The Importance of Environmental Sustainability in Hairdressing Salons

In 2020 the government banned single-use plastic straws and cotton buds in a bid to make our retail, hospitality and personal care sectors more environmentally sustainable. However, there is a lot more that can be done by businesses to reduce their environmental impact.

The hairdressing industry is a big polluter - from heating tools and hair dye to hair washing and hairspray - so it is especially important that salons start thinking about how they can implement initiatives to make their businesses more sustainable. 

Thankfully, more and more hair salons are making strides to become eco-friendly. If you’re a salon owner reading this and want to future-proof your business, then you should be asking yourself what you can do to become a more environmentally friendly salon.

Sustainability in hairdressing salons

So, why is it important that hair salons look to be more environmentally sustainable? As environmental concerns continue to rise, hairdressing salons have a social responsibility to help protect the beauty of our planet. Here are some of the biggest issues in the industry that you may or may not already be aware of.
  • The industry has a large carbon footprint because of the volume of imperishable waste products, such as cotton wool, plastic shampoo bottles, foils, colour tubes, towels and tissues. 
  • There are a wide range of chemicals being used in the hair industry. Hair dyes, bleaches, peroxides and hair styling agents are all hazardous to the environment.
  • Calculations by Eco Hair & Beauty suggest that washing just one customer’s hair per day uses about 14,222 litres of water and 1,252 kWh of energy annually. This works out at a carbon footprint of 500kg per client, and that’s before you’ve even taken into account the energy used by any blow-drying or styling tools.
  • Hair salons require good lighting to give clients the best experience and allow you to do your best work. However, the majority of salon light fixtures do not use energy efficient bulbs. Wasting energy on unnecessary amounts of lighting has huge economic and environmental consequences. 
  • According to a study backed by the UK's Economic and Social Research Council, hairdressers can be a powerful force for environmental change and are in a position to influence mainstream practices. Unlike other businesses, hairdressing salons have a unique opportunity to become environmental champions by educating their customers about eco-friendly or ethical haircare products and practices.

Sustainability tips for hairdressing

When it comes to making your hair salon more sustainable and doing your bit for the environment, it is best to start with the basics. Here are some easily implementable tips to get you started. Putting any one of these into action is a step in the right direction!


1. Have staff training sessions about the benefits of becoming a sustainable salon

By having more open conversations about sustainability in the salon, all staff members can take steps to become more eco-friendly. From switching off lights in the staff room when it's not in use to recycling waste products and turning the water off between shampooing, there’s a lot that can be done by individual staff members to contribute to the salon’s environmental sustainability. 
Educate your team about why it’s important and it will encourage them to think about what small, positive changes they can make. You could even ask team members to come up with their own ideas about how the salon could be even more sustainable as well - a great way to do this is to put a suggestion box in reception.

Why not use your salon’s social media to speak about sustainability initiatives, too. It’s not just a platform where you can shout about what you’re doing for the environment (going green is a great marketing opportunity!) but also where you can share ideas and learn. This turns sustainability into a fun and positive experience for everyone involved.


2. Calculate your carbon footprint as a salon

You can do this by contacting your energy supplier and asking them to conduct an energy audit of your salon. A top tip to improve your carbon footprint would be to switch to a green energy supplier. Not only are their prices competitive, but you will also see a huge reduction in your carbon footprint. Another top tip is to monitor your salon’s thermostat - are you wasting energy unnecessarily?


3. Make simple swaps

There are a number of simple swaps you can do to make your salon more sustainable. For example, have you considered using energy saving bulbs? Or how about swapping your monthly magazine subscriptions to digital ones that your customers can access via a QR code?


4. Invest in sustainable products

By investing in sustainable products, you are helping the environment. For example, by opting for single-use biodegradable salon towels you will be using your washing machine less. 
This is a simple way to conserve both energy and water that can also reduce your salon’s CO2 emissions. For example, did you know that one drop of wasted water every two seconds equals 4000 litres annually? By doing less laundry loads, you’ll also be reducing your monthly water and energy bills, so it really is a win-win for both your business and the planet.


5. Recycle

The easiest place to start is by making sure your salon has recycling bins for paper, plastics, glass, hair-colouring tubes and foils. You can also look into free waste collections and recycling services for your hair salon, and there might even be places in your local area that will take cut hair for wigs. 
However, having recycling utilities and options is only one half of the problem. Your products need to be completely recyclable and compostable, too! You can check out our range of sustainable products for hair salons here.


6. Use Environmentally Certified Hair products

Are you familiar with what’s gone into the products of the brand you’re using in your salon? If you’ve been using them for a number of years, it’s unlikely. So now is the time to start investigating!

So, when looking into your chosen brand and their products, try to find answers to the following: Are the ingredients 100% natural? Can they be traced to the farmer or the original source? If so, what farming techniques have been used to obtain the ingredients? The smaller details may seem trivial at first but it all matters when it comes to being an eco-friendly salon and choosing a brand that has an environmentally focused ethos can make all the difference. 


Sustainability from Scrummi

Looking to introduce environmental sustainability to your hair salon? You can browse our range of Scrummi products here. Or subscribe to our newsletter for news on sustainability in the industry and access to exclusive promotions.
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