We were delighted to be included in a recent Professional Beauty article called "Green Living".

Have a look and let us know what you think?















Green Living


Thinking of introducing eco-friendly supplies into your salon? Nora Elias explores the impactlinen usage has on the environment and how you can reduce your salon's ecological footprint.


With beauty businesses generating £7 billion for the UK economy, according to stats from the National Hairdressers Federation, it's no surprise that we're also having an impact on the environment. As business booms so too does our energy usage, water consumption, piles of laundry and so on, so it's no surprise thatenvironmental issues are starting to rate high on salon and spa agendas.


"I think many are considering the environment more than ever before, conscious of the fact they have a huge consumption of towels that they need to wash. Therefore, many are thinking about what they can do to save energy and reduce their carbon footprint," says Barbara Cooke, managing director of BC Softwear, which suppliers the industry with towels, robes and slippers.


Although green-minded salons and spas are on the rise, it seems their focus on sustainability does not always extend to their choice of linens. "IT's very rare for a customer to specifically enquire about products that can safeguard the environment," says Abba Vawda, managing director of Majestic Towels. "While there has undoubtedly been a masssive growth in the natural and environmentally conscious skincare sector, this has not been reflected in the demand for salon and spa supplies so much."



Cost Implications


Fashionizer Spa's experience is a similar one, with director Debbie Leon explaining: "Clients tend to go for style and price before they look at the ecological impact; it's not the primary concern. Unless you're talking to some like Six Senses [one of Fashionizer's clients], which has sustainability as part of its mission statement, it's pretty low on the list of priorities."


Jane Brown, marketing director for linen supplier Scrummi Spa, whose disposable products are made from cedar and eucalyptus wood fibres, says she encounters different levels of interest. "Some customers are very conscious of their impact on the environment and their eco credentials, for others it might no be such an obvious concern," she says.


In the case of Fashionizer, whose main fabric is oganic and whose New Life fabric is made from recycled materials, it's the manufacturer driving this, not client demand. "The Wonderful Water fabric was developed for thalasso spas; they wanted something that dries quickly and doesn't crease very much, and we found this fabric. The fact that it's recycled is more something that suits us, because we have an organic, environmental agenda, it's not so much the client's agenda," Leon says. 





Other suppliers report that salons and spas have taken an increased interest in reducing their ecologicial footprint in the past few years. "We think there is an increased environmental consciousness in the industry and this is evident in our customer feedback," says Buttercups Uniforms manager Irene Tuite.


Irish uniform brand Diamand Designs has also seens a rise in demand for products that are kind to the environment. "Clients have become a lot more aware of their impact on the environment in recent years and this does affect what they expect from their uniforms," comments sales and marketing director Aisling Kavanagh. "More are asking for natural fibrics and we introduced our Cotton Collection, which is made from recycled cotton, after attending a spa networking event and realising how important it was becoming to our clients."


Cooke says there are particular areas in which BC Softwear has seen a stronger eco-consciousness; "In the past three to four years I've certainly seen people become much more concerned about their impact on the environment and one area where this has manifested itself is a move from disposable slippers to flip-flops. People are really concerned about disposable slippers in landfills, so flip-flops are a huge growth area for us. If you go into a busy spa they can have hundreds of guests who they give disposable slippers to on a daily basis. Some of them will of course get taken home and used, but many are just being thrown away, which is such a waste.


BC Softwear's flip-flop sales have, Cooke says, "gone up in excess of 50% in the past 12 months". However, she admits that the appeal of flip-flops is no exclusively about the environment. "It's a great branding and marketing aid for spas because peopel take flip-flops home and use them on a daily basis."



The Disposable Offer


So what can salons do to be more environmentally friendly with their linen usage? It may seem counterintuitive but part of the answer could be to use disposable products.


"People tend to associate disposables with being very environmentally unfriendly but that's not the case," says Angela Byrne, general manager for Easydry, which sells a range of disposable products to beauty salons and spas."


"For example, our disposable eco-towels are 100% compostable, so when a salon throws one away after use it breaks down within 12 weeks. If you compare that to a cotton towel and the amound of water, powder and electricity you would use to wash and dry it, it's a huge benefit to the environment."


