West Bay Discovery Centre, West Bay, Bridport, DT6 4EN.

Sustainability

Sustainability is at the heart of West Bay Discovery Centre. We try to operate in a way that is kind to the environment. We aren’t perfect and we will continue to look at ways that we can reduce our carbon emissions and energy consumption, reduce our plastic usage and encourage everyone to refill and recycle.

West Bay Discovery Centre aims to raise awareness and inspire visitors and volunteers to take action to reduce their carbon footprint, help mitigate the causes of climate change and to maintain the diversity of the wildlife and natural habitats.

We recognise the environmental impacts of tourism. We work closely with local community groups including Litter Free Coast & Seas, West Bay Beach Group, Five Things Clear ,Clean Jurassic Coast and Plastic Free Bridport to encourage our visitors to leave only footprints in the sand and help us protect our natural environment.

Our environment policy sets out the standards to be maintained and a range of future targets.

What have we already done ?

Energy

  • We purchase 100% renewable electricity and have introduced policies to monitor and control energy usage.
  • Temperature controls are carefully set to minimise energy usage, but still provide comfort for staff and visitors.
  • Lights and other equipment are only switched on only when required.
  • LED lighting has been installed. 

Waste

  • Wherever possible we avoid activities that gives rise to waste.
  • Waste from our exhibitions is minimal, many items being borrowed from the local community.
  • Paper, card, plastic bottles, glass and cans are recycled.
  • We promote local beach cleaning events and many of our volunteers take part.
  • Swapped our cleaning products for environmentally considerate ones and refilled locally to reduce plastic packaging.

Website

Our website hosting company is Krystal who we choose because of the green credentials.

Transport

  • Buses, walking and cycling are promoted on our website.

Shop

  • A significant proportion of the items stocked in our small gift shop have been produced by local craftspeople and artisans.
  • The items sold are well-made and designed and offer fair value for money for our customers.
  • We select items that are sold in minimal packaging.
  • Plastic and non-recyclable materials are avoided where possible and are being phased out.
  • All our card suppliers have now switched over to using plastic free/bio-degradable packaging.

Outside area

  • External areas are maintained without the use of artificial fertilisers or pesticides.
  • Plants are chosen that benefit birds, bees and other insects or are native to the area.

Raising awareness and changing behaviour

One of our key aims is to inspire, inform and educate our visitors and through these means raise awareness of heritage, natural history and environmental issues. Through our displays we highlight the impact of weather and climate change. We use varying ways to communicate messages in a fun way and these are designed to interest all age groups.

West Bay Discovery Centre runs frequent campaigns to inform the public about waste and related pollution issues, particularly as they impact on wildlife and marine habitats. Examples are the “Washed Ashore” and “Turning the Tide” seasonal exhibitions.

Other achievements

  • In 2021 we produced two new interactive screens one focusing on the effect of Climate Change locally and the other the steps that people can take to reduce their carbon footprint.
  • Our pop up exhibition in 2021 ‘Turning the Tide’ looking at the issues of single use plastics was seen by over 10,000 visitors and achieved a high level of public engagement.
  • Our plastic usage in the Centre was already minimal, our self-assessment checklist has been used as a model by Plastic Free Bridport to share and encourage local businesses to reduce their use of single use plastic.
  • West Bay Discovery Centre helps to support 26 local businesses and services. We focus on buying locally and supporting our local businesses.
  • Business Award – Dorset Litter Free Land Coast & Sea
  • Business Champion Plastic Free Bridport
  • Dorset Tourism Award 2021/22 Ethical, Responsible & Sustainable Award – GOLD
  • South West Tourism Award 2021/22 Ethical, Responsible & Sustainable Award – GOLD

What are we doing next?

  • Seek expert advice on how our old and listed building can generate its own renewable energy.
  • Continuing to play a lead in promoting the reduction of single use plastics in the town.
  • Developing fun activities for children and their families to encourage them to adopt more environmentally friendly behaviours.
  • Working with local organisations including Dorset Community Energy, and Dorset Climate Action Network.
  • Continue to develop our outside area for wildlife.
  • Work with Totally Local Bridport Campaign to promote and encourage our visitors and volunteers to buy from local businesses.