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Going barefoot

How spas are going slipper-less for sustainability

The health of the environment is inextricably linked to our own wellbeing. Anyone who has taken a moment to stand barefoot in the grass, swim in the sea, breathe fresh air or enjoy the sounds of the birds will know that nature can have a powerful impact on our wellbeing. On a more visceral note, damage to the environment also has an impact on our wellbeing, from the quality of the air we breathe to micro-plastics in our water.

The environment and its impact on our health

The European Environment Agency estimates a few sobering facts:

  • 230 million tonnes of chemicals hazardous to health were consumed in 2020, a 4% increase from 2019
  • One in 10 premature deaths in Europe are linked to pollution
  • More than 10% of Europe’s cancer burden may be caused by exposure to air pollution, carcinogenic chemicals, radon, UV radiation and second-hand smoke

The good news is that by improving the environment and reducing pollution, we can improve the quality of life, well-being and overall health.

Sustainable spas

Spas have a particular affinity and interest in the wellbeing of the planet because we are in the business of wellbeing for individuals. Sustainability in spas has become a key area of interest as more and more destinations seek to align planetary and personal wellbeing. Some of the best sustainable spas range from those that have a negative carbon footprint to those that have won awards from the likes of the Green Tourism Business Scheme.

A step in the right direction

When it comes to waste, lots of us are becoming dab hands at recycling. However, we know that to some extent recycling is a sticking plaster solution and in reality it's better not to create unnecessary waste in the first place. For businesses, including spas, that means minimising single-use products wherever possible. We have seen this in lots of places when it comes to plastic cups, straws and bottles, for example.

Of course, it's the details that often add up to big changes, and one of the most recent updates comes from Rockliffe Hall, who have launched their Barefoot Spa Days this month. This means slippers will no longer be provided at the luxury hotel and spa, as they take a further step towards becoming a more sustainable business.

Flip-flop mountain

While lots of people see the provision of spa slippers as a staple in a luxury spa environment, the option to go barefoot or bring your own pair of indoor flip-flops is a small but significant way to support the environment.

Last year, Boutique Hotelier reported on the ‘flip flop mountain’ that sees billions of pairs thrown away every year. One company alone estimated that they supply approximately three million pairs of footwear per year to hotels, spas and leisure destinations.

It's wonderful to see spas taking sustainability initiatives into their own hands. So, would you be happy to go on a barefoot spa day?

Book a spa break at Rockliffe Hall

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