Are You and Your Salon Sustainable Enough?

by laurahusband / last updated April 22, 2022

Sustainable salon

The term ‘sustainability’ is evolving from being a buzz word to an essential way of life. Be inspired by these salons who implementing a number of positive initiatives that you could easily experiment with this year….

The sustainable workforce salon

Name: ENA Salon
Location: Covent Garden, London
Sustainability ethos: The salon believes sustainability shouldn’t be an option – it should be a way of life.

Sustainable initiatives: The salon recently joined an app called CoGo, which is a sustainability shopping/lifestyle app. The idea is to help everyone to live more sustainably by offering suggestions for places to shop that are verified as being plastic-free. The salon also interprets the term sustainability to relate to the health and wellbeing of its staff. Samuel Ryde, ENA Salon’s director has counsellors, a life coach and an osteopath available for his staff.

He also has a gym membership partnership with a gym called Sweat It, where the team can use the gym for free and gym staff can visit the salon for free. “Members of the team don’t always feel that they can speak to a line manager in confidence. Our team of experts come in every Wednesday and the team know they can talk frankly and openly with them.”

Shouting about sustainability with clients: ENA has a few sustainability awards but hopes to do more in terms of PR to shout about its positive sustainability initiatives such as recycling, using LED lights and upcycling furniture.

Advice for other salons: Investigate the products you stock and use in the salon – where the products come from, whether the packaging is necessary and consider if you could offer clients a refill option for your retail products.

The eco-designed salon

Name: Anne Veck Oxford
Location: St Clements, Oxford
Sustainability ethos: Sustainability has long been at the heart of Anne Veck Oxford. They’re the first – and only – certified Carbon Neutral salon in the UK; undertook a whole salon refit to incorporate clean, recycled energy to power the business and have won countless awards to recognise their green achievements and efforts towards educating the hairdressing industry about sustainability issues. They’d even released their very own sustainable salon tool kit Salon Re:Source, aimed to help other salons become more sustainable.

Anne Veck sustainable salon

Sustainable initiatives: The salon was refitted in 2013 to combine sustainability with the Anne Veck brand and create a stylish, green, destination salon. Since then, they have continued to add new features and practices in an ongoing effort to become the most sustainable salon possible. As the UK’s first carbon neutral salon, they have reduced CO2 emissions by nearly 50% (from 12.8 tonnes in 2013 to in 6.7 tonnes 2019/20) with the following actions:

–       Their Ceramic Fuel Cell generates electricity from the gas supply at an efficiency rate of 75%. (Electricity is generated at commercial power stations at an efficiency rate of around 35%.) This has led to their energy consumption being reduced by 50% and carbon emissions by 40%. Of the energy they generate, 50% is sold to the National Grid.

–       The cell also produces one cylinder’s worth of hot water (200 litres) each day as a byproduct, further reducing their energy consumption.

–       All exterior and interior lighting is LED and staff room and toilet lighting is motion activated.

–       They use a high efficiency electric hand dryer to reduce energy use and the need to wash towels.

–       At the backwash, the salon uses EcoHead water saving and filtering devices to reduce water use by 65%. They also save energy thanks to using less hot water, and are 100% recyclable. The filtration system also reduces chlorine and removes sediment, rust and sand, for cleaner water.

–       They have increased the size of the windows, allowing for maximum natural light.

–     They have signed up to the VISH app to manage and reduce our product waste.

–     Anne Veck has signed up to Green Salon Collective to vastly improve their recycling performance. The initiative can recycle pretty much everything a salon produces. Including hair, used/soiled foils & colour tubes (metals) , PPE,  and plastic.

Shouting about sustainability with Clients: We would say that the majority of our clients are now already taking steps to be more sustainable simply through conversations that we’ve had whilst in salon. This Earth day we’ll be encouraging clients to bring in their plastic or recyclable waste which will be collected by The Green Salon Collective. We do have many clients who are already making positive changes to being more sustainable but we hope that this will encourage them to think ‘Wow I collect a lot of waste, what can I change?’ We love seeing clients making small, positive changes it all makes a difference.

Advice for other salons: Their top tip would be to switch to a green energy supplier. Their prices are competitive and by doing this you will achieve a huge reduction in your carbon footprint. Their sustainable salon toolkit Salon Re:Source is a good way to make steps into improving your salons sustainability. Part 1 of Salon Re:Source includes a range of quick and easy tips to get started on any sustainability journey.

