6 Steps To Creating A Sustainable Spa Or Clinic

Green tips from Australia’s best “eco” spa.

Sustainability is at the forefront of everyone’s minds right now. But for small business owners, the main question becomes: how can I create a more sustainable business in an affordable way?

Eco Spa Sustainability Hannah Loreto
Hannah Loreto

Awarded the Best “Eco” Salon of Australia at the Australian Beauty Industry Awards in 2020, Eco Spa Mandurah is leading the way to sustainable business . “I feel a strong responsibility as a business owner to minimise our environmental footprint to support our world into the future,” Hannah Loreto, founder of Eco Spa, tells us. “If every business owner took the time to evaluate and improve their green business practices we collectively can make a difference not only in the workplace setting but potentially inspire and educate the clients and customers from each business to expand the impacts further.”

We sat down with Loreto to find out exactly what spa and clinic owners can do to ‘green-ify’ their business.

1. Prioritise sustainable design

“We believe the setting of our spa should also embody our environmental values of sustainable materials and fittings,” says Loreto. “Careful consideration has been given to deliver a sustainability focused spa build, incorporating numerous sustainable and natural materials produced by local companies where possible.” Eco Spa’s interiors are completed with non-toxic paint, natural concrete and recycled timber fixtures and handmade tiles.

Even the staff at Eco Spa wear eco-friendly organic hemp uniforms. You don’t need to completely re-do your current aesthetic, but next time something needs replacing or your space needs a facelift, consider which natural or upcycled elements you might use.

2. Install energy-efficient lighting

Converting your spa or clinic to an eco-haven can be done simply through swapping standard lightbulbs for energy-saving LED globes. Although the initial cost may be greater, LED lighting lasts up to 50 times longer than standard bulbs. You may want to think about adding a dimmer to maximise bulb life and minimise energy output — this makes for a relaxing spa atmosphere, too.

Making your lighting greener can also be as simple as switching lights off when you leave a room or installing sensors that switch lights on only when someone enters the space. If your space has lots of natural light, use it. Rather than switching on artificial light, open the blinds and let the sun shine through.

3. Go paperless

You can easily convert to a paperless clinic by swapping all essential forms (new clients, therapist notes, holiday leave applications and the like) for digital forms, completed on an individual’s smartphone or a clinic tablet. Seeded paper is a great option for business cards and gift cards, or you can opt for digital alternatives for these, too. Eco Spa do all this and more, having also ditched all paper treatment menus for beautiful wooden bamboo kept for clients to browse upon arrival.

4. Swap paper towels for reuseable alternatives

Instead of single-use sheets, opt for reuseable linens or biodegradable hand towels in the treatment room and bathroom. Yes, biodegradable hand towels are still single-use but they are compostable and break down naturally in the environment. Eco Spa uses single-use biodegradable head bands for all facial treatments, too!

When it comes to linens, you’ll need to keep a decent supply on hand (one per client every day) and factor in the cost and environmental impact of laundry; but hand towels add a more elevated, elegant feel to your space. Make sure you choose natural fibres such as cotton, linen or bamboo cotton to avoid the release of harmful microfibres when they are washed.

5. Recycle and TerraCycle where you can

Separating your waste from recyclable materials is a great habit to have in the home and at your business. There are also many new sustainability initiatives in the beauty industry, including TerraCycle, to recycle empty products for a zero-waste approach.

“We recycle all of our used beauty product packaging through the TerraCycle Beauty Product Recycling Program, and encourage our clients to return their empty bottles for inclusion when they’re finished with them also,” Loreto says. Eco Spa also goes one step further and donates worn-out towels and blankets for their local K9 Rescue Group to upcycle as bedding for the dogs.

6. Give back to community initiatives

Getting out and giving back to your community is key to building your business, so why not add a sustainability element to this?! It’s so easy to join in with local initiatives such as Clean Up Australia Day or Take 3 For The Sea. The team at Eco Spa has participated in Mandurah’s National Tree Day initiative, planting over 2000 trees and running a massage stall to reward fellow volunteers for their efforts.

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