Plastic Free July campaign a huge success

Throughout July, we encouraged our spa members, brand partners and the wider wellness community to take part in a campaign to reduce plastics in all operations. Primarily, the Plastic Reduction Campaign was a voluntary opportunity for brand partners of the SSA to take part in educating spa operators on the importance – and ever-growing need – to reduce single-use plastics. 

The timing of the campaign was no coincidence. On 3 July 2021 the European Union set in law a directive which bans 10 single-use plastics most commonly found on Europe’s beaches. This means that straws, plastic bottles, coffee cups and takeaway containers made from certain materials will be banned within the EU. 

The new Single-Use Plastics (SUP) Directive requires all 27 EU member states to enforce the new guidelines and was introduced to prevent and reduce the impact of plastic products on the environment – in particular the aquatic environment and on human health. It is part of the EU’s commitment to promoting the transition to a circular economy with “innovative and sustainable business models, products and materials”.

Following on from the EU announcement, our July plastic reduction campaign resulted in a host of SSA brand partners sending through information on their activities.

SSA co-founder Lucy Brialey says: “It was great to see a number of companies take part in the campaign. 

“The information shared by partners will contribute to an educational piece around plastic use in the spa industry and in clinical settings. We will also keep in touch with all participants and request regular information to report back on the overall collective progress made by them.”

Here are some of the initiatives that brand partners are implementing to reduce the use of plastic:

Belu (drinks)

We’ve been advocates of reducing single use plastic – and moving toward a circular economy in the use of our materials – since inception. We’ve explored all options of plastic reduction and

offer both a lightweight glass option and a “Belu Filter in Action”, a water filtration system which enables businesses to reuse and refill bottles on site. This reduces the need for single-use products in general. 

Any plastics used across our business have to be widely recycled and made using the highest possible percentage of recycled material. Our “grab and go” range of bottles are made from 100% recycled plastic and are 100% recyclable. It is a lightweight, durable material with a far lower carbon footprint than the alternative materials. 

We work closely with our suppliers to source the recycled plastic pellets that make up our grab and go bottles. We also actively encourage our customers to recycle every bottle to ensure they are put back into the circular economy.

We also reduced the weight of our bottles, meaning that fewer raw materials are needed in production and fewer emissions are generated in distribution. Our commitment to PAS2060, the accredited forward measure of carbon footprint, means we continuously look for ways to improve our carbon efficiencies.

We will always consider the overall impact and carbon footprint of any materials used in our business. We have a dedicated blog on our website, which outlines the challenges of single-use plastic and the real information behind alternative materials.

Fashionizer (spa uniforms)

We already use polyester packaging with a microbe finish, which causes it to biodegrade. We are now in the process of changing all our packaging to biodegradable materials. We evaluated different types of packaging and decided on the most user-friendly to ensure compliance.

We also use the services of third party waste and recycling companies to help

control and limit single use plastics entering the environment.

Scrummi (towelling system)

There are no plastics in our end use product. In addition, at our head office we only use recycled plastic.

We’ve changed the packaging of our main lines from plastic to paper and, within the next 12-18 months, aim for all subsidiary lines to follow suit. We’ve also developed biodegradable gowns and aprons. 

We also offer education to our clients on how to dispose of all our products in a sustainable manner. In addition, we recommend each of our spa clients to start a conversation with recycling specialist First Mile, which can collect and dispose of our products and turn waste into energy. 

Sothys (treatments and skin products)

We’ve introduced refillable packaging and are currently working on more refill projects. We are also progressively changing our virgin plastic towards post-consumer recycled plastics (PCR) and are implementing recyclable packaging. 

As part of our sustainable practices, we also educate our partners to recycle our goods.

Work is currently in progress to work with third party waste and recycling companies and we have also signed a deal with the Plastic Bank corporation for our new organic line, in order to neutralise our consumption of plastic.