-Detwiler, 31/7/2014 | http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterdetwiler/2014/07/31/with-operation-luvseat-southwest-airlines-plans-to-upcycle-43-acres-of-used-seat-leather/
 The Guardian, by Charlotte Abrahams, 27/6/2009 | http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2009/jun/27/finders-keepers-furniture-recycling
 Guardian Professional, by William McDonough, 6/12/2013 | http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/upcycle-economic-growth-innovation
 The Guardian, by Elisabeth Braw, 15/7/2014 | http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/southwest-airlines-upcycle-leather-seats-aeroplane-bags-shoes-balls?CMP=new_1194)
 Forbes, by Peter Kelly-Detwiler, 31/7/2014 | http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterdetwiler/2014/07/31/with-operation-luvseat-southwest-airlines-plans-to-upcycle-43-acres-of-used-seat-leather/
“Our streets, our choice” is the theme of the European Mobility Week 2014, which takes place from 16 to 22 of September. This theme encourages people to create the kind of ideal city that they want to live in. Join this movement in your city or while staying in Areias do Seixo. In addition to the traditional bikes, electric bikes are also available to enjoy long pleasant walks in the hotel surroundings. Also Torres Vedras and Santa Cruz has already joined the urban bicycles. In these locations a public system of bicycles for universal use is available – named ” Agostinhas”.
To enjoy your holidays and stay we sugest a nice walk to know Areias do Seixo natural surroundings . Complement this experience seeing our documentary “Areias do Seixo by Nature” about the fauna and flora that existes in our surroundings. Come discover… but remember that we operate in a natural area with protected species and habitats and as such, we should no interfere and just take pictures and sensations as a souvenir: enjoy the sea breeze, the smell of the sea, the sound of the waves, the fine sand at your feet, the chirping of birds and the still untouched trails to discover… it’s unforgettable!
…Do you know what is Vampire Energy?
Devices like televisions, microwaves, scanners, and printers use standby power, even when off. Some chargers continue to pull small amounts of energy, even when plugged in (a good judge of this is if a charger feels warm to the touch). Studies have found that vampire energy loads account for 5-10% of the total electricity in residential homes and accounts for about 1% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. (http://www.green.harvard.edu/)
In the month that celebrates World Environment Day, we invite you to join a more sustainable lifestyle. This year’s World Environment Day (June 5) is devoted to small islands, endangered by the rising of sea level due to climate change and greenhouse gases emissions, notably carbon dioxide (CO2) mainly produced by human activities. In Areias do Seixo, we aim to continuously reduce our carbon footprint through the adoption of energy efficiency measures, low energy lighting and use of renewable sources such as photovoltaic panels and solar panels. Join Areias do Seixo in the contribution to a more sustainable planet by adopting daily actions that reduce your carbon footprint and don´t forget ….share this idea!
Measures implemented in Areias do Seixo aimed at reducing the ecological footprint by focusing on a rational use of resources and wherever possible reduction measures at source. In energetic terms the Hotel has installed photovoltaic panels that produce energy used in the hotel, solar panels for hot water production, LED / low consumption lighting inside and outside the unit, monitoring and management of consumption through an automation system. We invite you to learn in detail about the Hotel’s energy footprint reduction program.
About 50% of edible and healthy food is wasted each year in the EU, in homes, supermarkets, restaurants and along the food supply chain, while 79 million EU citizens live below the poverty line and 16 million depend on food aid charities. Hotels and restaurants are intrinsically associated to this subject. Increasingly initiatives to reduce food waste in these sectors are created. Get involved and learn about sustainable practices of Areias do Seixo to prevent food waste: sustainable procurement, sustainable management of the garden that supplies the restaurant with fruits and vegetables, routing of leftovers for the hotel compost unit and routing of healthy leftovers, produced in events, for Lisbon homeless.
There’s nothing like waking up on a spring morning and heading out to the garden to harvest fresh vegetables and aromatics herbs. Areias do Seixo invites guests to visit our organic garden participating in our agriculture activities. Feel the Earth with your hands!
Buying locally grown, in-season produce is a healthy and delicious way to reduce your carbon footprint and reduce air pollution associated with transportation.
Areias do Seixo has an organic garden that provides guests and staff with fresh, in-season and locally fruits and vegetables. Besides that, Areias do Seixo buys the majority of the food from local suppliers.
In 2011, 34% of energy sources used in Areias do Seixo are renewable, which allows avoiding the emission of about 7.8 tonnes of CO2 annually.
This is is a syndicated post. Read the original at www.areiasdoseixo.com