We just celebrated Earth Day on Monday and while there’s so many things we can do in our homes, there are even more that we can do in a salon.
It can seem overwhelming just knowing where to start. I remember when I tried to make changes at my salon, it was definitely a gradual process. But remember, that doing something is much better than nothing at all. Making easy and small changes will not only help the environment but also reduce your overhead, and help the bottom line. Here are my tips to change your salon culture and commit to “going green.”
Energy Saving Practices
I’m going to start with some of not only the most common, but also the easiest to change.
- Change to LED bulbs. According to Minardi Color Perfect Lighting, running at a fraction of the cost of traditional lights, LEDs can reduce lighting bills by up to 80 per cent. Plus, with a lifespan of 13 years or more (compared with just 3,000 hours for standard lighting), it will now be years before the salon will need to change a globe.
- Conserve electricity by only using energy when you need it. Unplug curling irons and flat irons. Turn off hood dryers and lights when not being used. Consider installing motion-sensor lighting in restrooms and break rooms.
3. You can even make an evening checklist to make sure computers, copy machines, coffee machines and any other electrical sources are turned off. Also find out if your electric company has a renewable electricity program that allows you to purchase renewable electricity instead of nonrenewable electricity.
4. Use less water by replacing your old hot-water heater with an instant hot-water system. It provides a never-ending supply of hot water when you need it, and you don’t waste energy to heat water when it’s not in use.
5. Control your salon’s temperature with a NEST Thermostat. It learns what temperature you like and builds a schedule around yours. Since 2011, the Nest Thermostat has saved billions of kWh of energy in millions of homes worldwide. And independent studies showed that it saved people an average of 10% to 12% on heating bills and 15% on cooling bills.
6. Don’t forget about your windows! Tinted windows help block UV rays and keep your salon cooler, and installing ceiling fans can also help make sure your air conditioning system is not overworked
7. Create a refill station. This may be a new concept to many salon owners and stylists. Truly eco-friendly salons and companies are beginning to understand the value of plastic-saving techniques by offering refillable containers for in-salon products like back bar shampoos, conditioners, and styling products.
By refilling, not only your back bar products, but offering it to your clients, eliminates the amount of waste dumped into the environment. Also, the refills cost less than purchasing brand new plastic products every month, increasing your retail profits by 20%! Talk about eliminating waste and becoming an eco-friendly salon at the same time!
Non toxic cleaning products
8. Switch over to eco friendly and economical cleaning products! I recommend Snap products. They were developed with the environment in mind, using plant-based ingredients that are biodegradable, phosphate free, non-toxic and bottled in recyclable containers. They also give you the cleaning power of a variety of cleaners, saving you time, money and valuable storage space.
Improve air quality
9. Adding potted plants produces oxygen, helping to balance out carbon dioxide emissions
10. Switch to non aerosol products. If you’ve ever been in a salon on prom day or when there are wedding parties, you know exactly what I mean!
11. Use truly formaldehyde free keratin treatments. Professionals are no strangers to the controversy surrounding the popularity of keratin treatments. A lot of companies hide behind false claims of being formaldehyde-free, but in laboratory tests, many of these companies’ keratin treatments were found to have extremely high levels of formaldehyde. Before you fall for their false claims, ask for lab reports or request a sample to lab test!
12. Using ammonia-free color is one of the best things you can do for both their health and yours. Not only has ammonia been linked to many health issues, it also makes your salon an incubator for toxic smells and fumes.
Ammonia is used to blast open the cuticle so that the color molecules can reach inside the hair. Due to the corrosive effects of ammonia, the hair’s pH is then altered to an extreme and has a hard time closing; thus, locking in the beautiful color you just applied. The great news is, there have been a lot of innovations and there are many healthier hair color lines available;e.
13. Offer safer beauty products. The organic beauty boom is part of the larger shift in customer awareness about health and wellness. Consumers have access to more information than ever before, thanks to a growing number of beauty blogs and social media accounts dedicated to the benefits of going chemical-free.
14. Green Circle Salons truly saw a basic need and facilitated a positive change to benefit the environment and salon owners themselves. If you’re a salon owner and you walk into a recycler with one big bag of foils, that recycler will refuse to recycle them. “Many salon owners keep their businesses “green” through recycling, LED lighting, energy conservation and other eco-friendly practices. But there are still a lot of materials that go to waste every day, including hair, leftover color and foils” According to the Green Circle Salon they “collect, recycle & repurpose your salon or spa’s hair, foils, color-tubes, papers and plastics, glass, spa waste AND divert excess hair chemicals from being rinsed down the drain. Green Circle makes weekly rounds to collect hair, paper, plastic, metals, and chemicals. The foils and plastics are then cleaned and recycled, while the chemicals are sent to a chemical-waste plant.
15. What about the hair you might ask? It’s being diverted from the landfill and being made into oil-absorbing booms for oil-spill containment by inmates at the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women in Maple Ridge. They are paid to stuff the hair into used stockings which not only benefits them but also is an amazing resource for oil control around the world.
16. Buy recycling trashcans and place them next to the regular trashcans. Switch out your paper business cards, stationery and retail bags to 100 percent postconsumer recycled paper. Ask guests if they need a bag for retail purchases instead of automatically supplying one. Never throw away old computers, electronics, or rechargeable products such as clippers. There are many ways these appliances can be recycled.