How a group of salons across the country is working to lessen their massive carbon footprint

How a group of salons across the country is working to lessen their massive carbon footprint

While a trip to the hair salon may be for cosmetic purposes, the reality of these beauty services comes at an environmental cost, with millions of pounds of waste each year. To help combat the problem, an environmental organization of nearly 4,000 participating salons across the US and Canada is working to address the industry’s massive carbon footprint through recycling.

“I think a lot of customers don’t realize how much junk a salon produces,” Jennifer Barber, brand manager for Bob Steele Salons in Atlanta, Georgia, told Dana Jacobson of CBS Mornings.

According to national environmental group Green Circle Salons, the beauty industry throws out around 877 pounds of waste every minute, which amounts to around half a million pounds a day.

Last year, Bob Steele Salons joined a growing group of salons across the country when it became certified sustainable, meaning the establishment now recycles 95% of its waste. As part of Green Circle, the Atlanta salon fills boxes with waste such as aluminum foil, hair clippings and chemical hair dyes before shipping them to the organization’s Illinois facility.

“We felt it was the right thing to do to support our community and be a leader and make sure we’re doing the right thing to reduce our carbon footprint,” said Barber.

While at the recycling plant, professionals recycle materials like plastic and hair into new usable forms.

Shane Price, founder and CEO of Green Circle Salons, told Jacobson that the organization has explored different possibilities for recycling hair waste, such as using it to make salon trash cans and even turning it into an amino acid soup to be used as bio-stimulant for agriculture.

The group collaborates with partners to separate chemicals from the water into hair dyes, which can later be neutralized into salt and water before being safely returned to the wastewater network. And the layer of oil removed from the dyes can be used later to feed the system that feeds the entire process.

“Whether it’s masks or capes or aprons, it’s all just plastic that can be shredded and can be repelled into pellets, plastic beads and made into new PPE and new products that, you know, we need to use,” Price said.

The environmental measures taken by thousands of salons across the country have had an impact on the clientele.

Bob Steele Salons client Lauren Ramsey said knowing that the salon she attends is certified sustainable “absolutely” is important to her.

“I’ve been a customer here for about 15 years, so it’s one of the best things about this place,” Ramsey told Jacobson. I think every company should strive to be eco-friendly and green.”

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