How a group of salons across the country is working to reduce their massive carbon footprint

While a trip to the salon may have cosmetic purposes, the reality of those beauty services comes at an environmental cost, with millions of pounds of waste each year. To help combat the problem, an environmental organization of about 4,000 participating salons in the US and Canada is working to address the industry’s huge carbon footprint through recycling.

“I think a lot of clients don’t realize how much waste a salon produces,” Jennifer Barber, brand manager for Bob Steele Salons in Atlanta, Georgia, told CBS Mornings’ Dana Jacobson.

According to the national environmental group Green Circle Salons, the beauty industry dumps about 877 pounds of waste every minute, which works out to about half a million pounds a day.

Last year, Bob Steele Salons joined a growing group of salons across the country in achieving sustainability certification, meaning the establishment now recycles 95% of its waste. As part of Green Circle, the Atlanta salon fills boxes with waste such as aluminum foil, hair clippings and chemical hair dye before shipping it to the organization’s Illinois facility.

“We felt like it was the right thing to do to support our community and be a leader and make sure we’re doing the right thing to reduce our carbon footprint,” Barber said.

While at the recycling plant, professionals recycle materials like plastic and hair into new usable forms.

Shane Price, founder and CEO of Green Circle Salons, told Jacobson that the organization has explored different recycling possibilities with hair waste, such as using it to make recycling bins for salons and even turning it into an amino acid soup to use. like bio. -stimulant for agriculture.

The group works with partners to separate chemicals from water in hair dyes, which can then be neutralized into salt and water before being safely returned to the sewage network. And the layer of oil stripped of the dyes can be used later to feed the system that powers the entire process.

“Whether it’s masks, capes or gowns, this is all just plastic that can be shredded and re-pelletized into granules, plastic beads, and made into new PPE and new products that, you know, we need to use.” Price said.

Environmental measures taken by thousands of salons across the country have had an impact on customers.

Bob Steele Salons client Lauren Ramsey said knowing the salon she frequents is certified sustainable “absolutely” matters to her.

“I’ve been a customer here for about 15 years, so it’s one of the best things about this place,” Ramsey told Jacobson. I think all companies should strive to be environmentally friendly and green.”

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