Treating yourself to a cut and color feels luxurious and, sometimes, essential. The confidence boost that comes with a new ’do is priceless, and the blissful head-massage-meets-shampoo-services is icing on the cake.

Salons are bursting with styling tools, hair clippings, dyes, and various other beauty products that need recycling, reuse, or proper disposal. Considering our personal eco-friendly behavior is one thing, but larger-scale businesses like salons deal with a green dilemma, too. Efficient recycling, waste management, and green actions are a common concern in the industry. 

The salon industry in North America generates more than 400,000 pounds of waste every day.

How long will your hairdryer live if you use it, say, every other day? In salons, electronics like these are used much more frequently. The amount of electronics, shampoos and other environmental pollutants salons churn through is staggering.

Until recently, most salons were unsure of what to do with their excess.

Salons Go Sustainable

Green Circle Salons was born in 2009. The innovative company is focused on creating sustainable salons in North America, primarily through a green certification for salons that meet their recycling and waste-reduction standards.

Their efforts have diverted nearly 3 million pounds of waste from landfills so far, and they’re still going strong. Green Circle Salons are committed to recycling and reusing electronics, paper and plastic products, color by-product, aerosol cans, foils, and hair clippings. Green Circle collects these items from certified salons on a weekly basis, recycling and disposing of materials appropriately.

The company also encourages salons to cut down on water use, reduce energy with LED lights, and invest in organic tea and coffee for clients. Certified salons often implement water-saving faucets and eco-friendly cleaning products, too.

Instead of rinsing hazardous chemicals down the drain, they are sent to chemical waste plants. Foil, plastic, and paper products are dutifully recycled, and collected hair clippings are used to make ultra-absorbent brooms to clean up oil spills.

In green salons, those hair clippings go to good use. Photo: Adobe Stock

Where Can I Find a Certified Salon?

Though the company is based in Canada, Green Circle Salons has certified thousands of green salons across North America.

Green Circle certified salons are a win-win — both stylists and clients can feel comfortable knowing they are supporting a sustainable business.

Any salon in North America can join the movement. It’s as simple as giving them a quick call or filling out their short online form. Once you’ve undergone a staff orientation, Green Circle Salons will send you everything you need to take eco-friendly initiatives at your salons. Recycling bins, bin labels, and promotional materials will arrive on your doorstep in no time.

Becoming Green Circle certified does wonders for salons. Green-minded clients (like Earth911 readers) come running when it’s time for their next service.

The company has an online directory of certified salons, so you can easily find a green stylist in your area.

Convert Your Favorite Salon

If you notice your community is lacking in green salons, you don’t have to give up haircuts and let your locks grow to your knees.

Interested salon owners can learn more about becoming a Certified Sustainable Salon with Green Circle. With the public’s growing interest in sustainability, a business lacking an environmental impact plan is hopeless. It’s important for behind-the-times salons to learn about the benefits of becoming Green Circle certified.

By Lauren Murphy

Lauren has a B.S. in environmental science, a crafting addiction, and a love for all things Pacific Northwest. She writes from her cozy downtown apartment tucked in the very northwestern corner of the continental U.S. Lauren spends her time writing and focusing on a healthy, simple and sustainable lifestyle.