How a nationwide salon group is working to reduce its massive carbon footprint

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While a trip to the hair salon may be for cosmetic purposes, the reality of these beauty services comes at an environmental cost, with millions of pounds of waste being thrown away each year. To help combat the problem, an environmental organization of approximately 4,000 participating hair salons across the United States and Canada is working to reduce the industry’s massive carbon footprint through recycling.

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

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

Over the past year, Bob Steele Salons joined a growing group of salons across the country when it was certified sustainable, meaning the facility now recycles 95% of its waste. As part of Green Circle, the Atlanta salon fills boxes with trash like foil, hair clippings and chemical hair dye before shipping it to the organization’s facility in the Illinois.

“We felt 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.

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 a soup. of amino acids to use as organic. -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 safely returning to the sewage system. And the dye-free oil layer can then be used to feed the system that powers the entire process.

“Whether it’s masks, capes, or gowns, it’s all just plastic that can be shredded and turned into pellets, plastic beads, and turned into new PPE and new products that, you know, we have 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 that the salon she frequents is certified sustainable means “absolutely” to her.

“I’ve been a customer here for about 15 years, so that’s one of the best things about this place,” Ramsey told Jacobson. I think every business should make an effort to be environmentally friendly and green.”

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