Majestic Towels' range includes a selection of disposable products, including towels, sheets, kimonos and couch covers, and Vawda explains that the company's "eco-friendly, disposable products are completely biodegradable and recyclable." He adds: "There is no excessive energy usage as the laundry process is negated, making them ideal for environmentally conscoius spas."


Brown says disposable items can in fact be less harmful to the environment than recycled ones, despite the eco-friendly ethos behind them. "The energy that goes into the recycling process can be huge. I wuold recomment looking for products that are from sustainable sources rather than recycled," she says.


Although Fashionizer Spa uses organic fabrics, Leon advises salons and spas considering an organic product to look at where the material is from. "Organic means that the yarn is grown in a natural way without pesticides. That doesn't mean, however, that it can't be shipped halfway across the world, because a lot of organic yarn is grown in either Africa or India and needs to be shipped to wherever it is going to be woven," she says.



Energy Savers


Another important aspect is laundry, with brands encouraging salons and spas to use less energy by washing at a lower temperature. La Beeby, which supplies a range of workwear to the beauty industry, recommends its uniforms be washed at 30 degrees celsius as it's better for the environment. 


Helen Harkin, design manager for uniforms brand Simon Jersey, shares similar advice. "Environmental issues are particualrly of interest to our larger customers who are keen to reduce their impact on the einvironment. To help them, we recommend that all of our spa and beauty uniforms are washed at 30 degrees celsius, she says.


Uniform supplier Florence Roby sells tunics made from synthetic fabrics instea of cotton because "they can be washed at a lower temperature and last longer which is kinder to the environment because you're not replacing them all the teim," says sales director Jan Roby. "However, they still have the qualitities you would expect from a more natural fabric, such as being breathable. We're doing our bit to make sure everything we do isn't detrimental to the environment."



In-house options


Increasingly, salons and spas are also looking at more energy efficient laundry solutions that are not only less detrimental to the enviroment by reducing the heat and water used, but also cut costs. "Many of our customers do their own laundry now, we've seen a distinct trend towards that in the past two years. People are very conscious of saving energy," says Cooke.


Laundry company Xeros works with salons and spas, and European sales director Tony Kerr agrees that looking after their own laundry is becoming more popular iwth businesses. Highlighting the UK market, he says: "We're finding that more and more businessses are bringing their laundry in-house. Salons and spas that have difficulty with space won't be able to do it, but if the space consideration can be overcome, the majority of them prefer to have it in-house."


The Xeros cleaning system uses polymer beads to, as kerr explains, "gently massage the garment and loosen up the dirt and oil". The beads contain an element (nylon 66) that draws components such as essential oils out, absorbing them into the beads. kerr says that as the beads to a certain extent "replace water, we can reduce the amount of water used in the wash process by more than 80%". He adds that the efficacy of the beads means items can be washed at lower temperatures, reducing energy consumption by not requiring the water to be heated to such a high temperature.


It can also be worth looking at something as seemingly simple as the washing powder you use, as Paul Fairbrother, owner of Sparenity, which provides laundry systems for the spa industry, explains. "Our technology is free of optical brightening agents and designed to preserve colour. It has been developed to protect the integrity of fabric fibres and prevetn chemical damage," he says. "It extends the lifetime of items, eliminating the cost, both financial and environmental, associated with premature replacement." For any salon or spa wishing to reduce their impact on the environment, there is clearly plenty to look at.



What it means to be Green

SpaView: Titanic Spa, Yorkshire


"Our therapist uniforms are made from a bamboo blend fabric. The designs are smart and modern and fit our eco-awaremess policy. They wash at low temperatures, feel nearly dry after just a short spin and rarely ned to be ironed - saving time and reducing our power consumption," says spa operations manager Natalie Hart.


"We are proud of our on-site laundry and use the Otex laundry system, which is leading in energy efficiency and extremely powerful at cleaning. It washes at a lower temperature and leave our linen 100% disinfected. Having on-site laundry also means we have no unnecessary transport to and from laundries. Titanc Spa has a combined heat plant that provides the majority of our heat and water and our aim is to become a fully carbon neutral and sustainable business."



Article written by Nora Elias



Reproduced with kind permission of Professional Beauty August 2016.