It’s no secret that waste and pollution are contributing mightily to the demise of the planet’s eco- system. Whether you’re a strict, zero-waste practitioner or simply looking for eco-friendly initiatives you can put into practice quickly, Earth Month is a great time to focus on what you and your salon can do to minimize your impact on the planet. And let’s face it, a focus on sustainability is also good business—it appeals to staff and clients alike. With all of this in mind, here are five ways to increase your sustainability habits in the salon. Best of all, you can start today.
Investigate Sustainable Product Packaging
All of those shampoo, conditioner and styling product bottles and cartons are headed to the landfill when empty. So try to be conscious of recycling all items that are eligible (and rinse them thoroughly before discarding them.) Also, take some time to investigate companies that reduce packaging waste. Biolage Professional signature bottles, for example, are made of 100-percent post-consumer recycled plastic. This significantly reduces the amount of virgin resin used and saves more 30 tons of virgin plastic every year. To celebrate Earth Day, Biolage is offering a specially-designed tote bag made of recycled bottles. For this project, Biolage has recycled nearly 1 million bottles and avoided using a total of 183,196 poly bags. Right now, the bags are included with special edition Biolage Earth Day shampoo and conditioner duos featuring the vibrant artwork of Seattle-based designer and illustrator Jess Phoenix.
Recycle Your Salon Waste
If you do nothing else as a salon professional, make an effort to recycle salon waste. There are now resources such as SalonCycle and Green Circle for collecting and reusing hair clippings, foil and excess hair color—all the things that up until now have been nearly impossible to recycle. These places make it easy. With SalonCycle through Salon Centric, for example, you merely pop the discarded items in a receptable that they provide and use the pre-affixed UPS label to send the receptacles off for recycling.
Another way to contend with salon waste is to create less of it in the first place. For example, many new digital hair color management systems zero in on precise formula measurements for every color client and service so there’s nothing left to throw away after the application.
Also, there are now foil alternatives made or paper or cotton that appeal to many beauty pros since dirty aluminum foil is notoriously difficult to recycle.
Repurpose and Reuse
Think twice before you throw anything away. Worn or stained towels, for instance, can be donated to a local animal shelter. If you’re updating your tech hardware, look into donating your old computers and tablets to shelters, senior centers, schools or libraries. Considering a salon remodel? Instead of tearing everything out, perhaps it’s possible to reupholster your existing chairs and refinish existing surfaces. You might also look into sourcing vintage furniture that can be used as shelving, display tables and cupboards rather than buying new.
Banish Paper and Plastic
Even if they can be recycled, paper and plastic cups, plates and cutlery produce a lot of waste. So if you’re offering coffee, tea, cold beverages and snacks in the salon, do so using washable cups, glasses and plates. It may take a bit more effort to wash up the dishes at the end of the day, but it will keep loads of materials out of the trash.
Lights, appliances, computers—they all cause massive drains on energy, and your income, This could be a good time to do an energy inventory in your salon. Have you switched out your lighting to LEDs? Is it possible to install motion lights in restrooms and other low-traffic areas which will automatically switch on only when needed? You may also want to upgrade your washer and dryer to more energy-efficient models. Same goes for your computers and even your thermal tools—blow dryers, styling irons, etc. At the end of the day, a little less energy output goes a long way towards curbing pollution and saving money.