Salon sustainability

Are you wondering how to make your salon more eco-friendly? Eco-friendliness and sustainability have been buzzwords in the salon industry for the past few years, but being green is more than just a trend, it’s a responsibility.

Beauty comes at a price, and at the moment it’s an expensive one for our environment. Hair and beauty salons have a huge impact on the health of our planet. It’s up to us, as business owners, to lead by example.

We understand that it can all feel a bit confusing – vegan hair dye! carbon neutral furniture! natural light only! – but don’t let it turn you off, or put it into the ‘too hard’ bucket. Being eco-friendly is more achievable than ever.

If you’re ready to take establish some eco-friendly habits in your salon, spa or barber shop, we’re here to help. Below you’ll find everything you need to know about salon sustainability, including interviews with eco-friendly gurus, step by step sustainability guides and hacks for reducing your salon waste.

Remember – little changes make a big difference. Reducing your carbon footprint is about creating simple and sustainable habits that you and your staff can maintain. Start making greener choices today – not only will our planet love your for it, your clients will too!

Give yourself the chance to set a budget, sort out your pricing and explore creative ways to unlock the hidden cash in your business. We’re here to help you every step of the way. Let’s do this.

So, what does being ‘eco-friendly’ mean and why does it matter for my business?

Eco-friendly is all about reducing harm to our environment. You can engage in eco-friendly practices by being more conscious of how you use resources like water and energy in your salon, spa or barber shop. 

Why do salons need to go green? The short answer is – there’s no reason not to! Eco-salons are becoming increasingly popular across the world. The benefits of going green far outweigh the effort you put in. Not only will you be contributing to a healthier environment, you’ll be saving money and welcoming new clients. Not a bad result from a few easy new habits, right? Here’s the top reasons why salon sustainability should be on your radar:


There’s no doubt about it – going green is a client acquisition opportunity. You could expand your client base exponentially: pregnant people, people who prioritise sustainability in their purchasing decisions, and people who are sensitive to harsh synthetic chemicals.

Many consumers prefer to buy products that have implemented some kind of eco-friendly initiative – this might be as simple as recyclable packaging, right up to ethically-produced or sustainably-sourced ingredients. Adopting these products in your business, and then marketing their green benefits to clients, is a great way to increase sales, and referrals! If your competitors haven’t greened up their salons, then this is your chance to stand out.


One of the biggest misconceptions about going green is that it will cost you the earth. In fact, these eco-friendly habits are likely to save you money. Think about it. When you switch off the lights and unplug any unused appliances, you’re going to spend less money when it comes to your bills, right? 

This means that in time, operating costs will lessen. Even small things like turning lights off in empty treatment rooms, or fixing leaky taps in your hair basins, will help save money and the environment.

How about your retail sales? As the demand for environmentally friendly, cruelty-free or vegan products rise, prices are becoming more competitive too. Hello retail profits!


Climate change is a growing concern, and as large contributors to waste, salon owners should establish more sustainable business practices.  After all, there’s no planet B. Hair and beauty salons especially have come under fire due to the amount of toxins and waste they use in their treatments (hair foils, plastics etc). Fortunately, there’s still ways we can turn it around. 

The Timely success blueprint to salon sustainability

Are you ready to implement some eco-friendly habits in your salon? Here’s how to fast track your journey to becoming a sustainable salon:

1) Replace your lights with eco-savers

Swap incandescent and fluorescent bulbs for light-emitting diodes (LED). LED lights use 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting. LEDs can be a big upfront cost, but since they last about 25 times as long, you’ll save money in the long run. If you’re ready to get fancy, there’s also motion-triggered lights, which will automatically shut off if no activity is detected for a certain amount of time. Want a quick sustainability win? Only have a light switched on when you really need it. 

2) Conserve water

Only run your taps when needed. Water efficient products like EcoHead Shower Heads are a great investment to conserve water, which again, can save you energy and money. Have a plumber check your taps and washers for leaks. Slow drips can contribute to tonnes of wasted water per month, which is damaging to the environment, not to mention your pocket. 

