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.

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!

  • Alexander James

It's no secret that life looks a little bit different now compared to this time last year. We are all learning how to live safely around Covid-19 whilst still trying to maintain a sense of normality. One thing which hasn't changed is that a huge part of how we feel can be attributed to how we look and so our precious salon visits are more important than ever before to keep us feeling strong and ready to take on each day!

Both of the Alexander James teams missed working so much during the lockdown and are so thankful to be back doing what they love - looking after their lovely clients! Part of caring for you and your hair means paying extra special attention to the environment you visit us in.

In early July the UK Government released a set of guidelines - some of which have now become law - for us to follow in order to ensure that we are doing all we can to make it safe for you to visit. This includes requirements such as temperature checks on arrival, all disposable everything (sorry environment!), PPE for all staff and clients, limiting the number of people in the salon at one time and allowing extra time for thorough and correct cleaning of work stations and equipment between appointments.

The lockdown had huge financial implications on the business, as we are sure it did for many many individuals. We all came out of it knowing that the economy would face many struggles whilst this situation continues to throw constant curve balls at us all! Not only did we lose 3 full months of trade, we then had to re-open under a totally different set of circumstances.

We are only able to see approximately 70% of the clients we would usually be able to see within a week. This is due to the extra time we book out after each appointment, as well as no longer booking clients into the development times of other services. This means that we can keep the numbers within the salon to a minimum as well as keeping each visit single contact. The team actually love this aspect, as the experience with their client feels much more personal - their undivided attention can be with you from the second you walk through the door until the moment you leave. The pace of work is much slower and the salon environment is calmer. We must take the positives where we can! Of course, all of the above meant we had to seriously look at our pricing structure to ensure the survival of the business under the new restrictions enforced upon us.

A typical salon day before covid consisted of most appointments being booked into 45 minute slots, back to back. We all know that everyone's hair is so different - long, short, thick, fine etc etc there is no 'one size fits all', yet we stuck to industry standard timings because...well, that was the done thing. This meant that we could charge every client the same price BUT a lot of the time stylists would be battling not to keep you waiting too long if they had a complicated appointment before yours which, on reflection, really wasn't fair!

This option is no longer available to us for a few reasons - we cannot have clients piling up in reception due to social distancing regulations and we need to have at least 10 minutes to sterilise our equipment before it can be used again.

That said, we have tired our best to keep the cost comparable for most of our clients, with prices rising £6-8 on average (unless a 1 hour appointment is needed for your hair) and most colour prices also remain similar now that we have fixed all of the post lockdown roots! If you are blessed with particularly long and/or thick hair then you may see a bit more of an increase due to the extra time your stylist needs to carry out your requirements under the new circumstances. Whilst we appreciate that this can be frustrating, we promise that the only thing you are paying extra for is the guarantee of a safe experience.

We could not be more overwhelmed by the support you have shown us through the most uncertain time of our lives so far. Obviously - we couldn't do it without you. We are constantly working on improving and tweaking the salon to make sure that you are still getting the relaxing experience and top quality service we have always taken pride in. This month we hope to re-introduce hot drinks (yay!) for our colour clients and are looking into magazines in electronic form so that we can once again offer reading material for anyone staying with us for a few hours! We love that little slices of normal are drifting back here and there <3

Thank you so much for being on this journey with us.

Love Alex and the team