Minimise plastic in your salon
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6 Ways You Can Minimise Plastic in Your Salon

by eleanor / last updated July 17, 2020

This month marks Plastic Free July, where you can pledge to minimise plastic in your salon for the whole of July and beyond. According to Zero Waste Week, the beauty industry produces over 120 billion units of packaging every year, so every business counts when trying to reduce plastic waste.

As hairdressers reopen and protect themselves and their clients with the appropriate PPE (which is often single-use and made from plastic) there are other ways you can minimise the impact of plastic in your business.

Plastic free visor

Plastic free visor

1. Switch to plastic-free PPE

Personal protective equipment will be essential for the time being as salons adjust to the new normal. However, international campaign group A Plastic Planet and packaging innovators Reelbrands and Tams Packaging have developed lightweight, clear, plastic-free face shields to protect staff without adding to plastic pollution.

The visors, which are CE certified, made from FSC paper board and cellulose from wood pulp for the clear, mist-free screen, are both recyclable and home compostable.

Using reusable PPE can also help. “To limit single use plastic myself and all my staff have been using reusable masks and material aprons to control plastic overflow,” says Brad Allen, Color Wow senior educator and owner of Jellyfish LOS.

An estimated 761 million pieces of PPE, predominantly made from plastic, have been distributed across the UK alone since February 2020, so switching to plastic-free PPE where possible can help.

2. Recycle PPE through Terracycle

If you cannot avoid using plastic PPE such as masks and visors, Terracycle can recycle them for you. You should avoid recycling it yourself as PPE cannot be mixed with other recycling.

You can order a box (which you then fill with disposable protective face masks, face shields and visors) and when it’s full, you can bring the box to any UPS location or request a collection. However, the box should be fully sealed with adhesive tape and stored securely for 72 hours before requesting a collection.

Electric dispensary

3. Offer a refill service

PPE aside, there are other initiatives you can bring into your salon. Marcello Moccia, owner of Room 97 Creative in Wakefield and Leeds offers a refilling service in his salon.

“As a keen sailor, I see first-hand the impact plastic has on our seas and this is something that I have been concerned about for quite some time now,” he says. “We have been offering salon refills for some time which reduces plastic bottles and our clients have really got behind this initiative.”

Noel Halligan, creative director at NOCO Hair, Bristol, also offers this in his salon.

“One of the most successful things we offer is Davines refillable products. The shampoos are really popular with our clients,” he says.

Electric Hair also offers refills for its shampoos and conditioners for clients from its dispensary.

4. Recycle

 If you’re not already recycling, this can be a quick way to minimise plastic in your salon your impact on the environment.

“We separate our colour tube caps from the aluminium and send them to our recycling centre so they don’t end up in landfill,” says Marcello. “We also have dedicated bins to separate waste and recycle materials which makes it so much easier to process at the end of the day.”

5. Switch to recyclable products

Can’t recycle? Minimising your plastic waste in your salon can be as simple as swapping to a plastic-free or recyclable range.

Oway products are made of 100% glass and aluminium, so they are fully recyclable and don’t contain any unnecessary packaging components.

Davines also has 100% recyclable products that only have primary packaging (so they are not packaged in a cardboard exterior). It also has a sustainable salon programme where any salon can sign up to learn how they can support sustainable practices in their business.

Salon 64 biodegradable gowns

SALON64 biodegradable gowns

6. Reduce your plastic in other areas of your business

 There are other ways you can minimise plastic in your salon, such as replacing plastic cups with paper ones.

“We’re trying to keep the feeling of normality as much as possible,” says Brad. “Before we were sustainable and used hand towels, cups and paper straws – we have been told we can only serve cold refreshments (water) in disposable cups, so we’re using paper ones to minimise the impact on the environment.”

At NOCO Hair, Noel has also made sustainable swaps: “We use biodegradable towels, reusable gloves and use paper bags rather than plastic bags for all our retail,” he says.

SALON64 has introduced single use gowns for their clients that decompose at the same speed as a banana skin, so are eco-friendly as well as hygienic.

Karine Jackson, owner of Karine Jackson hair & Beauty is aiming to become the UK’s first plastic-free salon.

“I’m now looking for alternatives to everything,” says Karine. “The team have all been bought a coffee cup and water bottle, and are banned from bringing in anything single-use.”

“We’ll also refill water bottles for anyone passing – client or not! We’ve introduced a plastic-free shelf so clients can buy water bottles, coffee cups and more. We’re talking to all of our suppliers and questioning every piece of plastic packaging.”

Alongside this, paper and canvas bags have replaced plastic retail bags (or if possible, customers are encouraged to place purchases in their handbag), plastic free toilet paper and tissues are supplied in the salon and refillable cleaning products have replaced single-use products.

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