There are many ways for South African spas to drastically improve their sustainability rating in a relatively short space of time.
So says Trevor Steyn, founder of the carbon neutral, plastic neutral and Ecocert certified organic bio-clinical skincare brand, Esse.
Steyn points out that according to an article written by Jessi Baker for Forbes, the global beauty industry produces more than 120 billion units of packaging every year. “It’s responsible for the 14,000 tons of sunscreen that collect annually in the world’s reefs, writes Baker, “And according to recent research, the perfumes, hairsprays and deodorants that it produces are polluting the environment just as much as car emissions.”
Steyn believes that sustainability in the beauty industry is no longer optional and suggests the following ways for spas to reduce their environmental footprint this year.
Firstly, adjust the lighting. Steyn continues: “Natural light is free and a simple yet effective way to make your business more sustainable. You could increase the amount of sunlight entering your spa by installing lightweight curtains or adjustable blinds. If you need artificial light in treatment rooms, consider energy-saving LED lightbulbs, as although more costly, they can last up to 50 times longer than standard lightbulbs. Dimmer switches are also useful.”
In terms of reducing energy use in the spa, Steyn believes it’s best to use natural airflow for cooling where possible, with indoor plants a helpful addition for cooling a room and cleaning the air. Other optimisation suggestions include: adding a window film or blinds to control sun exposure; replacing single-pane windows with double-pane ones; using sealants around windows and doors to fill air gaps; shading your HVAC condensers; and installing energy-efficient devices such as inverter air conditioners.
As spas, by their very nature, use a lot of water, Steyn believes they should install low-flow taps and showers. If spa linen is washed on sight, then a cold-water setting can further minimise energy usage.
Spas can also harvest rainwater by installing a simple water storage solution to capture rainwater from the gutters. This water can be used for toilets, showers and gardening.
Spas can do the following to reduce their amount of waste: implement an efficient recycling system; eliminate the need for paper by going digital; donate unwanted items to charities; use glasses instead of plastic water bottles; refill containers rather than purchase new; and source sustainable products, such as the Esse range.
Steyn points out that a programme like Greenspa Calculator (www.greenspa.africa/the-calculator/) can assist spas in several ways, including:
• Identifying the core drivers that define the green spa environment;
• Quantifying the benefits achieved in each sustainability category, including energy use, water conservation, fair trade, green cosmetics, and the green spa kitchen;
• Generating operational data about spa efficiency; and
• Providing reference information on the impact of using appropriate products.
“We’re beyond the point of needing to be sustainable in our business practices, and the beauty industry in particular needs to be shifting its practices in a more sustainable direction today. Sustainability cannot be practiced in isolation,” concludes Steyn.