3) Get savvy with your salon waste disposal methods

Waste not, want not.Equip your salon with good recycling systems – find out whether there are companies like Sustainable Salons in your area so you can be sure that your waste is being disposed of sensibly, and in a way that can be beneficial later in its lifecycle.

4) Choose recyclable and reusable products

Aluminium foils fill up rubbish bins fast on a busy day at the salon — so make sure you’re using foils that are made of recyclable materials. Prioritise products that are environmentally safe, made from recycled materials, or that are reusable to cut down on landfill waste.  Be sure to advertise this to your clients, too.

5) Wash salon towels efficiently

Washing partial loads can consume a lot more energy and water than if the washing machine is full. This is a simple way to save water and reduce CO2 emissions. It might mean investing in more towels as you figure out your new laundry schedule, but you’ll get back the money on your power bill. There are also laundry detergents on the market that use less water and soap to clean stains. Some clients are sensitive to towels that have been overly bleached and washed as well, so be sure to choose a more natural detergent. 

Common salon sustainability questions:

Still struggling to know how to dispose of salon waste? Getting tangled up in the difference between eco hair products and vegan hair products? There’s no need to stress over sustainability – we’ve got you covered! Let’s consult the hair and beauty professionals who are leading the eco-friendly charge:

What’s the best way to dispose of salon waste?

Working with a company like Sustainable Salons can help you recycle up to 95% of your salon waste. 

“We go directly to the salon door to collect more than 95% of the salon’s waste fortnightly. We provide all in-salon bins and outside collection bins to suit their needs.” – Paul Frasca, Sustainable Salons Australia

Let’s hear how else Paul and his team dispose of salon waste in a sustainable way:


Aluminium is infinitely recyclable. We divert all of a salon’s foil, aluminium colour tubes, canisters and product packaging from landfill back into recycled resources.


The hair swept up from the salon floor is transformed in hair booms. So, when a client comes in to get a haircut, they’re potentially contributing to the clean-up of an oil spill in The Great Barrier Reef.


Chemical waste is turned back into clean water used for manufacturing and building, rather than going down the drain and contaminating our oceans.


Even plastic bags have a story. They’re all sent to an award-winning company called Plastic Forest who turn them into heavy-duty plastic walls that go underground to protect our NBN.

Author Avatar
Paul Frasca
Founder, Sustainable Salons

Is aluminium foil recyclable? Or, are there alternatives to using foil? 

Even though aluminium can be recycled, it produces toxic salt cake which can’t be disposed of easily. Luckily, there are alternative options: 

Paper Not Foil is a fully sustainable alternative to using aluminium or plastic to colour hair. Paper Not Foil is made of construction waste – calcium carbonate with a degradable food resin. It is completely degradable so when you dispose of it, it simply turns to dust with absolutely no detriment to our environment.

“Our paper foils are made from industrial waste and have the ability to be reused up to three times. They’re fully degradable, recyclable, compostable, easier to apply, faster, no noisy rustling, easier to wash out, lighter on the head, no waste, easy to prepare, no folding, can be made into any size and shape for creative colouring, cheaper for our salons to use.”

Author Avatar
Amanda Buckingham
Paper Not Foil

Being sustainable is no longer a choice, it’s a responsibility

So, you’ve implemented some eco-friendly habits in you salon. What’s next? Spread the word! The best thing you can do is simply get the conversation going with your clients… then find new ways to keep it going! Chat to them about the eco-friendly initiatives you’re implementing, create visual marketing in your salon to catch their interest and find avenues for them to actively contribute. Then go one step further and engage your local press – it’s amazing what attention you can generate just by letting your local newspaper/radio/tv station know about what you’re doing!

Being sustainable is no longer a choice, it’s a responsibility. Educate yourself and others, and take steps to begin running a sustainable salon today.

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