Hair caring

The price of your haircut may go well beyond your out of pocket expense. Although waste and sustainability aren’t things we often think of while getting our hair cut, we probably should.

The Australian hairdressing industry is gigantic, with 16,000 salons and 35,000 employees across the country. Unsurprisingly, the industry produces a huge amount of waste each year.

Sustainable Salons Australia (SSA) is a new company trying to combat this waste and reward the hair salons that share their environmental ideals. Paul Frasca, co-founder and managing director of SSA, says, “The hairdressing industry sends 2 million kilos of waste each year to landfill. Our mission at Sustainable Salons Australia is to create zero-waste salons.”

SSA recycles 95 per cent of salons’ waste by providing salons with bins for metals, paper, plastics, razors, hair and chemicals and a fortnightly door-to-door pick up service. All the proceeds gained from recycling salon waste are donated to Australian charities such as Variety Australia, a non-for profit that helps sick or disadvantaged children. Taïs Hair Studio in Annandale and Toni and Guy in Newtown are two notable Inner West examples of salons that have partnered with the SSA.

Toni and Guy Newtown was one of the first salons to partner with SSA and has long been environmentally minded thanks to salon owner and artistic director Lea-Ann Suthern, who has been praised within the business industry for her progressive ideas and focus on sustainability.

Lea-Ann says of her involvement with SSA, “Being part of something bigger and giving to the community and environment at large is important to me.”

For many people, sustainability in hair care begins with mindfulness; as soon as you start thinking about the products you use, the more environmental choices become apparent. This is why while cutting and colouring customers’ hair, T&G employees engage their clients in conversation about sustainability and the environment.

The owner of Taïs Hair Studio in Annandale, Thais Pantigas couldn’t be happier with the decision to join SSA.

“We are committed to sustainable growth that encourages social responsibility and respect for the planet. This simple initiative can make all the difference to what was once landfill waste becomomg a resource,” Pantigas said.

Ethical and environmental choices in the same vein as these salons are making can also be made at home. Making your shampoo or other haircare products in your kitchen is one environmentally friendly option, that not only keeps your hair out of contact with harmful chemicals used in packaged haircare, but is also more cost effective.

Products that commonly appear on your shopping list such as lemons, baking soda, avocado, honey, vinegar and eggs can all be used alone or combined for a D.I.Y haircare day spa.

Words by Samantha Hayes