There are so many things in our regular routines that often don’t get a second thought concerning the waste that's produced. One of those might be going to get a hair cut or color. It's something pretty much all of us do, maybe it's often, maybe it's only once or twice a year. You get a trim, or possibly several inches cut off. Maybe you get a full head of foiled highlights every six weeks. In any case, you probably haven’t given much thought to the waste that your salon or barbershop produces. Not much you can do about it anyway, right?
Well as you might have seen on some billboards around town, there is a local salon who IS doing something about it. And guys, it is really, really cool. This is not "greenwashing" to make a business look good; this is the real deal.
Salon Expressions, at 230 S. Columbia Street in Wenatchee, is one of Sustainable Wenatchee’s Tread Lightly Friday businesses. If you bring in an empty bottle of hair product for them to recycle, you get 10% off a new one. But we didn't actually come to them with this idea. Owner Leanne Peters has been partnering with Green Circle Salons for over a year, an organization that helps salons recycle almost all of their waste. In 2017, Salon Expressions recycled 463 pounds of solid waste and 57 pounds of liquid waste!
All hair clippings, extensions, excess color, paper and plastics, foils, aerosol cans and color tubes are collected and mailed to Green Circle Salons for recycling. Doing so effectively cuts down the salon’s total waste by around 90%!
Hair, you say? Hair clippings are repurposed into hair booms to help in oil spill cleanup and pet beds for disaster zones. Leftover hair color by-product is turned into a clean energy fuel. Chemical-laden foil is cleaned and recycled into new consumer products.
When you think about the total waste for all salons in North America, it adds up to a huge amount. Green Circle estimates over 63,000 lbs. of hair clippings, over 42,000 lbs. of hair color, nearly 110,000 lbs. of foil and color tubes, and over 206,000 lbs. of wastepaper, salon bottles, and other paper and plastic items are being tossed out by hair salons across North America EVERY SINGLE DAY.
While Salon Expressions is the only local salon that has taken advantage of this program, there are over 2,000+ salons, spas and barbershops in North America that currently participate. Since it started, Green Circle Salons has diverted more than 3.35 MILLION pounds of waste from landfills and waterways. We hope that other local salons will take advantage of this partnership and begin reducing their waste as well. In the meantime, consider Salon Expressions if you’d like an eco-friendly hair cut or color in the future. They are a perfect example of how one person might not be able to make a huge impact when it comes to recycling personal care products, but when a whole salon decides to make a change, the results are impressive.