Where do you begin once your spa has decided to go green? This short list offers easy-to-implement ideas to get you started.
Want more? Check out our members-only Green Spa Toolkit for a more complete guide.
1. Install energy efficient lighting like halogen, CFL and LED light bulbs. Energy costs for lighting and air conditioning can drop dramatically. Similarly, install low-flow faucet aerators to reduce water use by up to 50% and reduce water-heating needs as well.
2. Provide skin care products free from ingredients known to pose health risks such as: parabens, petrochemicals, nanoparticles, and artificial coloring. Instead, look for products that contain natural, healthy, and ethically sourced and produced ingredients.
3. Stop selling or providing water in bottles. Bottled water produces 1.5 million tons of plastic waste per year, and requires 47 million gallons of oil per year to produce, while only 20% of plastic bottles get recycled. A better option: Make water available for use with a recycled paper cup–or better yet, a reusable container. Make a concerted effort to reduce or eliminate the use of all plastic waste.
4. Purchase unbleached (without chlorine) paper products. Paper towels, toilet paper, and many other products have excellent quality and cost-effective alternatives. Bleached paper products not only require large amounts of energy to produce, but utilize toxic chemicals that are slow to degrade in the ecosystem, negatively impacting plants, animals and people.
5. Recycle and help educate staff and guests by providing clearly labeled recycling containers. For the office – use refillable and recyclable toner or ink cartridges, rechargeable batteries.
6. Precycle – reduce waste before you buy. When making purchasing decisions, consider the packaging: choose minimally packaged goods, utilize bulk purchasing options, recycled paper, and soy ink for printing.
7. Avoid soaps and detergents that contain phosphates, which can be harmful to delicate water-based ecosystems. High levels of phosphates in water allows algae to grow unhindered, which can make lakes and rivers unsuitable for marine life and swimming, as well as contaminate municipal and domestic waste-water systems.
8. Use alternative pesticides to prevent pests naturally indoors and outdoors. This is good for people and pets and allows the natural ecosystem to still flourish. Think about using essential oils like peppermint, clove, lavender and thyme to help keep away unwanted pests.
9. Use no-VOC paints and non-toxic cleaning supplies. Paints without Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are less toxic, produce fewer odors, and are especially beneficial for clients with chemical sensitivities. Chemicals used in many cleaning products can cause irritation and illness.
10. Encourage and incentivize your staff (and even clients!) to use public transportation and carpooling. Or try biking or walking — good for the environment and you too!
Have we forgotten anything fundamental? Send us your tips or other simple steps.