Sustainability at the Cary Arms & Spa 

Our achievements so far include -  

  • A new waste management system was implemented in May 2018 reducing our waste to landfill by approximately 70%
  • Our hotel bedrooms all now have fancy new bins which are divided into two compartments, one for general waste (hopefully staying as empty as possible!) and one for recyclable items!
  • Our commitment to eliminate single use plastics has led to the following changes.
    • Replacing plastic straws with a paper option, straws are also now included only on request and not as standard. (I know, who hasn’t made this change right?)
    • No additional plastic stirrers or similar are now offered
    • We have removed all single use water bottles from the hotel. The individual water bottles provided for guests in their check out bags, to quench thirst on the journey home, have been replaced by water in aluminium cans. Aluminium cans are 5 times more likely to be recycled than plastic bottles. We aim to improve this offering in 2020, details below!
    • All our guests are provided with complimentary still and sparkling water within their bedroom. These are replenished during the daily service if required. These have previously been single use plastic or glass bottles delivered in from our suppliers. In 2019 we invested in a state of the art water filtration system which now provides mineral water quality still and sparkling water right on site from our mains supply. This water is used to fill our 100% reusable, glass Cary Arms branded bottles. With over 5,000 room nights per year this is up to 10,000 single use bottles that no longer need to be either thrown away or recycled. In addition, this has removed the carbon emissions that were previously required to ship these water bottles from manufacturer, to wholesaler, to us and then on to the waste processing site! Not to mention the fact they are some damn good looking bottles we now have for you to enjoy pouring your water from!
    • A side effect of our “fancy new bins” is that they no longer require bin bags! 5,000 room nights a year, 2 bins per unit on average, that’s 10,000 plastic bags removed from use per year!
    • Single use plastic cups have been removed from both the spa and gym, hand carved, reusable, acacia wood cup anyone?
  • We have been making our lighting more energy efficient throughout the site, although this has initially been a massive investment it is already reaping rewards. Conventional lighting is being replaced by LED and both dusk to dawn and movement sensors have been replacing the conventional on off switch wherever possible throughout the hotel
  • You’re one of the forward thinking, environment loving and carbon emission reducing crowd that now head off on holiday in your electric car? No problem, use our state of the art, Pod Point charger free of charge to get the required juice for your drive home.
  • Our new full electric moped has been added to our fleet for December 2019 in partnership with “Buzz” our new electric moped alone is estimated to take on 3 out of 4 small errands a day which previously were completed by a standard combustion engine, therefore removing approximately 2 tonnes of carbon emissions from the environment single-handedly! GO BUZZ!!
  • February 2020 will see the arrival of our new full electric Nissan ENV-200 Combi, replacing yet another petrol vehicle from our fleet, that’s 2 out of 3 vehicles now fully electric!
  • Single use and fabric slippers were previously provided to visitors to our spa. Not only were these a bit slippy around the pool but it was also over 10,000 slippers per year that were being used for no more than an hour or two on average and then thrown in the bin! We now offer super comfy rubber sandals to all guests which are collected, washed, sanitised, and reused. As a side effect a lot less people are now going on an uncontrolled slide whilst walking around the pool!
  • Our green, garden waste is now recycled on site using a simple, centuries old, system of heap rotation in unused woodland behind Rose Cottage, great for the trees and great for the environment! It was previously collected by truck and driven away for processing.
  • Our vegetarian and vegan menu is now available to all guests alongside our standard offering and has proven to be a big success, not only does this offer more choice to our guests but each plant-based meal eaten saves a bunch of resources compared to its meat based equivalent.
  • The expansion and continued establishment of our on site herb garden means that most of the herbs used by Chef in your meals and by our mixologists behind the bar are now grown on site!
  • Our partnership with, supported by Sir David Attenborough, is continuing to go from strength to strength. Not only are their delicious wines produced with sustainable and visibly reduced packaging material but £3 from every case we buy goes to a range of charities committed to reducing plastic waste from our ocean environments.


What will 2020 bring?

  • Our Chef’s are already massively committed to using the best local produce Devon has to offer but 2020 sees the launch of our very own vegetable garden. Not only will we be growing our own delicious produce for Chef to work his magic on, but the garden is also designed to provide educational opportunities to our horticultural apprentices from South Devon College and the students we welcome twice a week from Combe Pafford School. Combe Pafford School caters for pupils aged 8 - 19 who have moderate learning difficulties, physical difficulties, ASC or complex needs. Their students join us 2 days a week for up to 2 years, providing them with the grounding and experience needed to become comfortable in the workplace whilst offering a great grounding in a hands-on career that is of interest to them.
  • We will be installing and trialling an ozone water generator in 2020. Clinically proven to be more effective than bleach in killing bacteria and bugs, if successful, this unit will replace the need for standard cleaning chemicals throughout our operation. The generator turns standard water into highly effective stabilised aqueous ozone which can be used for all cleaning purposes throughout the site, in spray bottles, mop buckets and everything else that is needed! Amazingly after 24 hours the active product reverts to its original state as plain old H20 meaning no chemical by products are introduced to the environment or water system! This also means we will be removing the need for cleaning supplies to be shipped from manufacturer, to wholesaler, to us!
  • The launch of a paperless billing option for guests. At check out each guest will still be able to check through their bill and purchased items but will now be doing this by scrolling through it on an iPad. The bill can then be e-mailed direct to them for their files if required.
  • We are trialling a new range of sustainable toiletries for use within the hotel that include zero single use plastics! Compostable or recyclable paper packaging will be replacing all that horrible plastic wrap currently used in many of the complimentary items provided for our guests. Refillable dispensers for body wash and shampoo are also being trialled.
  • Our new relationship with a local brewery to produce ‘Sammy’s Ale’ is allowing us to support the RSPCA with 50p from every pint being donated to them. Sammy the Seal has been a valued member of our team for 10 years now but unfortunately both Sammy and his gang of friends have needed support from the RSPCA over the years, mostly due to issues with fishing lines, plastic waste and other problems created by us troublesome humans!
  • Early next year out guests will have the option of replacing their single use, aluminium can of water (already better than plastic!), with a branded and reusable, stainless steel, Cary Arms water bottle for their journey home for a small charge of £2.50 person. Or, they can ask for their own to be filled! These will be filled with crisp, chilled, mineral quality water from our on-site filtration system. This will remove food (water?) miles as the product will not need to be transported around before it reaches it’s final location, of course it is important that guests make sure they only choose this option if they are going to get good use out of it! The reusable bottle takes 10 times the resources to produce as the aluminium can so needs to be used at least 10 times to be more efficient!