The clever technology salon

Name: Gina Conway Salon & Spa
Location: Wimbledon, London
Sustainability ethos: Gina Conway Salon & Spa wants to be part of the solution and not the problem with the ultimate goal of reaching carbon neutrality.

Sustainable initiatives: The salon is reducing colour waste using technology such as the Vish app, which measures to the gram. This means less pollution being washed down the sink. Gina Conway has also introduced Eco Shampoos, which is a technique Gina decided to reduce water, product and energy. The salon uses First Mile – a recycling company for waste, which offers a zero to landfill programme and has a ban on all plastic bottles and paper coffee cups. Plus, it chooses to use Ecosia as its online search engine, which plants a tree roughly every second.

Shouting about sustainability: The salon uses social media platforms, local press and word of mouth to let guests know about sustainability initiatives.

Advice for other salons: It’s a journey, which is worth investing in both mentally and physically. It’s not too hard to do and the positive changes you make will outweigh the initial effort needed to make the switch.

The small change, big difference salon

Name: Haus of Brooks
Location: Bexhill On Sea, East Sussex
Sustainability Ethos: The salon’s ethos is ‘Live, Love, Make a Difference’ and sustainability is one of the 11 guest promises that form part of its overall business mission to provide hairdressing as it should be.

Sustainable initiatives: Haus of Brooks has a ‘stuff in to stuff out’ approach and uses this as simple way to look at the waste the salon produces and the environmental impact of the purchases the salon makes. The ‘stuff’ the salon purchases can only leave in two ways – with clients or as waste in the form of rubbish, water or vapour. Haus of Brooks has 5% of its waste going to landfill and is striving to reduce this further.

The salon has a no print policy so all communication and salon administration is electronic and cloud-based. The salon uses environmentally friendly cleaning products and steam for cleaning to improve the quality of any wastewater and all backwashes are kept hair-free to avoid blockages using bicarbonate soda and vinegar.

haus of brooks sustainable salon

Shouting about sustainability: Sustainability forms a large part of the Haus of Brooks website as it includes the brand’s sustainability charter and video. The salon also runs and sponsors local beach cleans on a bi-monthly basis to empower people to take action locally.

Advice for other salons: The fashion industry products more CO2 than aviation and marine transport combined. Haus of Brooks believes hair salons can make lots of small changes that can make a big difference. If every salon in the UK changed to renewable energy tomorrow half of the CO2 emissions would be reduced in an instant and that would give the industry something to be proud about.

The sustainable incentive salon

Name: Karine Jackson Sustainable Hair and Beauty
Location: Seven Dials, Covent Garden
Sustainability Ethos: To provide luxury hair and beauty services in an environment that cares about the planet, the client and the team.

Sustainable initiatives: The salon has provided sustainable services for over 15 years and is consistently looking at ways to improve. Clients who refill their shampoo and conditioner receive 50p off and when they bring back their reusable bags, they receive £1 off. Not only does the salon offer fully vegan services, it is constantly looking at how to reduce plastic consumption and excessive waste in the salon. Karine Jackson serves tea with tea leaves instead of tea bags and also runs a seminar on how businesses can be more sustainable.

Shouting about sustainability: The salon invites clients and local business to its seminars on sustainability and asks clients for suggestions on how to improve on the road to sustainability.

Advice for other salons: In the words of Anne Marie Bonneau: “We don’t need a handful of humans doing zero waste perfect, we need millions of humans doing it imperfectly.” Get your team on board from the start and ask them to come up with their own ideas. Don’t try and do everything at once but consider small changes such as emailing client receipts instead of printing them.

The sustainable charitable salon

Name: Kennadys
Location: The Chequers, Ingatestone
Sustainability ethos: It’s just who we are and what we do.

Sustainable initiatives: Kennadys is addicted to recycling and that permeates right through the salon. Kennadys started recycling foils and collecting empty aluminium tubes on a monthly basis. Essex Hairdressers collect the foils and tubes, which are recycled at a metal depository and the money raised from every deposit goes to the Hair and Beauty Charity. We recently got in touch with the South Essex Wildlife Trust.

Shouting about sustainability: The salon won a sustainable award in November which has given the salon the opportunity to explain to clients why it won and the sustainable initiatives on offer. Kennadys offers clients an easy dry towel to take home after their appointment, which reinforces the sustainable message.

Advice for other salons: Dedicate time and effort into setting up sustainable systems and put someone in charge of monitoring it. Kennadys has a waste cutter in the salon who is in charge of making sure the sustainable initiatives are carried out. Encourage your team to suggest ideas to make it a fun and positive experience for everyone.

