Spas more than any other wellness business live from clean, tranquil, and inspiring environments. Waste is certainly to be part of this picture. Yet the spa industry contributes to the generation of waste in many ways: Spa treatments, retail products, food and beverage services, and spa operations including cleaning, landscaping, pool operations, and back office administration – they all leave traces behind in form of solid waste and/or wastewater.
Solid waste impacts the environment in many ways. Improper waste disposal can directly impact the quality of ground water. Waste from disposal sites can leak into rivers and streams and in further consequence pollute ponds, lakes, and wetlands. Dumped waste blown by wind can impact surrounding flora and fauna. Coastal areas are particularly sensitive to pollution by solid waste and wastewater.
In addition to its direct impacts on the environment, waste also contributes to global warming: The transportation of waste to disposal sites produces CO2 from vehicle emissions. Anaerobic decomposition of waste in landfills produces methane, a greenhouse gas, which is said to be 72 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Incineration of waste produces carbon dioxide. The disposal of materials means that they are being replaced by new products and industrial production contributes to CO2 emissions by burning fossil fuels for energy.
Sustainable waste management practices will have to focus mainly on waste prevention, waste reduction, and recycling options. Implementing these practices will not only reduce the environmental footprint of your spa but also set a leading example for others to follow.
This GSN toolkit chapter was made possible in part through generous funding from ilike Organic Skin Care and Living Earth Crafts.