We know many people are striving to live a 'greener' more 'eco-friendly' life. The environment is something everybody cares about and wants to protect. Whether it's being more responsible with your recycling or going completely plastic free, we know that people are becoming more and more conscious of their personal carbon footprint.
It is an unfortunate fact that the hairdressing industry is (unintentionally) extremely wasteful. Local council recycling centers are not able to deal with the vast majority of our recyclable waste, due to it being contaminated by chemicals.
Enter 'The Green Salon Collective' - an absolutely incredible company who launched in 2019, lead by hairdressers and environmental experts who's sole mission is to eliminate salon waste. Not only have they made it possible for us to recycle the un-recyclable, they have gone one step further in that they plant a tree for every cardboard box used as well as re-investing all commodity profits into charities such as Food Cycle and haircuts 4 homeless.
So what do we now recycle that we couldn't before and why is it so beneficial to the environment? Here's a breakdown -
As we mentioned above, local recycling centers are unable to take our highlighting foil and colour tubes, which are both aluminium, due them being contaminated with chemicals. This means that they end up in landfill where they take a whopping 400 years to break down, not to mention said chemicals, which are then absorbed into the land.
Through it's first 65 salons to join up, The Green Salon Collective recycled over 1 tonne of contaminated metals - roughly the same weight as a VW Beetle. Alexander James is now one of over 200 salons to join so you can imagine how much waste is now being prevented from ending up, unnecessarily, in landfill. And don't forget, metal recycles FOREVER!
Yes you heard us...hair! Your hair cuttings are now collected and used as one of two things.
We all know when our hair gets oily we cannot remove that oil with water alone - hence why we shampoo our hair. So we know that hair absorbs and holds on to oil.
Hair booms (pictured), which look a bit like a pair of tights stuffed full of hair, are used to stop the spread of and remove oil from water. These booms are integral in cleaning spills such as the most recent oil spill in Mauritius in August 2020, but are also used much more locally to keep our UK rivers clean.
Your hair cuttings will also be processed through a felting machine, similar to ones used in the production of carpets and rugs, to create hair mats which can then be used for gardening and composting. Due to hair being rich in nitrogen, when these mats are used underneath the soil they will help to feed the plants with protein, allowing for less watering and improved plant growth.
Chemicals do not belong in our environment. We really ought not to be sending them to landfill or washing them down the drain - something we regularly do within the hairdressing industry. Earlier in 2020 we installed VISH across both salons - a smart measuring system which records usage per individual and gets us much closer to zero wastage. Even with this we do still encounter times where we have mixed colour left over in our bowls. Luckily, through The Green Salon Collective, we can now collect all of this chemical wastage together and send it off to be converted into clean energy! Bowls are also then easier to clean, meaning less water usage. We can now say we are a Zero Chemicals to Landfill salon - something to be truly proud of.
Now you've read this answer this simple question - is all of that worth £1?
Yes?? We think so. You will now notice on your receipt our 'Salon Green Fee'. This £1 is added on to every appointment and is used to pay for this recycling service ONLY - we do not make profit from this service. And if you said no, don't worry - our Salon Green Fee is totally optional and can be removed simply by asking at the till.
We hope you enjoyed learning about all the ways in which we are able to recycle through the Green Salon Collective and that you are proud to know that when you choose Alexander James as your salon, you are choosing a salon committed to improving their sustainability and caring for the environment as well as for you and your hair.