Environmentally friendly Camino walking tours.
Here at Andaspain Walking Adventures, we do our best to provide eco-friendly Camino de Santiago Walking Tours. We value the responsibility we have as part of a wider society to address concerns of climate change and pollution. Thus, we aim to do our part to be an eco-friendly Camino company by minimizing our carbon footprint, eliminating one-time plastic use products, partnering with like-minded third party vendors, and recycling as much as possible on the trail.
Minimize Carbon Footprint
Our support Vehicle:
Our support vehicle, who is better known as Bruce, uses a substance called AdBlue. This is a specially formulated liquid injected into the exhaust system to help neutralize harmful emissions. AdBlue liquid is used to treat exhaust gases and remove harmful pollutants, including Nitrogen dioxide which is the most harmful exhaust.
AdBlue, is a registered trademark owned by the German Association of the Automobile Industry (VDA). The fluid is stored in a tank in the car, but unlike petrol or diesel it is not injected into the engine. A chemical reaction converts harmful exhaust gases into harmless nitrogen and water.
We do not entirely understand the process, but we know it is important to reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible. We promise that all future support vehicles will utilize AdBlue, if we do not go right to an electric car for our next support vehicle!
All our accommodation is carefully chosen for the quality as well as its location to the Camino. We try to use small rural farmhouses or manor houses wherever possible. These are similar to bed and breakfasts and are usually traditional houses typical of the region, run by local people.
Most of these types of accommodation do not have A/C, but use the typical Galicia cool nights and mornings to cool down the old stone homes. Do not worry, this is common practice in Galicia and should there be an extra hot day, we will provide you with some alternative cooling systems.
Should your Camino night require heating in these homes, the majority of our accommodation source their heating through ovens fulled by pellets or wood. Most of the kitchen in these homes use natural gas to prepare the food. Many have also moved to utilizing natural water resources to provide locally sourced fresh water into glass bottles. This cuts down on plastic waste.
Andaspain also uses chain hotels while we are in larger cities. All of the hotels in Spain utilize eco-friendly measures. Spain’s goal is to provide electricity through renewable sources by 2050 as part of its efforts to shift to a lower carbon economy. The country’s Paradores, state-run hotels in historic buildings such as former palaces and monasteries, have committed to become 100% green energy driven.
You will see green measures in the hotels through their reduction of plastic waste and minimizing electrical use of clients. Most chain hotels require your room key to be placed in a specific spot to allow your lights and power to turn on. This means clients do not waste resources while they are not in the room.
Most pilgrims have at least experienced one time the terrifying, yet humorous moment the light turns off in the bathroom. Most restrooms in Spain are equipped with movement-sensored lights. This ensures if no one is using the facility, the lights are not left on. They will turn off on their own. This can also mean if you don’t move enough while using the loo, you might find yourself sitting in the dark and swinging your arms trying to get the lights back on! Our advice, always check the location of the sensor before using a toilet on the Camino!
Reduce Plastic Waste
The company called AGUA KM0 is a local Spanish company that provides a service that aims to provide a clean and eco-friendly water system to private homes and to companies. We aim to partner with third party vendors that provide this eco-friendly Camino service.
The system that is installs filters tap water to remove all debris and microplastic. This means there is no need to pack water in plastic bottles. Nor do companies have to continuously restock and transport water bottles. This is not only a reduction in plastic waste but also to reduce the emission of polluting gases.
Andaspain Walking Adventures owns a bar along the Camino at KM33, TaberanNova. If you are on any of our Camino Guided Walks along the Camino Frances, you will stop into our bar for one of our VIP checkpoints. Or, if you are walking a self-guided Camino walk on the French Route, we would hope you would also come in and have a drink with us.
Here, you will find our team not serving plastic water bottles. Rather, we installed a pozo, or a deep water well. This allows the bar to access locally sourced fresh water to install the filtration system from Agua KM0. This means not only do our tours, but our home base and bar are able to minimize plastic waste and our carbon footprint on water. At TabernaNova, we also will fill your own reusable water bottle rather than purchase a plastic one-time use water bottle.
Our food is locally sourced. We chose our products from local markets and providers where we know the produce is from the region. This ensures we are cutting down on transport carbon footprints.
We have many picnic lunches together prepared by your Andaspain guide/s on the Camino. Our picnics include fresh salads and lighter options, all taking into consideration any food allergies or lifestyle choices as vegetarian, vegan, lactose-free, etc. We use local products so you are always tasting the typical foods of the area. We also ensure you are discovering any fresh vegetable and/or fruit that are in season at the time of your Camino walk.
At our picnics we provide bamboo plates and cups to minimize one time use plastic. We opt for recyclable and biodegradable trash bags and ensure we can recycle when we can. It is very important for us that one time use plastic is eliminated. We aim to have larger water bottles for pilgrims to fill their own bottle to make sure many plastic bottles are not bought and thrown along the Way.
As a tour group, we have many dinners included in the tours. And if some dinners are not included, we always make sure we provide a few recommendations; or sometimes we may even join along. We ensure we chose locations that have similar values to us and also always opt to work towards a cleaner tourism industry.
In Portomarin (on our Last 100KM tour), our groups have a dinner together at a local Casa Rural located on the banks of the River Minho. The house is entirely powered by renewable energy and our family-style dinner is all sourced from their own organic garden, even including the homemade wine and chupitos.
In Santiago de Compostela, we eat a restaurant that sources all of its own vegetables, seafood, and beef. This company has land outside of the city where they grow their produce, and depending on the time of year you are with us, you will have those seasonal veggies. They also raise their own cattle, as well as have their own fishing boats to source the local delights of Galicia.
If we do not chose this restaurant on your tour to dine at, we always eat foods from the restaurants that purchased their vegetables and meat from the local Market – Mercado de Asbastos. Most of the produce at this eco-friendly Camino market is organic and sourced within Galicia. This market is the second most visited attraction in Santiago, after the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.
Andaspain Eco-Friendly Camino Schwag
As an Andaspain pilgrim on one of our guided walking Camino tours, you will be gifted with some eco-friendly Camino schwag items from us. Without giving it all away, we make sure you have a small Andaspain bag to leave in the support van with stuff you might need throughout the day. This is always a reusable bag for you to use again at home. More recently, we moved to a more eco-friendly Camino bag made with recycled material.
We are walking!
Last, but not least, we are walking! This is always a green way to visit another country. We continue to aim to make changes, big or small, to continue to move to being a more eco-friendly Camino tour company. We are happy to have feedback or suggestions on better ways to do this. Please, contact us with any suggestions or if you would like information on our Eco-friendly Camino walking tours.
All photos by RCI Photography.