Creating a more sustainable, eco-friendly salon is much easier than you might think. The world we now live in gives us much more choice when it comes to protecting our planet, whether that be the products you stock or your chosen energy supplier. In fact, being eco-friendly is fast transitioning from a trend to a core value modern generations cherish. And it’s high time for hair salons to lean in!
Whether you want to make your salon more sustainable, choose to get your hair done by the environmentally responsible business, or seek information on how your preferred salon can cut down on the negative impact, we have many helpful tips to share. Enabling ourselves, and those around us to make sustainable choices will help us protect our planet in the long term.
Sustainability is something that we need to be aware of without thinking so that it becomes our second nature to recognize potential pitfalls and alter them. Creating a sustainable strategy will enable you to easily identify potential “leaky holes” in your salon and ways to make a change.
A firm strategy helps you effectively communicate your vision to the employees and customers, design a plan as to what direction you want to steer your green practices towards, and set a time frame. It provides a level of consistency to follow, even though further development and growth are always welcome. Here are 10 simple steps that can make part of this strategy.
1. Go Digital
Our industry has a plethora of digital systems that allow us to easily track and manage data. This can be for resources such as:
- Training Guides
- Record Cards
- Appointment Reminders
Not only does this reduce unnecessary paper waste, but it also allows for accessible resources for staff and efficient marketing for old and new clients. Check with your suppliers and bank if they offer paperless billing/statements, as most now do.
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2. Look in Your Bin!
Look at what you are throwing away. Can it be recycled? Can it be repurposed? Or are there other options on the market that mean less waste?
Check with your local council what they will recycle for you, each council differs. Or there are dedicated Salon recycling services such as The Green Salon Collective.
Bear in mind, that many biodegradable advertised items can still take months or years to biodegrade and must be in ideal conditions to do so. So do thorough research if you are looking to stock biodegradable items.
3. Choosing Your Core Brand
Choosing a core range that reflects your values and ethos is arguably the most important element of creating a sustainable salon. Once you have determined what your values are, and where you want your salon to be on the sustainability spectrum, you can consider what brand to carry that compliments this.
Things to consider when searching for the brand that best suits you and your salon are:
- Packaging – is it recyclable and/or recycled?
- Is it organic, or even better bio-dynamic?
- Is the brand owned by a bigger corporation that doesn’t have the same values?
- Is it vegan and cruelty free?
- Does the design of the retail product enable you to offer a refill service for your clients from your backbar stock?
- Is the brand visibly sustainable across their social media channels and/or website?
4. Reduce Chemical Waste
Whatever brand you stock for color, there is no getting past that it is a chemical. At Green & Co we closely monitor our color usage, this is not to say we are tight, but simply to limit the amount of waste that will go down the sink.
Switching from a measuring cup to digital scales will allow you to accurately weigh out smaller amounts of color. This is particularly beneficial when it comes to creating custom formulas, as you can measure minuscule amounts that we all know make a lot of difference to the end result.
Set your team incentives for minimized waste, pour all mixed and unused products into a jar every week, and set goals to reduce it week on week. Getting your team on board is so integral to any sustainable strategy you put in place. While elements of sustainability must come from a persons’ heart, it doesn’t hurt to incentivize and reward the team effort.
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5. Support Other Local Independent Businesses
Green & Co has always firmly believed that creating a sustainable local economy is just as important as creating sustainable working practices within your salon. Supporting other local, like-minded businesses creates an incredible working relationship with the community that helps you get your message out there and that will pay you back tenfold.
Some examples of local independent businesses that you can support are:
- Tea & coffee suppliers
- Chocolate / biscuit / cake makers
- Local tradesmen/tradeswomen
- Graphic designers
6. Green Energy
Energy is often an overlooked thing because it is just there, doing its thing to keep our hairdryers on and our water warm. However, it’s something we use every single day, and we use a lot of it.
Switching to a green energy supplier such as Bulb or Octopus, supports sustainable energy and reduces your carbon footprint.
7. The Team
Without a doubt, it is crucial that your team are on board with your vision and sustainable strategy. Multiple brains are always better than one, and while you will be the driving force behind the strategy, they will be the ones carrying it forward in the day-to-day practices of the salon. Also, they will be the ones communicating the values of the salon to the customers and attracting new clientele that can relate to the idea of sustainability.
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8. Listen & Communicate with Your Clients
Clients provide us with invaluable insight that we, as stylists and owners, don’t see or experience. Clients will always prove to be a fantastic source of inspiration and change. So when a client says, “What do you do with all these foils?” that’s a lightbulb moment to make a change.
As a salon, you have an incredible audience to be communicating your initiatives and practices to (something many other industries aren’t as fortunate to have). We spend long periods of time with our guests on an often personal level, giving us time to convey and educate them about our values and practices.
9. The Nooks and Crannies
This is what I like to call all those little things that we tend to easily forget about, but are often used in high volume. The list is endless but here are some things we looked at and changed for more sustainable alternatives:
- Cleaning Products – Koh
- Laundry detergent – Eco Egg
- Milk – Milkman (Glass bottles)
- Toilet paper & tissues – Who Gives a Crap
- Foil – Paper Not Foil
- Lighting – LED Lighting
- Hair Cuttings – Great for compost
- Shredded paper -> Great for small animal bedding
- Coffee pods -> Used coffee grinds are perfect for composting and the aluminium outers can be recycled
- Tea Bags – Plastic-free tea bags
- Water – Ecoheads showerheads
Have a walk through of your salon, looking at every minute detail, and consider whether it can be changed to offer a more sustainable way of operating.
Creating a sustainable salon doesn’t always happen overnight, it can be a multi-faceted operation, but the smallest changes make a big difference. Whether it takes you days, weeks, months or years – you’re making an unbelievable difference to the industry and our planet.
Creating a sustainable environment is ongoing, it never ends – there will always be something we can adapt and improve on. Feel free to follow our Green & Co story through our website and social media.