Pure nature is everything to us here at Aurora Holidays. That is why we want to do our part of protecting what is precious to us. Green thinking is our way of living and two years ago we started seriously implementing steps towards greener business too. Here is how our green journey started two years ago:
-> Less waste! We started collecting recyclable bottles and deliver them back to the stores. We stopped using disposable seat covers for sauna and now only use washable fabric seat covers. We do not use disposable cups, plates or cutlery either.
-> Yes to recycling! In 2018 we got extra recycling bins for glass, metal and paper. We also placed a recycling box for used batteries in every cottage. It is our responsibility to take care of the recyclables and deliver them to local recycling containers.
-> Sustainability! Instead of using disposable cutlery we switched to re-useable and washable plates and cups on all our tours and hikes. And that’s not all! Those products are partly made of recycled materials right here in Finland.
-> Go organic! We have started to test biodegradable shampoos and household cleaning soaps, which are made in Finland. We want to support domestic organic companies by buying their environmentally friendly products. We also want to make sure that the products we use are not harmful to nature, animals or humans in any part of the manufacturing process, or afterwards in use.
We think every step counts on this journey and as we trying to be as transparent as possible, we want to give you an update of the measures we have taken towards our goal.
Our primary actions were to reduce waste, recycle more, go more organic with chemicals and invest in sustainability. Recycling and waste reduction goes hand in hand. The more possibilities we give to our guests to recycle, the less waste ends up in trash bins. Using sustainable gear and tools (like cutlery and cups) on our tours has the same effect and it means zero disposable cutlery waste. We have replaced normal household cleaning products with eco-friendly and organic products by Saaren Taika. Their products have been so good that we want to share their greatness with you!
Eco-friendly cleaning with Saaren Taika and product samples
We are still happy users of the lovely soap products of Saaren Taika (“The magic of the Island”). Saaren Taika is a Finnish company from South Finland producing handmade, environmentally friendly, cruelty free, vegan and 100% biodegradable cleaning products made from natural ingredients. We wanted to support their work because they share our passion to protect our beautiful nature. They have also started from small, like us, and have been able to expand their business by working hard with what they love.
Our team´s personal favourites at the moment are the tea tree oil soap for body and hands, grapefruit shampoo bar and the citrus cleaning soap for household cleaning. All soap products are wrapped in unbleached paper, which can be recycled afterwards. We also love and use their laundry vinegar as a softener. They have many more products that we haven’t mentioned here!
During the last two seasons every guest was given samples of Saaren Taika hand soap, hair shampoo bar and hair conditioner bar. The cottage cleaning was done with Saaren Taika cleaning soap. All scents (citrus, grapefruit, tea tree) are fresh & natural, but not too strong. We do not only provide samples of these products to our guests, we also sell them as souvenirs. We know from experience that the soap bars are very handy for travellers to use since they are light to carry, don´t contain liquids and can be put into the hand luggage. So far some of the products have travelled with us around Finland, to Germany, Norway and remote wilderness areas while hiking. And now pay attention, here comes a tip: These soaps are a great idea as a gift or souvenir for a travelling friend or family member.
The Aurora Holidays Restaurant is sustainable & green too
As many of you already know, we opened the Aurora Holidays restaurant here in Utsjoki at the end of last year. Our very own on-site restaurant providing our guests with a taste of Lapland during their stay with us. Naturally, we wanted the restaurant to follow the same green mission that we have already put in place for the rest of the business and here are some ways of how we are doing exactly that.
Local & seasonal ingredients
The Aurora Holidays Restaurant uses as many local and seasonal ingredients as possible in order to limit the environmental impact. Our menu is designed in a way that features local meat and fish with seasonal sides. We took seasonal changes and availability into account when we put together our menu. Many of our starters and sides change not only based on the season, but weekly depending on what we have available in the kitchen. Minimizing food waste is as important to us as serving up high-quality, delicious food.
We say no to farmed salmon! At the Aurora Holidays restaurant we only serve wild salmon caught in the Teno river, right here in Utsjoki. All the reindeer dishes that we serve are made from our very own reindeer herd. The reindeer spend their lives outside in the Arctic wilderness, grazing on berries, lichen and mushrooms. So you always know exactly where you reindeer meat comes from.
