I love the idea of going green, saving our planet and making this world a cleaner place, but not when it cost me more “green” ($) than I can afford to keep my studio up and running. There are associations yoga studios can be affiliated with that one, cost “green” (money) and two, have hefty requirements that only then allow you to certify your yoga studio as a green studio and might put you out of business to do so.
I believe that every bit counts and that every bit helps, so at the end of the day how you go green depends on different things for different people and some spaces may not allow you to engage in certain acts to make your studio a “greener” studio per some standards or agreements (floors, air systems etc). So here are eight tips that my studio abides by and a greening that my students love!
1. Firstly, add up your green, money that is; owning a studio in this economy may not allow you to have all the bells and whistles that some say make your studio officially green, but I say that it doesn’t have to cost you much of anything, it’s just a matter of being smart. So firstly what is your budget, what are you willing to do and not do to eco-up your space? You have to know what your limits are or otherwise you are going to end up mentally polluted with frustration in addition to feelings of not naturally contributing, but also you may end up with no green in your pocket and no studio shortly after.
2. Got a bathroom in your space, well eco-friendly paper towels can not only cost a lot but in the end up still a waste. Yes, they may decompose, but the diesel truck that delivered them and the diesel truck that will take them to the dump or recycling center is hardly eco-friendly. Plus, you may end up spending your precious green just to tell your students that they have just dried their hands with eco-paper towels. Well what about cloth hand towels? I have had a studio for six years, and I have not spent one penny on paper towels for hand drying in my bathroom; daily I change out clean reusable cloth hand towels, that at the end of the day I just throw in my wash with everything else and air dry. The small amount of water I use is minimal compared to what I would be continually spending otherwise and my students still have dry happy hands. Think about the disposable products you use and see if there is an earth-friendly, money-friendly alternative, and remember it doesn’t have to have an “eco” label to save the earth.
3. Find a cleaner that does it all. At my studio we offer free mat rental, and after each use our students clean the mats, but in addition to the mats, our floors also need to be cleaned, bathroom, toilet, windows, countertops, and people need to wash their hands after going potty (can you tell I have kids). Young Living Essentials Oils has a wonderful product called Thieves Household Cleaner, which is a 100% plant and mineral based concentrate and is biodegradable and complies with EPA standards. Not only does one bottle last me three to six months-but it does everything. Just a cap full (about 1 Tablespoon per item) can wash my floors, fill a spray bottle to clean yoga mats and props, do my windows, counters, toilets and yes even wash my hands (in a reusable pump, just add water). Plus it’s antimicrobial and an immune system pick-me-up. I love knowing that what I’m using is synthetic free, smell wonderful and also helps me stay healthy, so I end up a being of immune-eco-friendliness.
4. Would you not like a receipt with that? Yep, we do not give our receipts unless requested. What a waste of paper, I myself throw away over half of all my receipts unless they are business related, and most people have no use for them. Our POS system allows us the option to not print any receipt even with credit cards unless requested and also if preferred a receipt can be e-mailed to the customer. We have a great retail boutique in addition to our studio, but even without that: Lets say you do 50 transactions a week and if your POS is hooked right up to your printer than that is a full sheet of paper, most paper comes in pack of 500, so just receipts alone you would waste a ream of paper in just over 2 months. Now think about every other studio that prints receipts-that adds up. In addition look at what you are using your paper for, I may be over the top, but we are constantly cutting up junk mail, envelopes, bottom half’s of bills and print outs that are blank or not being used, to then use as scrap paper. I’ve never bought a “note pad” for paper at my studio in all the six years of being open, people may have given me some, but what’s the point. You are buying scrap paper. Then afterwards, when that paper has filled its need, remember to shred it and use it for compost, packing or then recycle it.
5. Thank you for shopping at Menards, Wal-Mart, Target, K-Mart, Gap, these are what you see when you leave Copper Tree Yoga Studio after buying something, and other times, a stranger would suspect you to be shoplifting with your new yoga clothes and goodies held tightly in your hands or hanging from your purse. I have a boutique in my studio and many specialty shops and studios have cute little bags for your purchases, which cost money, and just get tossed afterward; not here. All our shopping bags given out are reused bags, boxes and many a times it’s the invisible bag, meaning my students just grab it and go. Of course we sell reusable bags that students love but, I love me a used bag. Plus many of my students are constantly giving me bags of their own, paper and plastic that they would otherwise throw away.
6. Check the thermostat-stat! Heat is expensive and is probably one of the major costs for most yoga studios, so when going green, you also hope to in the end saves some green. Consider a programmable thermostat, one that you can customize for various times of the day. Ours allows us to set various times for the heat to kick in and turn off so we are not wasting gas, energy, and money. Ours is sensitive to the temperature in the room and automatically kicks in when needed to heat the room to the appropriately temperature. My first year in the space I am currently in my heating cost nearly broke me, but after the new thermostat, over one Wisconsin winter, I saved over $1000.00 in heating costs. Other ideas are if you have direct doors to the outside, make sure you winterize them with weather stripping, install door sweeps, or possibly, invest in drapery if needed, this small cost may end up saving you big green.
7. Become a mini recycling center. Know of a use for something your students or community has abundance of? Well, become a drop off for such items. I offer students a place to recycle their yoga mats when they are ready to invest in a new one. The mats end up in very unique places, nursing homes, as potting accessories, water bottle squares, and one time we were able to gift several to a third world country as beds. Our studio also takes egg cartons-lots of egg cartons, I am in an area full of farmers and you wouldn’t believe the amount of cartons we get that I am able to give to local farmers and those who raise chickens, so then, they don’t have to spend the green to help people eat a greener egg. You might not do egg cartons, but what about a recycling bin for the plastic bottles, or how about shoes, there are plenty of programs that recycle shoes now, you just have to do a little research. So what is in your area, and can you fill that need?
8. Becoming eco-friendly also means you must become more friendly. Saving our planet goes way beyond what we are buying, using and reusing. It’s also about the energy we put out as people, how we recycle our own karma, and what we are doing to help others. So don’t worry if you can’t spend the green to go green, greening your studio means greening your attitude, your energy and your intentions. Don’t worry if your toilet paper didn’t come out of a box that says recycled, maybe paste a little note next to the toilet that says please be kind and use only what you need to help save our earth. Or pick up the litter around your building even if you don’t own it, say thank you more, smile more, and change your negative-nelly thoughts into ground breaking positive ones. Becoming eco-friendly also means you become friendlier in general; because to me, being eco-earth-friendly firstly, means that you are thinking about the earth, others and most importantly the good of your own life (style) and how you can contribute to the well-being of the planet and all who live there. ~Peace!