1. Switch Your Cleaning Materials
Get rid of chemical-filled cleaning products. At Toronto’s worldSALON, owner Brian Phillips says that they use a non-chemical citrus solution or vinegar and water for cleaning, plus rubbing alcohol for sterilizing. “That’s all we use to clean the salon. That cuts out a lot of toxicity in the environment.”
2. Start a Refill Program
Entice your clients to recycle their shampoo bottles by bringing them back to the salon for a refill. At Earth Salon in Toronto, customers save 15 to 20 per cent when they bring back their bottles. “We refill from the litre bottles at the back of the salon,” says owner Michael Crispel. “To fill the bottle is cheaper than replacing a bottle on my shelf. Not every client is going to do it, but it builds an awareness and every little bit helps.”
3. Recycle Your Foils
When Aqua Beauty Salon and Day Spa in Aurora, Ont., decided two years ago that they wanted to become green, the staff started simply. “We just started recycling foils,” says Melissa Sallese, one of the owners. “Then, that led to eventually recycling hair, then tubes and plastics.” Jennifer Vanderleij, owner of Clover Earthkind Hair Salon in Vancouver, says that if you want to make a change, this is a good place to start. “Highlighting foils are one of the worst,” she says. “It’s hundred of kilograms a year.”
4. Phase Out Plastic Bags
According to UrbanImpact.com, a B.C.-based workplace recycling company, Canadians take home more than 55 million plastic bags each week. Help reduce that number by getting rid of plastic bags for retail products. At Earth Salon, Crispel is looking at offering canvas retail bags with the salon logo. “Clients can purchase the bag, and when they do we’ll make a donation to an environmental charity. Then, every time they bring the bag back, we’ll give them a discount on their purchase.”
5. Go Digital
Get rid of the stacks of magazines lying around the salon. Although the outlay can be pricey, consider going digital with your magazine subscriptions. Alicia Austin, owner of Capelli Salon in Saskatoon, made this change in her salon, offering magazines to clients on iPads. (You can read more about her salon in this month’s “Interiors,” p. 80).
6. Install a Thermostat
Even if you don’t own your salon space, you might still be able to make this change. By installing a programmable thermostat, you can set the temperature lower at night, when the salon is closed, and higher when it’s open. At worldSALON, they turn the thermostat to 14 C at night and up to 22 C during the day. According to the Kevin. Murphy Green.Salon online program, simply setting your thermostat two degrees (Fahrenheit) lower in the winter and two degrees higher in the summer, you could save $75 to $100 a year on your electricity bill.
7. Banish Paper
From business cards and service menus to appointment books and flyers offering the latest promotions, salons can use a lot of paper. At Earth Salon, they have cut their business cards in half—literally—to save paper and dye. They also don’t print the price list or menu, instead referring clients to their website or offering to email it to the client’s smartphone. For walk-ins, they will print it as needed. “It brings down my costs, and clients love the idea,” says Crispel. They also send promotions with barcodes through email and clients can either print it or just bring it in on their smartphone.