Top sustainability tips for the salon industry from Sustainable Salons

We asked our friends at Sustainable Salons to share their top tips to help you on your sustainability journey. If you’re interested in helping your salon or barbershop to become more sustainable, check out this guest blog from Sustainable Salons.

In 2010, Sustainable Salons founders Paul Frasca and Ewelina Soroko embarked on a long journey in the name of waste research. After 4 months and $7,000 in petrol they discovered that salon waste had nowhere to go! Salons alone were sending 1 million kilograms of infinitely recyclable aluminium foil to landfill every year!

What most salons are surprised to hear is that up to 95% of salon waste is actually recyclable.
Plastics from your bin can be upcycled and made into sunglasses, pet leash handles, even outdoor furniture. And the hair clippings on your salon floor? They can go towards helping clean up oil spills in our oceans!

Our network’s impact has shown that the salon industry can be pioneers in making sustainability a reality and now we’re on a mission to share this with everyone. Below are some of our top tips to help your salon become more sustainable.

1. Separate at the source

Recycling is a two-way street. Organisations like ours – and even your residential recyclers – rely on one important step to make sure our best practices don’t go to waste. It’s the part of the process that happens in those first few moments after you’ve used/emptied/exhausted a product: which bin?

This is make or break. Here’s why.

What you do matters. It’s easy to feel like you’re only a small piece of the puzzle, and that what you do probably doesn’t make that much of a difference. We hear this all the time in the sustainability space: “but I’m just one person”. Let us set the record straight here and now. Your actions at that moment determine not only that item’s pathway but potentially the pathway of the other items in that bin as well.

Before you toss, consider which bin you need to put your product in. Our in-salon bins that we provide to Sustainable Salons members makes this super easy to do!

2. Give materials a meaningful second life!

You may not want or need it anymore, but maybe someone else does! Before you throw it away, think outside the box – is there another use?

Our Ponytail Donation Program is the perfect example of this in action; amazing hair that would once end up in landfill is now repurposed into wigs for those suffering from medically-induced hair-loss.

Another one we often get asked about is what to do with old salon towels. We may not have a textile recycling option at the moment, but that doesn’t mean they need to go to landfill. We always suggest asking your local animal shelter if they need donated towels; the answer is almost always yes!

3. Think beyond ‘planet’ when you think sustainability

Sustainability isn’t just about the planet! Yep, you read that right. ‘Planet, people and profit’ make the three P’s of sustainability.

When you pledge to become a Sustainable Salon, your salon is helping feed the hungry. Proceeds from your salon bin (aluminium, foil, colour tubes, shampoo bottles, razors and more) are donated to KiwiHarvest, and so far, we’ve donated 169,000* meals to those in need! A full head of foils can provide a meal to someone in need, a feel-good story that all salon clients love to hear!

Know that your business can impact many, many more people than simply the end customer who walks in and out your salon doors, as well as progress the circular economy in the feel-good industry. And this impact is jam-packed full of opportunities to thrive!

4. Support ethically minded products and businesses

The reality is that our economy does in fact make the world go round. In order to build strong, sustainable, self-sufficient communities, we need to focus our energies on what’s fruitful – ethically-minded businesses that create employment and products that advance the human race without destroying our habitat. Before purchasing a new salon item, or ordering with a new supplier, do your research first and support what’s sustainable to help drive a more circular economy.

This practice allows the salon owner to communicate, market and be part of powerful initiatives that demonstrate to the client that investing in a sustainable salon business, that supports other sustainable like-minded businesses, leads to so much more than just the treatment glow they leave with. This builds repeat business, profit, security, and a strong future for that community.

So there you have it. These first steps into sustainability can make a positive impact on our environment and community.

If you’re keen to join more than 1,300 salons in the movement and become a certified Sustainable Salon register your interest here.

About Sustainable Salons:
Sustainable Salons is a unique social enterprise and the first comprehensive resource recovery program designed for the salon environment that rewards salons and gives back to the community.

Founded by Paul Frasca and Ewelina Soroko in 2015, Sustainable Salons specialises in collecting up to 95% of the salon bin and redirecting all material for reuse, recycling and repurposing solutions.

The program also offers rewards for salons’ recycling efforts with useful items and savings for their business, while 100% of the recycling proceeds are donated to OzHarvest and KiwiHarvest; charitable organisations that are dedicated to feeding the most vulnerable in our communities.

*169,000+ meals donated to KiwiHarvest & OzHarvest

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