“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. And according to recent research, the perfumes, hairsprays and deodorants that it produces are polluting the environment just as much as car emissions. The need for action is clear. It’s time for beauty to go beyond skin-deep once again.” – Jessi Baker for Forbes
Spas need to adopt sustainable business practices in 2022 before it’s too late
Sustainability in the beauty industry is no longer optional. Consumers demand it, business benefits from it, and the planet simply won’t survive without it. While many beauty spas have been slowly working towards more sustainable operations, there are lots of ways to drastically improve your sustainability rating in a relatively short space of time.
Here are seven tips for reducing your spa’s environmental footprint this year.
1. Adjust the lighting
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. However, sometimes there isn’t sufficient natural lighting for treatments, and
you’re always going to need some form of artificial lighting to assist. That’s why you should consider
energy-saving LED lightbulbs. While they cost more than standard bulbs, they can last up to 50
times longer. Dimmer switches are also a useful way to lower the amount of energy used while also
creating a calming ambience.
2. Reduce energy use
Beauty spas need to maintain a comfortable interior temperature throughout the year, with fans
not always a viable option because they interfere with certain treatments. The HVAC (heating,
ventilation and air conditioning) system can use a lot of energy and is one area that requires a
sustainable solution. As with natural lighting, 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. There are
other ways to optimise conditions, including:
• 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.
3. Low-flow taps and showers
Spas use a lot of water, and this can be easily addressed by installing low-flow taps and
showerheads. These are relatively inexpensive items that can drastically reduce your water usage.
They will not impact your clients’ rinsing needs, but they will lower your energy and water
consumption. If you wash linen on-site, then you might want to consider washing on a cold-water
setting to further minimise energy usage – with energy-efficient appliances being the best option.
4. Rainwater harvesting
Keep your water use down by installing a simple water storage solution that captures rainwater
from the gutters. These systems are available in a range of budgetary options and varieties. You can
also start small and build on as budgets allow, scaling up the system as and when you can. This
water can be used for toilets, showers and gardening, and will drastically reduce your energy and
5. Reduce waste
There are many ways to reduce excess waste within your spa, it just takes a bit of practice before it
becomes second nature. Some examples include:
• Implementing an efficient recycling system;
• Eliminating the need for paper by going digital;
• Donating unwanted items to charities;
• Eliminating plastic water bottles and using glasses instead;
• Engaging in webinars rather than travelling; and
• Refilling containers rather than purchasing new.
6. Source sustainable products …that work!
Too many beauty products make bold claims about sustainability, but these can be exaggerated,
and the efficacy of the products doesn’t always match up. If you’re serious about adopting
sustainable practices in your spa, then you need to be sourcing products that have the necessary
certifications – while also showing real results. South African brand, Esse, is a great example of a
skincare product that actually delivers on science and results while retaining sustainability at its
core. All Esse products hold official certifications ensuring they are organic, vegan, cruelty-free,
plastic-free and carbon-neutral – and they work!
7. Conduct an energy audit
If you’ve started implementing sustainable practices but are not yet sure where you stand in terms
of international standards, it’s worth conducting an energy audit. A programme like Greenspa
Calculator ( www.greenspa.africa/the-calculator/ ) will assist you 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.
Using the Greenspa Calculator, you can identify areas in which you’re excelling for sustainability
and areas that need improvement. It also offers step-by-step ways to reduce your environmental
About Esse Skincare: Meaning ‘to be’ in Latin, ESSE was founded in 2002 by biochemist Trevor Steyn in the nascent organic skincare category. In 2009, the company began its move into probiotic skincare when the early findings of the Human Microbiome Project started to shi the conventional view of skin. ESSE sees the skin as an ecology of human and microbial cells and incorporates this groundbreaking research into the formulation of all its products. ESSE actively researches the application of new probiotic species and delivery methods to combat ageing and optimise skin health.