It’s no secret that sustainability has been on everyone’s mind for some time now, and we are becoming more and more educated on how to make choices that will not harm the planet. So as consumer demand is moving towards more sustainable options, businesses also need to adapt.
The salon business typically consumes a lot of water and energy, plus it creates waste, but by addressing these issues with small and consistent efforts, the results will be seen in the long run.
WE as a company have started working on reducing our overall CO2 footprint through several changes, but we also want to inspire YOU as a hairdresser to make a big impact in your salon by changing some of your habits and practices.
To put things into perspective on becoming more sustainable, here’s a snapshot of the salon industry at a worldwide level, using average estimations:
- 120 billion plastic bottles are produced every year
- The salon industry uses 100–300 billion gallons of water per year – this represents about 300,000 Olympic-size swimming pools!
- 7 out of 10 clients would prefer going to a salon that is a sustainable brand1.
To help you get started on your salon sustainability journey, we’ve put together a few tips for each of the main areas you need to address.
How to save energy
Before you start making energy savings you need to do an audit of what you consume already and where the pain points are.
Is your electricity provider using renewable energy sources such as wind, solar or geothermal? If not, look to switch to someone who does – this will be a big step in reducing your emissions and carbon footprint.
Next, check your room temperature. Room heating and water heating are responsible for up to 60% of the total energy usage in your salon, so by lowering the room temperature by just one degree Celsius you can reduce energy by 10%.
When rinsing your client’s hair, use lukewarm water instead of hot. When finishing the washing service, you may rinse the hair with cool water if the client is ok with it – this will reduce your costs but also will leave the client’s hair shinier and will close the cuticles. Win-win!
Doing laundry is a constant need in a salon, but you can save energy significantly by washing the towels at 40 °C instead of 60 °C when possible. Use the eco program if the washing machine has one – it might take 10-15 minutes longer but it uses less energy, so it pays off to wait. Also consider switching to energy-efficient washing machines.
Be mindful of switching appliances off rather than leaving them on stand-by too. Turn off the lights in the rooms no one is using. Even a few minutes count.
How to reduce water usage
Most salon services require water, but with mindful practices you can easily reduce how much you use.
You can reduce water usage just by simply turning off the tap when you’re not using water (rinse, apply products, massage the products or emulsify), and by installing shower heads that reduce the water flow. When rinsing out hair colour remember to emulsify it first by adding a bit of water in the colour and massage. This will speed up the rinsing process therefore saving water, and on top of that, it can reduce skin staining.
Whilst we still recommend using reusable cotton towels over single use towels (as it’s more sustainable), make sure you wait until the washing machine is full before putting on a load of laundry. This will save both water and energy.
How to manage waste and recycle
To start managing waste better and recycle you’ll need clearly labelled recycling bins. Have one for glass, paper and cardboard, plastic and aluminium. Involve all employees and guide them on what goes where: for example, foils (even if they are dirty) and hair colour tubes can be tossed into the aluminium bin because they can be recycled. Even though aluminium is widely recycled nowadays it’s best to check with your local authority first if that is available to you.
Ban single-use items such as paper cups, straws or plastic bags. Even monthly magazines can be replaced with something with a longer shelf-life, like hardback books or coffee table books with your favourite beauty heroes.
Before throwing something away, ask yourself: can this be reused? We have a few ideas on how you can upcycle plastic bottles and pots to get you inspired. This will give a special touch to your salon and will show your clients that you are committed and eco-conscious.
You can also make your salon greener visually by adding potted plants and using natural, soft materials like wood. Consider offering vegan milks for your clients’ teas and coffees and talk to your clients about your green choices.
Learn more about how to become a more sustainable salon from our Wella Education seminar. Discover our line of eco-ethical products, created following sustainability principles and for more inspiration on how to make change follow our blog, where we share more insights about our products and eco-friendly living tips.
Keep in touch with weDo by following us on Instagram and TikTok for advice on sustainable beauty, tips on how to use our products and overall joy.
1To *online survey among 157 female consumers, aged 18-40yrs, in the UK - April 2019