There's a lot of talk about green spas lately. Confronted with bleach in the hot tub, dry-cleaned robes, and gluttonous water therapies, many consumers are realizing that spas are not as green as they want.
To get greener, some new spas are working with architects to reduce their carbon emissions through energy-efficient designs that preserve the serenity of the environmentally sensitive beaches, deserts and mountains where spas are often found.
Spa interiors become greener with materials like bamboo (a fast-growing grass whose use helps save forests), non-toxic paint, and "green" carpeting that won't off-gas chemicals. Once spas start thinking green, it affects every level of the operation, from installing low-flow toilets to the choice of uniforms, made with organic cotton or Hempcel, a combination of hemp (which requires no pesticides) and tencel (a fiber made from recycled wood pulp.)
What To Look For In A Green Spa
Like many of us, spas are making "baby steps" towards being green, like using vegan nail polishes, rather than being green top-to-bottom. Here's some important things to look for and ask about, according to Kit Cassingham, a spa consultant who helps spas go green.
- Use your own senses. Does the spa feel natural? Are the carpets and upholstery off-gassing? Is there plenty of fresh air?
- Does the spa use natural fiber sheets, towels, and robes? Organic cotton is the most common but bamboo, soy, modal (beechwood fiber) and silk blends are becoming more common, and sometimes feel even better than quality cotton.
- If the spa serves food or beverage, is it locally sourced and organic? Does it use durable plates, cups and flatware?
- Ask about the products they use. Do the bulk soap and shampoo dispensers have high-quality, laurel sulfate-free products? Is the skin-care line paraben-free? Is the massage oil organic?
- Does the spa offer filtered water and re-usable cups or bottles rather than plastic water bottles or bottled water with disposable cups?
- Does the spa use air filters to get rid of allergens and pollutants?
- Does the spa use environmentally friendly cleaning products? There should be no chemical scents in products and cleaning supplies. Scent from natural essential oils are fine.
li]Does the spa filter its water? Installing a filter on the incoming water line will remove most of the chemicals, primarily chlorine and ammonia that have been added to kill bacteria. This is important for both drinking water and the water used in body treatments.
Cassingham says it's important to have a dialogue with your spa to find out where they stand on green. They should be able to tell you exactly what they're doing to be green. If it's not on their radar, it helps them understand there is a NEED for a green spa.
YOU Can Go Green at The Spa
Going green at the spa is about changing your own behavior, too. Here are some things you can do to "go green" at the spa.