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Creating a Sustainable Spa

sustainable luxury spa with green plants, furniture made from reclaimed wood and eco-friendly products on display

An eco-friendly spa isn’t just good for the planet, it can benefit your bottom line: a joint study from McKinsey and NielsenIQ found that sustainable products show more sales growth, and environmentally-friendly brands (especially small brands) grow more quickly and enjoy greater loyalty.

Embracing the spa sustainability movement also gives you an attractive marketing angle. Make sure you get the word out to current and potential clients about all the efforts you make to go green!

While not every spa can pivot to become completely carbon neutral or waste-free, even small changes add up to make a big difference.

Here are the top three ways to make your spa more sustainable:

Reduce Your Spa’s Carbon Footprint

Reducing your spa’s carbon footprint is a win-win: your business becomes more sustainable, and your operating costs decrease. Even better, there are so many different tactics you can use.

Use less energy

  • Use a free online energy use calculator to establish your baseline so you can track improvement
  • Switch to LED lighting, and use natural lighting whenever practical
  • If your spa has large windows and gets too warm from sunlight, use UV-blocking window film so your air conditioning won’t have to work as hard (bonus: it’s better for skin, too!)
  • Use ultra energy-efficient appliances, including your furnace, air conditioner, water heater, washer and dryer, refrigerator and more - look for Energy Star certified products (you can often find rebates for them!)
  • Use a programmable eco-friendly thermostat and ceiling fans to make your HVAC system even more efficient, and install a smart meter to track your energy usage
  • Add solar panels if possible

Create less waste

  • Invest in high-quality spa equipment that’s built to last so you won’t have to replace it as often. Minerva Beauty has a huge selection of premium quality spa equipment including massage tables, facial chairs, pedicure stations and much more:

  • skin care equipment for sustainable spas
    massage equipment for sustainable spas
    manicure and pedicure equipment for sustainable spas
  • Living Earth Crafts is the world’s most recognized manufacturer of spa equipment, with a focus on sustainable manufacturing and eco-friendly materials
  • Avoid single-use plastics - for example, provide reusable drinkware instead of plastic bottles, or offer a water bottle filling station so staff and clients can fill their own reusable water bottles.
  • Learn about your local recycling options and take advantage of them. Make it easy for staff and clients to recycle by placing recycling containers in convenient locations.
  • Switch from paper forms to digital for staff scheduling, client intake forms, appointment booking, payments, retail purchase receipts and more. Square POS is a great option to explore, with a special offer for new accounts!
  • Replace print marketing with digital marketing (e.g. email campaigns instead of snail mail), and use your website, social media and free online listings as paper-free ways to promote your salon services.
  • Try to minimize single-use products, and look for compostable or biodegradable options when they can’t be avoided.
  • Partner with eco-friendly suppliers who use minimal packaging and biodegradable/recyclable materials.
  • Use refillable dispensers for treatment products, and sell retail products with eco-friendly ingredients and packaging.
  • Create and sell your own private label spa products in refillable containers (private label products also keep your spa front of mind for clients).
  • Compost used tea bags, brown paper, wood applicators and other organic waste.
  • Connect with an eco-friendly waste removal service like Terracycle to reduce the amount your spa sends to landfills.

Conserve Water

Water is essential to the spa experience, but there are plenty of ways to minimize water waste - and your next water bill!

  • Install water conserving (low flow) showerheads and faucets. ECOHEADS sprayers reduce water use while filtering water and doubling water pressure!
  • Use a smart water meter to track water use and detect leaks.
  • Hire a plumber to fix any leaking pipes or dripping faucets - small drips might not seem like much, but they really add up!
  • Use front-loading washing machines (they use up to 70% less water than top-loading machines) and choose a high-efficiency model designed to minimize water usage.
  • Look into greywater recycling - recycled greywater can be used to water plants, irrigate outdoor green spaces, and flush toilets.
  • Fabrics made from bamboo fiber, linen, and Tencel are environmentally-friendly alternatives to cotton because they require much less water to manufacture.
  • If you do use cotton, choosing organic cotton over conventional cotton reduces water pollution and soil erosion. Intrinsics single-use cotton spa products are made from sustainably sourced cotton and made in the USA, and their natural sponges are made with 23% recycled material.
massage treatment room in sustainable spa with environmentally-friendly sheets and linens

Shop massage table sheets & blankets from The Madison Collection, a company committed to sustainability.

