Celebrate Earth Month!

Eight simple ways to fête our planet at your spa

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For every business, Earth Month (April) presents prime opportunities to spread eco-awareness among employees, customers and partners. Healing operations like day spas are especially positioned to make a lasting difference in our planet's well-being—your clients and employees are probably already more green-savvy than the average bear. Hopefully, the following Earth Month celebration tips will help boost morale, raise your spa's visibility and perhaps even benefit your bottom line.

1. Offer incentives for employees and staff to make eco-friendly commutes to your spa.
Offer to watch bikes during treatments! Put up a carpool sign-up sheet. Provide a 5% discount when guests can show train tickets or bus stubs at check-out (or take the price of transport off of their bill). Provide extra vacay time (or a fun party/dinner on the boss) for employees who can go the whole month without driving solo to work.

2. Host an Earth Day pot-luck.
Pick an evening and invite guests and staff to bring in delicious, organic food to share.

3. Plant something!
Make it a staff-wide activity. You only need a small outdoor space to create a fresh-air treatment area (you could even charge a small amount for clients to upgrade to a balcony or porch service). You could also grow flowers to decorate your reception, treatment and relaxation areas (this has saved several spa owners thousands of dollars annually). Denise Dubois, owner of Complexions Spa for Beauty and Wellness in Albany, New York, partners with a local tree farm to give clients seedlings to plant at home each April.

4. Designate some "outdoor time."
Could you hold all staff meetings outside this month, weather-permitting? (Your team will appreciate it.)

5. Host an "Earth Year" roundtable.
Host a staff event in which you ask each of your employees to present their own ideas for reducing waste and becoming greener at your spa—and be open to wild, outlandish suggestions! (This will get your staff’s creative juices flowing in a powerful way.) Offer incentives if you adopt their ideas as initiatives.

6. If you're in a strip mall or multi-unit building, challenge fellow businesses to a waste-reduction contest.
Who can save the most this month? Compare each of your March and April electricity and water bills, with the understanding that the loser provides the winner with a fun prize. (A round of organic cocktails? Traded services?)

7. Rally your clients and staff around a fundraiser.
Pick your favorite environmental cause (Oceana? Friends of the Environment? Sierra Club? There are many to choose from!) and work together to make a donation at the end of the month. This is a great way to boost community visibility and encourage cooperation with like-minded business and individuals.

8. Create an Earth Day trivia game.
Know how hybrid cars manage to conserve gas? How many tons of waste Americans produce each year? The basic mechanisms of composting? Where your community’s recycling center is located? These are all questions you could ask guests at check-out. And, if they answer correctly, consider providing organic product sample prizes! It’s a great conversation-starter, and a sure way to spread a little environmental awareness.

How do you wish the Earth a happy infinite-eth birthday? Tell us about it! Write koreilly@creativeage.com.

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