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Spa Sustainability – Part 2: How to run a Leaner, more Sustainable Business


1.  Management & Staff

Declare your goalsShare knowledge, background and philosophy of your “Environmental Program” with your staff, and prepare a Mission Statement.

Next, develop “Eco-Facts” and Action Plans for each of your staff’s functional areas.  Install it deeply into the line organization, with an emphasis on full staff inclusion.  Continually measure results and sharpen the focus.  Compensate your staff fairly for achievements; treat them with integrity; and supply them with the tools to accomplish these tasks to the best of their abilities.

Create a sense of urgency by compiling a set of “Critical Objectives” for controlling usage of equipment; lights; water; products; linens; cleaners; and manpower.

2.  Customers & Public Relations

Share your goalsDevelop easy to use, eco-programs for your customers.  For example: allow their product packaging to be left with you for re-cycling; provide re-usable shopping bags; invest in a water cooler and discontinue plastic bottles; educate them on eco-friendly behaviours; offer day-time incentives to help them avoid rush hour traffic to the spa; offer light refreshments for AM services to help clients avoid visiting the drive-through prior to their appointment; use products and suppliers that meet eco-friendly guidelines; compost spa food waste; email or text your thanks to clients instead of using direct mail.

As you achieve successes, convey the stats to your customers and the media.  As they wake up to the fact that you are operating in a socially acceptable manner and doing your part to protect the planet, your credibility increases, and so do business opportunities.

3.  Suppliers, Resources, Products

Announce your desire to achieve new goals – Only buy what you need and optimize your number of shipment requirements to reduce exhaust emissions; choose companies that meet standards on emissions and noise.  Understand your printing company’s production techniques and materials used.   Opt for post consumer recyclable or reusable paper and materials as much as possible; know what’s contained in packaging and marketing materials (alternatives to chlorine-bleached materials and solvent-based inks).

Strive to offer products in their purest form; use earth-friendly cleaning supplies.

4.  Utilities and Processes

Choosing un-sustainable methods of energy, such as coal-fired electricity means the removal of fossil fuels from the earth, which cannot be re-consumed .  If you cannot consider renewable energy (sun, water, wind), then consider using less energy.

Re-insulate walls with eco-friendly products to improve efficiency; use reduced water flow taps; turn off 2 of your 6 Vichy shower heads; install low-flush toilets; use energy-efficient lighting (LED or fluorescent); use a push mower; no pesticides on the landscape; unplug equipment and office machines when not in use; and continually sharpen your staff and business focus to improve usage on the above mentioned “Critical Objectives” (Point 1, Management & Staff).

5.  Building, Materials and Furnishings

Furniture, carpets, adhesives and paints are under scrutiny.  As of yet, there are not many labels available to tell you what’s in them (respiratory irritants; air toxics, and even carcinogens).

Fortunately things have improved over recent years due to consumer awareness and organizations such as www.greenguard.org; www.greenseal.org who deal with air quality and environmental impact.

Basically, you want

low-VOC emissions (volatile organic compounds);

low HAPs (hazardous air pollutants);

with no UF (urea formaldehyde) 

Formaldehyde is a biggie and is used in many applications, including pressed woods (particle board) and on carpets and upholstery for water and stain resistance.  It produces dangerous emissions, or off-gassing.  

When purchasing furniture and carpet, consider ventilating it for a couple of weeks before putting it into your space, to reduce the risks.  Polyvinylchloride (PVC) – the “Poison Plastic” emits mercury and dioxins and it NOT recyclable; polyurethane is in cushions, couches, mattresses and carpets and is highly combustible and once burning, emits dangerous black smoke and toxins, which means it usually comes coated in a flame/fire retardant, which can be just as dangerously potent. 

Lacquers containing high levels of solvents are not good, as solvents release VOCs.  Consider plants to help remove some of these air pollutants (don’t you think it’s amazing that plants do this??).  

Use wood from well-managed sources no rain forest or old-growth trees used.  


These points are just the tip of the iceberg (pardon the pun).  Do some more research and discover how you can contribute to global sustainability by avoiding more un-sustainability factors in both your personal and business lives. 


About Leslie

Spas2b Inc. is a full service Spa Development company, specializing in Online Spa Management Distance Learning Courses, Spa Business Manual Instant Downloads & Resources, and Spa Consulting Services.
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