Avoid Harmful Substances

Toxic chemicals in skincare, cleaning products and other items harm the environment as well as the people who work in and visit your spa. Going green and choosing to use and sell products made without toxic ingredients benefits everyone!

  • Learn about commonly used toxic chemicals and don’t buy products that include them. Common offenders include artificial fragrances, formaldehyde and triclosan.
  • Look for the following labels when choosing products used in spa treatments: palm-oil free (or sustainable palm oil), no animal testing (cruelty free), no animal-derived ingredients (only plant-based squalene), no microplastics/microbeads, and fair-trade ingredients.
  • Beware of greenwashing - words like “natural” and “clean” can be used on labels even when the product isn’t made with only natural or clean ingredients. Look for certifications from specific organizations including Leaping Bunny, USDA, NSF, Rainforest Alliance, and COSMOS.
  • Choose organic products when possible, which means that naturally derived ingredients were cultivated and processed without pesticides, herbicides, synthetic chemicals/fertilizers, or genetically modified organisms.
  • Use eco-friendly cleaning products and detergents in your spa. Prevention RTU Disinfectant Cleaner and Prevention RTU Disinfectant Wipes are highly effective at killing pathogens, using an eco-friendly biodegradable formula.
  • Use machine-washable spa towels, spa robes and spa linens - avoid fabrics that require dry cleaning (which uses petroleum-based solvents).
  • When it’s time to refresh or redecorate, only use eco-friendly paint.
  • Choose spa furniture and decor made from natural materials whenever possible - adhesives, flame retardants, and chemicals used to make materials stain resistant are often toxic and release VOCs into the air.
  • Add plants that naturally clean the air in your spa.
sustainable spa products on display in an eco-friendly spa

Learn how Kevin Murphy products (pictured here) keep eco-consciousness as a guiding principle.

environmentally friendly spa treatment table being used for waxing treatment in a sustainable sps

Shop the Living Earths Crafts Napa Flat Top Crank Table with Shelf Base for an eco-friendly treatment table for a full range of spa services.

For Extra Green Points

For spa owners looking to go the extra mile, these tips can take your spa sustainability efforts to the next level:

Excite, Educate & Incentivize Employees

  • Include your employees in your sustainable spa planning, and ask for their ideas and feedback.
  • Invest in educating your staff so they understand how to participate in new sustainability initiatives (training, workshops).
  • Create rewards for staff who promote eco-friendly activities like carpooling, reducing waste, telling clients about sustainable products and coming up with new ways to make the spa environmentally conscious.

Show Love for Local

  • Whenever possible, source your supplies from local providers - this could include things like tea, candles, decor and more.
  • Support local sustainability efforts by donating to initiatives in your area that are cleaning up the local environment, or volunteering as a team (this is also a great way to promote your sustainable spa!)
  • If you’re planning on opening a new spa, choose a location close to public transit or walking/biking routes, and look for a well maintained building .

Leverage Support

  • Offset your carbon emissions (and don’t forget to let people know about it!)
  • Join Green Spa Network (GSN) to stay up to date on environmental news, spa industry news, connect with green suppliers, get inspired and find more sustainability resources.
  • Seek out cross-marketing opportunities with other sustainably-run businesses to attract new clients.

Learn more about sustainability in the beauty industry with these tips for making a hair salon more eco-friendly, and ECOHEADS water-conserving shampoo heads that actually increase water pressure!

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