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Shades of Green

By: Christa Hillstrom
Posted: November 25, 2008, from the December 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Nevertheless, Grodjesk is skeptical of synthetic products that are petroleum-based, and she questions whether microfiber shrinks an environmental footprint or deepens it. It’s quandries such as this that often leave spa managers scratching their heads, wondeirng whether a product that throws artificial ingredients into the wellness mix actually compromises balance, or if organically grown fibers gulp up more than their share of energy when transported.

Similarly, the hospitality industry often uses harsh chemicals to wash linens and clothing, but today alternatives exist that are easier on the ecosystem. For in-house laundry, study the chemicals in your cleaning products, and if you’re sending your laundry out, make sure you know about your service’s practices. And for paper-based products such as coffee filters and paper towels, try to adopt eco-friendly options such as gold-cone filters and reusable hand towels.

Complex alterations

Some spas are taking their transformational endeavors even further than sheets and filters, making wellness a tenet that pervades the space of the facility itself. From shifting to low-energy LED or compact fluorescent lights to charging through innovative systemic and design transitions, there are plenty of ways to alter the space itself and enhance a spa’s vibe of well-being. Already existing buildings can be renovated with earth-friendlier flooring and fresh coats of paint that use sustainable materials.

At Osmosis, the green team is embarking on what it hopes could be a revolutionary trend in how spas use water and manage waste. Concern with water is nothing new here, and the spa has already installed a Japanese filtration system that eliminates the need to truck bottled water across long distances. Now, plans are in the works to switch to a complex water-recycling process that would utilize the vast stores of grey water—water that usually just runs down the sink—that tend to go to waste in industries as water-based as spas.

Osmosis’ goal is to convert water otherwise wasted into a resource that is reused in landscaping. In other words, the same water that cleanses the skin of clients inside the spa goes on to nourish the meditation gardens where patrons seek peace and balance outside the spa. And this, Southon believes, enriches spa patrons as much as it does the environment by creating a meaningful realization of holistic wellness.

Green for you and me