To be honest, when I think hairdressing, I don’t think eco.
My mind automatically jumps to harsh chemicals, foil and plastic waste.
The exciting news is, businesses have caught onto the rise in eco-friendly consumers scouting out green alternatives, and they have adapted their practices to match their customer’s values. Hair salons included!
SSA are an online platform where you simply type in your postcode or suburb, and salons embracing sustainable and eco-friendly practices pop up. No googling, emails back and forward with the salon, and extensive late night research. SSA literally do all the work for you.
SSA have a goal: to achieve zero waste in the salon industry. They strive for zero waste by recycling 95% of their salon members’ waste. SSA do this by installing colour coded bins in a salon when they sign up. These are emptied by SSA every two weeks. The bins separate chemicals, metals, hair, plastic, paper, and razors. Once collected, each of these materials are recycled in different ways.
Eyewear companies, such as Dresden, melt the plastic shampoo bottles down to create colourful, classy eyewear. Plastic which cannot be recycled this way, is recycled by Plastic Forests. Plastic Forests turn the bottles into long lasting plastics like underground electrical cable cover which protects expensive assets and lasts for thousands of years.
Have you ever heard of a hair boom? A hair boom is essentially a stocking filled with hair swept up from the salon floor. It is used to soak up oil spills. A hair boom is an eco-friendly alternative that replaces usual oil spill remedies, like dispersants, which are costly to the environment. When the hair is long, SSA members donate it to Variety to be turned into wigs and used by children who suffer from hair loss due to illness. SSA go above and beyond to work out how every piece of waste can be turned into another resource.
“We believe that if we as an industry come together and share a common goal of zero waste, we can make a change that will have a positive outcome for future generations, the environment and our industry as a whole.”
But what about the foil, razors, and old hair straighteners that can’t be salvaged?
Of course, SSA have found a way to recycle these too. Every single part of a broken appliance is recycled. Even the chords on hair dryers! To top it off, all proceeds gained from recycling salon waste are given back to charities, like food based charity, OZ Harvest. SSA take corporate responsibility to a new level.
On top of collecting and recycling salon waste, SSA encourage their salon members to activate other energy saving and waste reducing practices. Salons have replaced walls for glass sliding doors to reduce their air-conditioning bills and electricity, and instead use natural light and airflow. Others use upcycled décor, natural shampoos, or chemical free hair dyes.
Going to a salon for a basic self-care cut, shouldn’t make you feel guilty. With so many salon options on Sustainable Salons Australia, it doesn’t have to. SSA don’t compromise on quality. They simply enhance your salon experience by giving you peace of mind that your fabulous mop didn’t come at the cost of the planet.
I live and breathe sustainable living and ethical fashion. This alternative way of consuming and existing dominates my every waking moment- and sometimes more. Ethical fashion and living are no longer my hobbies, it has become my mission... to change the future of fast fashion and the way we consume. My husband and I strive to live a zero-waste lifestyle, live at thrift stores, and always look to 'up-cycle' rather than throw out. Eco-living is not a choice for me, it's in my blood, and I am trying with all my power for it to be the new 'norm'.