There is plenty of talk about what a return to ‘normal’ looks like after the Pandemic. But one area that seems to have been disregarded is what the long-term environmental impact of Covid is likely to be. Early data analysis indicates that COVID-19 will reverse the momentum of a years-long global battle to reduce plastic waste pollution.
Founder of Salon Sustainability, JC Aucamp, salon owner and award-winning colourist has seen first-hand the amount of extra waste Covid created for salons. “While the amount of PPE and disposable masks is getting less and less as time goes on, there is without doubt extra waste that is a direct result of the measures the hair industry had to introduce,” JC explains.
CHANGE FOR GOOD
In fact, many salons look likely to maintain some of the new procedures – seeing them as a benefit rather than an inconvenience. “One area that we switched to almost straight away in our salon was disposable towels,” explains JC. “In many ways, there is a strong environmental argument to keep using them.” Not only do disposable towels cut down water and electricity usage by at least 65 per cent, with energy prices rising there is a massive financial incentive to switch. “Disposable towels can save a salon up to £5,000 a year,” says JC – that’s a huge saving in these cash-strapped times.
While JC is an advocate of greener solutions for salons, he’s realistic about what can be achieved. “At Salon Sustainability, we’re here to help,” he points out, “ultimately it’s about giving you the opportunity to waste less and recycle more. For sure the Pandemic has created extra potential for waste and the main thing is to dispose of it as responsibly as you can.”
One such opportunity JC spotted was to make something useful from all the used Lateral Flow Tests. By repurposing the plastic, not only would it divert this huge amount of plastic from landfill, it could also be turned into new products that could benefit the hair industry – such as plastic combs.
REHASH YOUR TRASH
“To re-use something is always the first choice when it comes to sustainability, JC explains. Encouragingly, schemes such as Salon Sustainability are giving salons and stylists the incentive to consider their waste and what can be done with it. Foils and hair clippings are two of the main things that salons are sending to be recycled, which are almost unique to the industry in terms of waste. Describing it as a new movement within the industry, JC is optimistic about the positive difference the hair industry could have if everyone came on board.
“Sadly for us – and even more sad for the planet, some salons are still reluctant to take responsibility for their waste,” adds JC. Whether it’s because of costs or because they can’t be bothered, we all need to play a part in making sure that Coronavirus waste doesn’t become a new form of global pollution. Building back sustainably will be essential for our future prosperity. Thankfully, with schemes such as Salon Sustainability, we have the tools and know-how to make it happen.
Recycling | Salon Sustainability | Hythe
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