January 31, 2013

When you think of visiting a spa, you probably think of relaxation and a mental getaway. Unfortunately, those treatments and massages come at a heavy price to Mother Nature. Spas are notorious for wreaking havoc from an eco-friendly standpoint. The never ending piles of towels, robes, wash cloths, eye covers, sheets, and washable items are astounding. Each of these items must be washed between uses, and requires a large amount of water and detergent.

Bottled water, petroleum-based products, and products that contain synthetics like  parabens, triclosan, and phthalates instead of plant-based products are just a few of the other products used in a spa. Most spas really are not as eco-friendly as the beautiful cascading waterfall sounds and earth derived color schemes they portray. So what is a person to do? Should you just forgo the day at the spa and kick back at home instead? Absolutely not! Just check out one of these eco-friendly spas or services.

Green Certified Spas

The spa industry is becoming more receptive to the idea of greening, and there’s even an eco-spa organization. The NAEFSS (National Association of Eco-Friendly Spas and Salons) provides standards for build-out, operations and maintenance of eco-friendly salons and spas. If you use a NAEFSS certified spa, you can rest assured the spa is doing all they can to maintain a green business. The Green Spa Network is another network of spa owners who are dedicated to providing the same relaxing spa services, minus the heavy environmental impact.

Choose Eco-Friendly Spa Services

Choosing eco-friendly spa services in a standard spa can also lessen your environmental impact when de-stressing. Here are some tips to choosing services that are more environmentally friendly.

  • Skip the hot tub. I know it is tempting to take a dip in the hot tub, but many state regulations require heavy chlorination of the water for health reasons. If the spa offers a saltwater alternative – choose that instead. If they don’t have saltwater you may want to consider skipping the hot tub altogether. 
  • Limit towel use. It may be tempting to grab a new towel after every service, you aren’t washing the towels after all. However, washing cloth goods is a big portion of water waste in spas. Using the same towel can really make a big impact.
  • Check the spa menu. Many spas may not be certified green, but do have green services on their menu. Eco-friendly facials, massages with real essential oils, and eco-specific services have started gracing the menus of many prominent spas. These services will be the same wonderful facials with plant-based products.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask. If you aren’t sure about a particular spa’s green initiatives don’t be afraid to ask. Many spas are taking steps to be a little greener and would love to share their initiatives with you. They can help you customize the most eco-friendly visit possible and your inquires could actually end up bringing attention to the desire for greener services to your provider.

Do you plan on visiting the spa this Valentine’s Day? Have you considered the environmental impact of your decision?