Pulse September 2015 - Page 34

VOICES Implementing a Sustainable Linen Program Consider the Whole Equation Mia Richardson is the CEO of The Comphy Company, a leading provider of luxury linens developed specifically for the spa industry. For more, visit comphy.com. REFERENCES: 1. Global Spa Network Toolkit 2. Stanford Office of Sustainability 3. PKF Consulting USA Pulse welcomes contributions for Voices. Do you have relevant tips or pressing industry topics or issues to tackle? Email ispa@ispastaff.com to pitch an article or share your expert insights. 32 PULSE ■ September 2015 N avigating the world of sustainable spa linens is as multi-layered as a fully dressed spa bed. There are many factors to keep in mind for sustainable purchasing decisions of treatment table sheets, blankets, towels and robes. Luxury spa guests have come to expect a luxurious feel when they lie down on the treatment table or when they put on a robe. Even the “greenest” of spas must care for the guest as much as they care for the environment. When researching and procuring spa linens, it is important to consider the total environmental impact. This should include the material itself, the energy consumption required to maintain the linens in your spa operation, and the life cycle of the linens. Sustainable Materials When choosing a material for your spa linens, it is imperative to “look under the hood.” An organic plant-derived fabric might seem like the right solution initially, yet upon closer examination, requires long drying times, ironing and does not hold up to the rigors of spa operations. This can offset the balance of the environmental scale. Natural Fibers Natural fibers include cotton, hemp and bamboo. There are many misnomers about them in an environmental context. For example, commercially grown cotton uses millions of tons of water, and is loaded with pesticides that are among the most toxic chemicals as classified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. In contrast, organic cotton is grown using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment. Organic production reduces the use of toxic pesticides and fertilizers and builds biologically diverse agriculture. Unfortunately, organic cotton makes up only a few percent of global cotton production.