To Green or Not to Green . . . Is There Even a Question?
By Rianna Riego, Founder and Principal of Global SpaVantage


"Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect." - Chief Seattle, 1855

"When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world." - John Muir

Because they provide holistic services, spas should champion the cause of sustainability. Greening measures are very simple and cost effective, and although some might require a bit of an investment, they will pay off in reduced costs over time. Here are a few examples of some "low hanging fruit":

  • Unplug all equipment and turn off lights when not in use.
  • Install low flow faucet aerators and water heads to reduce water and heating usage by up to 50%.
  • Use energy efficient appliances and install energy efficient lighting.
  • Use rechargeable batteries, refillable toner and ink cartridges, and recycled paper.
  • Offer recyclable plastic or paper cups.
  • Reduce backbar waste by using large refillable containers.
  • Use biodegradable plastic in treatments.
  • Re-examine your towel usage in treatments and guest areas.
  • Use Blackle as your default browser to save energy (
"Nature provides a free lunch, but only if we control our appetites." - William Ruckleshaus


Moving forward, rethink your purchasing habits, and consider these options:

  • Purchase unbleached paper products or those made from post-consumer recycled materials.
  • Buy locally (less gas/shipping) and support sustainable farming practices.
  • Use natural, biodegradable cleaning and laundry products.
  • Use and sell products that are 100% cruelty-free.
  • Support companies that have their own sustainable practices.
  • Do your homework about greenwashing*. Learn how to differentiate.

From staff to guests, everyone in your spa needs to know your intentions. Communicate and engage through daily practice while raising awareness by trying some of the following simple actions:

  • Ask guests if they need a receipt or a bag before giving them one.
  • Provide tasteful recycling cans for trash disposal.
  • Encourage your staff to carpool, take public transportation, or ride bikes/walk to work.
  • Form a company green team to spearhead environmentally friendly initiatives.

"Because we don't think about future generations, they will never forget us." - Henrik Tikkanen

The earth is your home. As such, pledge to invest in your home's future. Take advantage of invaluable resources like the Green Spa Network ( where you can find more of these types of information. Reduce your spa's carbon footprint today by implementing at least one sustainable practice. And don't stop there! Commit to apply this change to your own personal lives as well. After all, as the Native American proverb so eloquently states, "We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors. We borrow it from our children."

Green Spa Network:
Quotes taken from The Green Spa Guide by Charne Le Roux
Nancy Griffin, Contento Marketing
Sprinkle of the Day Blog:

Rianna Riego, Founder & Principal of Global SpaVantage, has more than a decade of experience in spa operations, management, service development, and strategic planning. She has consulted for and opened several spas ranging from day spas and club/membership spas, to urban hotel spas, resort boutique and mega spas. Prior to becoming Principal of Global SpaVantage, Rianna oversaw all spa operations and management at La Costa Resort & Spa. Her experience includes previously held management and executive positions with KSL Resorts and Marriott International. She is known in the industry for her resourcefulness and attention to detail, ability to streamline operations and increase profit margins, passion to create and maintain high service standards, and an unmatched ability to influence and develop future leaders of the industry.