The sustainable design salon

Name: Perfectly Posh
Location: Hungerford
Sustainability ethos: The salon believes in doing its best to do better and be better to ensure a cleaner and greener future for all of us.

Sustainable initiatives: The furniture in the salon is sourced from reclaimed scaffolding boards, tree trunks and branches. Salon owner Krysia West crafted the light for the backwash area from a branch she found. Perfectly Posh has introduced recycled toilet paper from a cool and quirky company called Who Gives a Crap – the packaging stands out and the brand’s mission is admirable. The salon has asked the Green Salon Collective to collect cut hair from the floor so it can be made into brooms and mats. This organisation also collects plastic, cardboard and chemical waste like left over colour.

Perfectly Posh has also started working with the Vish app to reduce colour wastage by determining how much is needed for each client.

Shouting about sustainability: The furniture in the salon is often a talking point with new clients that haven’t visited the space before as this often leads to a conversation on similar initiatives. Perfectly Posh also uses our social media to communicate everything it is doing andthe #PerfectlySustainable hashtag shares the mission which clients to keep up to date with and engaged.

Advice for other salons: Make a conscious effort to understand just how you are impacting the environment, small things like single use towels and plastic shampoo bottles have a large impact when we are in such a vast industry, so every small effort helps. Ask your energy provider to conduct an energy audit of your salon and provide you with some suggestions to aid this.

The open-minded sustainable salon

Name: Convey Salons
Location: Stokesley, North Yorkshire
Sustainability ethos: In 2017 the salon moved to a much larger space and took the opportunity to make the salon more sustainable and made sure this was incorporated in the design element. Starting with the basics such as A* rated LED lighting and fitting all the taps with eco heads. Moving through to the fixtures and fittings, they locally sourced reused materials for our reception desk and retail shelving which are made of reclaimed timber and sleepers from the local British Steel plant. Instead of using posters and flyers they have installed TV’s to market and advertise to our guests.

Sustainable initiatives: The salon swapped to Paper Not Foil, which was a big change as foil had been used in the salon for such a long time. The team was pleasantly surprised and found it was easier to work with and faster than foils. Paper Not Foil is reusable unlike foil, which saves the team time and in turn saves money. The salon has installed Eco Heads to all sinks at the backwash, which means 65% less water is being used.

The salon also encourages the team to turn the tap off between shampooing to help save gallons of water each year. Some marketing materials like posters and signs have switched to digital alternatives, which saves on printed paper and allows marketing materials to be updated easily and instantly. The salon has switched from having cut flowers to potted plants, which help to purify the salon and it stocks Biolage retail products for clients which sit in recycled plastic and can also be refilled in the salon.

The salon is proud members of the Green Salon collective and use Vish colour software to reduce colour wastage being washed down the sink. They also offer a free water re-fill service to any guests or people passing by. They use a loyalty programme called Trebbly to help reduce the waste of treatment and stock by regularly updating guests rewards allowing them to sell through older stock and treatments which could be due to expire.

Shouting about sustainability: Clients are starting to take notice and make changes in their own everyday lives. This helps when explaining the changes that have been implemented. Clients are encouraged to give feedback and suggest ideas for further initiatives to try via the sustainable suggestion box in reception. One suggestion was to switch of the hairdryer when sectioning the hair during a blow-dry, which was a great energy saving idea.

We run regular competitions amongst the team on their colour wastage as Vish software records all the waste and encourages them to mix less, they can win anything from a day off to monetary vouchers. We also run things to do with their retail sales and how many of their guests bring back their bottles to be re filled or recycled, the member of the team with the most refills will win a prize at the end of the month and get to speak about how they achieved it in the monthly team meeting.

We hold regular training sessions to teach our practices to the whole team and they can also have their say, we have a suggestion box in the reception area and encourage our guests and team to put their suggestions on how we can be even more sustainable and we will implement them and train the team on the new procedures. The suggestion box is actually where we got the idea about the hairdryers and hot tools. We also encourage the whole team to help each other along the way.

Advice for other salons: You can’t become sustainable overnight but if your bulbs need changing opt for energy efficient ones to replace them. When your foils run out, invest in paper ones – all of these small changes will quickly add up to a big step and transform your business into a sustainable one.

Lead image courtesy of ENA Salon

Today’s Sustainability Week content is sponsored by Davines. 


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