Making steps toward an eco-friendly salon
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Eco-friendliness and sustainability have been buzzwords in the salon industry for more than a decade, but being green is now more than just a trend, it’s a responsibility.
Climate change and the projections for our environment are a growing concern, and as large contributors to waste, salon owners are ever mindful of their responsibilities towards a cleaner, more sustainable business practices.
So, why should you go Green?
Over 1.5 million kg of foil and colour tube waste was dumped into Australian landfills last year, despite aluminium having the ability to maintain its quality and properties after being recycled time and time again. So, why wouldn’t we?
Recycling aluminium saves energy: re-melting used aluminium saves up to 95% of the energy needed to produce the primary product. In other words, the recycling process emits only 5% of the greenhouse gas emitted in primary aluminium production. Aluminium foil is just one small example of the materials that salons can reuse more wisely.
While there’s not yet an industry-wide push to Green-up salon operations, eco-salons are becoming increasingly popular across the globe. These businesses, along with organisations like Sustainable Salons, are taking matters into their own hands, and leading the way towards an environmentally friendly hair industry.
It’s hard to change your methods and processes overnight. After all, they work! But just because something’s not broken doesn’t mean it can’t be fixed.
What’s in it for your business?
Society is taking an increasingly serious look at their eco-footprint in the home — so why should it be any different in the workplace?
One of the biggest misconceptions is that going green will cost you the Earth. When in fact, these practices are likely to save you money.
Many eco-friendly steps simply involve being mindful: turning off a light or unplugging appliances that aren’t in use. These habits are free and will also save you money in the long run.
In the past, eco-friendly products have been more expensive but with the demand for more environmentally friendly products growing, prices are becoming more competitive.
Incorporating sustainability into your salon is becoming easier, more profitable, and more important.
If the price is still an issue for your business, eco-friendly products are easily made with basic, every day, ingredients. Think baking soda, vinegar, lemon — these products have been used for generations and should not be overlooked!
Better your reputation
Going green is a great marketing opportunity. You’ve now expanded your customer base exponentially: pregnant people, people who favour sustainability in their purchasing decisions, and people who might be sensitive to harsh synthetic chemicals.
Going green is now a global initiative, so if your business can cater to those wanting to reduce their footprint, then you’re in the money.
Tips to go green
Reducing your carbon footprint is about creating simple and sustainable habits that you and your staff can maintain.
1. Re-think you lights
Energy-saving light bulbs like LEDs can be a controversial topic in hair and beauty salons. Your lights need to be:
- bright (or dim) enough for you to do your best work
- flattering enough to show off a client’s hair or skin
- true enough to show colours properly
Offering sustainable options means that clients can do their part and further reduce their carbon footprint!
So you may decide that LEDs aren’t the right move for client-centred spaces, especially if you can rely on natural light instead. But that still leaves your waiting areas, your front desk, and any back-of-house spaces. LEDs cost a bit more at the shop, but since they last about 60 times as long, you’ll save that money in the long run.
Aside from this, simply remind staff to turn off lights in staff rooms, or vacant treatment rooms! Only have a light switched on when you really need it. If you’re ready to get fancy, there’s always motion-triggered lights, which will automatically shut off if the room is still for a certain amount of time.
2. Conserve water
Check your salon for leaks. Slow drips can contribute to tonnes of wastewater per month, which is damaging to the environment, and your pocket. Have a plumber check your taps and washers to make sure they’re up to scratch – if there’s an issue, the plumbing bill will pay for itself in no time in the money that you save further down the line.
For hair salons, water efficient products like EcoHead Shower Heads are a great investment to conserve water, which saves you energy and money.
3. Check your flow
It’s not just water that leaks! Cracks in your building can let air flow in and out of your salon without you even noticing. If you live in a climate with cold winter or hot summers, this can have a big impact on the amount of energy you’re using to heat and cool your space – and the amount of money you’re spending on it.
The obvious places to check are your windows and doors. Some of these leaks you’ll be able to handle yourself if you know your way around a caulking gun or feel comfortable applying foam or vinyl weatherstripping. Other checks like your ceiling, ventilation ducts, and electrical outlets will probably need to be done by a professional.
4. Reuse, reduce and recycle
Organise your waste
Equip your salon with good recycling systems to better organise waste paper, glass, plastics, hair, and foils. Ideally, 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.
Choose recyclable or reusable products
Aluminium foils line the rubbish bin fast on a busy day at the salon — so make sure you’re using foils that are made of recyclable materials. From there, make sure you offer them another life by disposing of them correctly. Brands such as Re-foil offer colouring foils from recycled aluminium.
Be smart with plastics
Plastics provide another pain point, but there are things we can do here too! Purchase products that can offer refills, not only for the salon but for your customers. That way clients can bring in their own containers, be it glass or recycled plastic bottles, and fill their eco shampoos and conditioners.
One of the biggest movements in the beauty industry is developing better green technology for packaging. Some of these changes include using biodegradable materials, using less plastic, and even printing in soy ink. Be wise when choosing products for your salon — there are products out there that support your business in doing the right thing.
5. Choose eco-friendly appliances
Where possible, purchase appliances with a good energy rating. Energy-smart appliances conserve more energy and water than standard appliances. Using natural detergents with your appliances will also help alleviate environmental pollution.
6. Fewer, bigger loads
Only press ‘start’ on your machine when it’s full. This is a simple way to save water and energy and reduce CO2 emissions. This might mean investing in a few more towels as you figure out your new laundry schedule, but you’ll get back the money on your power bill.
There’s no planet B
We understand that it can all feel a bit overwhelming – new product lines! 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.
“Contributing to a better environment doesn’t always have to be about sweeping changes.”
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?
Remember too that you’re not alone. There are initiatives out there that provide tips and tricks for salon owners to take charge of their waste minimise their carbon footprint.