Many of our desserts and sweet treats include berries from the Utsjoki area, often hand-picked by us. We also use our very own rhubarb harvest from a plant that Tiina, the owner of Aurora Holidays has brought with her on her move from Turku to Utsjoki over 15 years ago.
Always striving to minimise waste
We have implemented a number of measures in order to minimize waste at our restaurant.
We don’t sell plastic water bottles. When you’re dining at the Aurora Holidays restaurant we serve you a glass jug of fresh tap water. The tap water here in Utsjoki is some of the cleanest in the world and perfectly safe to drink. We also offer guests the option to fill up their own reusable water bottles at the restaurant or their cottages. Anyone who doesn’t have their own re-useable water bottle already can buy them in-house.
No plastic straws! Many of our drinks are served without straw, but for the drinks that require a straw or should someone request one: we have environmentally friendly paper straws.
Restaurant Aurora Holidays is saving energy with a modern heating system
When we started planning the new restaurant, we wanted to make sure that we implement as many sustainable & environmentally-friendly elements as possible – so we have chosen geothermal heating instead of electric heating to warm up the new building. And why do we think this choice is better than electric heating? One big advantage of the new system is a much lower energy consumption level, which means up to 20-50% less energy being consumed compared to conventional heating. In the land of the coldest winters it will be worth it. We also have plans to replace the old heating system in our cottages to geothermal, in order to save even more energy.
Transport: Reducing our CO2 Footprint
Big changes are not always easy and quick to implement, they take time, but we have chosen to take several small steps and keep on doing that every year. A fact is that we need to drive a lot because of the long distances here in Lapland.
What we can do is to limit the transportation to necessary travel only and avoid extra driving. Our holiday packages are from Tuesday to Sunday, which means also less driving to the airport during the week. We also encourage people to book the same flights, which means we can pick up everyone in the same transport and avoid driving multiple times per day.
We do not drive after Northern lights if the sky is clear at the cottages. If needed we take people to food markets during tours, when we are already on the road for some other reason or activity. We have made our own hiking trail starting from the cottages that we don´t need to drive elsewhere for snowshoeing.
Enjoy & respect nature: Sustainable Lapland holiday in your very own cottage
We believe in the power of setting examples. We also know that both our habits and common ways to do things in Finland may be different from many other countries.
Spending your holiday in a cottage is a little different from the set-up that hotel rooms provide. So upon arrival we provide our guests with a bunch of helpful tips and information on how to have a fun and safe holiday here in Lapland while also protecting the environment. Here are some examples:
We provide our guests with re-usable bags, which they can use when going shopping in the grocery stores. Re-usable bags save money and avoid waste.
In the cottages we show our guests how to adjust the radiators to regulate the temperature rather than keeping the windows open and letting all the warm air escape.
We try to minimize waste by using only re-usable cutlery and cups on our tours. These products are made in Finland with sustainability and the environment in mind. They are easy to clean, hygienic and long-lasting. Many of our guests have loved them so much, that they have treated themselves to a cup as a souvenir from our gift shop.
Unlike at traditional hotels, our guests will get only one set of towels during their stay to save water and energy. Should someone require more towels for any reason, we of course help out. But over the years we have found that most people are more than happy with the amount of towels they are given.
Recycling is something we don’t just do as a business, but we also pass this on to our guests and help them to recycle as much as possible (cardboard, paper, glass, metal, bottles, jars) into given recycling bins at the yard.
We encourage people to buy local handicrafts, which are mostly made of wood, bone, wool, paper or other natural ingredients – rather than buying industrially produced souvenirs made elsewhere. This supports local artists and economy, as well as minimising the transport of goods around the world.
We want to make sure we co-operate with companies that also value green ideology. We continue co-operating with Winter Wear Finland. They are a winter clothing rental company based in Helsinki Airport. Instead of buying winter clothes you never need again, you can rent them. On top of that, you can get a discount code from us! We support domestic small businesses by buying their products to sale.