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Go Green Without Going Broke

September 28, 2012 | 6:44 AM
If your spa is built on a philosophy centered around wellness, you may have incorporated some earth-friendly elements into your decor, design or daily practices—or at least you might like to. But are you out of luck if you can't afford a complete overhaul? Plus, does going green always mean less, ahem, green in your registers at the end of the day? Not at all. Owners and spa directors across the country are incorporating simple and inexpensive methods to make their spas more environmentally friendly on a daily basis.

H2Options

Between daily laundry, pedicure footbaths, rainforest showers in the locker rooms and sinks in the treatment rooms, gallons upon gallons of water are being used in your spa every day. Fortunately, there are ways you can cut back—and your clients may want to as well. At the Avanyu Spa at the Snake River Lodge in Teton Village, Wyoming, clients share the responsibility of reducing water and energy waste, with very positive results. "Our facility has taken steps to conserve resources by introducing the 'Power of Place' campaign," says Anthony Accamando, spa manager. "Our property asks guests to be conscious of the resources that they choose to enjoy. Guests feel an immediate contribution to the goal at hand by choosing to need less in an attempt to help conserve—using fewer towels, not 'letting the water run,' declining turndown service and more."

In Knoxville, Tennessee, the Natural Alternatives Salon and Spas have always had an attitude of conserving natural resources—however, due to the severe drought throughout the Southeast in 2007, this effort has been taken to the next level. "We introduced a new initiative to conserve water," says Kitty Siegel, vice president of sales. "It's everything, from using less water when washing out the color bowls to installing front-load washers because they use less water. It's really about mindfulness of how much water we use."

Simple Green
Quick environmental tips you can incorporate today
“We use products with no parabens that are natural and vegan friendly. We also use natural biodegradable cleaning products so there isn’t a harsh chemical being used in the spa.”
-Angela Androtti, spa director, Spa Le Merigot,
Santa Monica, California
“For applying hair color, we use high-quality, reusable Matador gloves instead of using disposable latex gloves.”
-Kitty Siegel, vice president of sales, Natural Alternatives Salon and Spa, Knoxville, Tennessee
“We have decided to return to the use of non-disposable slippers and began to use non-disposable cups to serve beverages to our guests.”
-Anthony Accamando, spa manager, The Avanyu Spa at Snake River Lodge, Teton Village, Wyoming
“We are a large business with 150 employees, and with that number, we have a lot of turnover. So, we are trying to improve our record keeping so that we use less paper. When someone leaves, we take all their information and records and burn it onto a disc so that we don’t have to print it out.”
-Inez Gray, founder, Habitude Salon and Spas,
Seattle, Washington

“We have discontinued offering individually canned soft drinks altogether as they are disempowering to one’s health, and we also do not hand out individually bottled water. We now place covered pitchers of fresh water on our two beverage carts and also add fresh fruits to the water to add a special flavor. We offer fresh juices and hot and cold teas, and serve everything in glassware.”
-Laura M. Souter, owner, Atelier Rouge Hair and Body Retreat, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Another easy way to cut down on water consumption: "We use low-pressure shower heads to conserve water," says Angela Androtti, spa director of Spa Le Merigot in Santa Monica, California.

eco-retail

Making your spa more environmentally friendly doesn't always mean cutting back or eliminating things—in the case of Habitude Salon and Spas in Seattle, Washington, it can mean some very welcome—and profit-boosting—additions. In November, their locations launched Offerings, new eco-boutiques selling fair-trade wares from around the world. "We are an Aveda salon and committed to the green concepts, and I wanted to take it to the next level," says owner Inez Gray. "We tell a story with each item on a counter card to explain what it is and where it's from. For the holidays, we decorated all our trees with little gourds shaped like animals from a community in Peru. We also have a lot of pottery from Mexico, created by the native people." In addition, the spa will be the first retailer to carry greeting cards from Positively Green, a company that offers an earth-friendly tip on the back of each card and donates 10 percent of profits to environmental causes.

paper and plastic

With all the paper, boxes and bottles that come with running your business, the back rooms and offices of your spa may resemble a giant recycling bin—which is fine, as long as you do actually recycle the excess. "Our salon manager collects old magazines and papers and takes them home to recycle on a regular basis," says Laura M. Souter, owner of Atelier Rouge Hair and Body Retreat in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

"We are now beginning to collect all of the color boxes, plastic developer bottles and the plastic professional product containers we use, and recycle these as well."

Also, keep in mind choosing what type of recyclable products your business uses in the first place can have an impact on the planet. Both Souter and Siegel say their businesses try to use post-consumer paper products whenever possible. "The impact we are having daily on the planet and our natural resources has reached a critical level," says Siegel. "It's almost to the point that it's irresponsible to not do what you can."

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