Looking after ourselves without being detrimental to the environment has become even more important as our awareness and knowledge of caring for the environment grows. As a result, many destinations have responded to ensure eco-friendly spa practices as much as possible. However, as consumers, we also have a role to play in ensuring the way we travel is sustainable. Here are a few tips for making your next spa break an eco-friendly spa break…
Let’s be honest, as much as we would like to have our towels washed every day at home, it’s never going to happen. It isn’t really necessary either. While a hotel spa break is all about a little extra luxury, new towels won’t really make a lot of difference. Remember, most hotels will replace your towels if you leave them on the floor. So take a moment to pick them up and fold them onto the towel rail. That way they will be warm and dry when you return and you will have done something small that collectively has a big impact on a more eco-friendly spa break.
Skincare products can have a big impact on the environment. Plastic microbeads in face scrubs get into the sea, and if you’re going overseas then sunscreen can end up in the world’s coral reefs and poison the wildlife and mosquito repellants pollute the air and the water. The solution is pretty straightforward, it just requires a bit of careful planning (it can also help you to be more eco-friendly at home). Choose skincare products that contain environmentally friendly ingredients – a good judge is whether or not they’re certified by the Soil Association. If you’re going somewhere hot, try to choose marine friendly sun creams, and you can also opt for plant-based bug and insect repellants.
It’s become a bit of a buzz phrase for hotel restaurants to serve local and seasonal ingredients, but it really does have a good impact on the environment. Many of the spas we work with even grow their own fruit, vegetables and herbs in their own gardens. However, you can also take control yourself by making your own choices.
For example, you can make sure you’re informed and order sustainable fish in restaurants. The MSC’s Good Fish Guide gives a helpful traffic light system for how sustainable each fish option is complete with search function and alternatives. It does make dinner a bit of a research project but if you do a little reading in advance or have the link ready on your phone it’s pretty easy to just check before ordering. Alternatively, you can ask a few choice questions of the waiting staff, such as is the fish farmed or caught at sea? Or is it line caught or trawled?
If you’re travelling overseas, it’s also worthwhile ordering local dishes and avoid eating endangered species like turtle or over-harvested shellfish.
While you go on a spa break to relax and have a good time, small actions can make a big difference to the environment, and once you’re in the habit it becomes second nature. For example, you can take short showers to wash instead of having baths. Turn the heating or air-conditioning off if you don’t need it. Turn off all lights and appliances when you leave your room. Recycle any packaging for new products and if there isn’t recycling available at the hotel or spa, take it home to dispose of responsibly there. Take your own water bottle in case they only have plastic cups and bottles in the spa, and say no to plastic straws in your drinks.
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