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 -



Metals


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!


Hair


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


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.



We can't ignore the recent published statistic that 67% of women feel too nervous to visit the salon during this time. While you need to be in charge of making decisions that you feel comfortable with, perhaps a walk through your potential visit could be helpful. Sometimes just knowing what to expect can eliminate some worry and be enough to encourage you to come and see for yourself that the salon environment is as safe as it can be.


If you like facts and figures, recent SAGE research shows that hairdressing is responsible for less than 0.05% of transmission of Covid-19. You can read more about that here.



What a typical visit looks like now


You will arrive at the salon, wearing your face covering, at the time of your appointment (on the odd occasion that your stylist has fallen behind, you may be asked via text message to delay your arrival) where your stylist - who will be wearing a face mask and clear visor - will be ready to greet you. First they will take your temperature using an infra-red thermometer, aimed at your forehead. You will then be asked to sanitise your hands with the alcohol hand gel we provide. This is done with every client who walks through the door and so you know that alongside you, everyone in the salon has no fever and clean hands!

Your stylist will walk you through the salon to their work station, which will have been thoroughly swept and cleaned using antibacterial spray on the mirror, shelf and chair. Their equipment and tools will have been sterilised after their last use, using barber-aid solution.

Once seated you will be dressed with a single-use plastic gown and couch roll for colour services, all of which is disposed of immediately after use.

Your services will be completed as normal, or perhaps even better than before (!) due to the fact that you will have the undivided attention of your stylist for the duration of your visit. In fact, the only person you will be in close contact with is your stylist.

To further increase safety, we have kept the salon at a maximum capacity of 4 stylists and 4 clients at any one time and so social distancing is a piece of cake.

As your visit is single contact, this means your shampoo services, payment and re-booking process will all be completed by your stylist.

If you are visiting us for a colour service or a service which requires you to sit alone for a period of time you will be offered a drink to enjoy during this time. This will be served in a single use, disposable cup. We ask all clients to only remove their mask when we are able to observe social distancing so that you know our personal exposure has been kept at an absolute minimum.

Once you have left the salon your stylist will have 10 - 15 minutes allocated to cleaning and sanitising in preparation for their next client.


Other measures we have taken to improve safety within the salon include (but are not limited to) the following -


Daily temperature checks on staff

Sanitising of the card machine after every use

Regular cleaning of any frequent touch points

Hand washing after every contact

Staff required to wear full PPE at all times, unless alone

Screens installed between basin chairs

Movable screens available for use around the salon if needed

Disposable hand towels installed in the toilet


We hope that we have covered everything to reassure you of how seriously we are taking the situation and how much time and effort we are, and will continue to, put in to guarantee that the salon and everyone inside it are as safe as possible. If there is something you are still unsure of please do not hesitate to contact us at Solihull or Halesowen.


We hope to see you soon!