A chatty hairdresser (with an impressive ‘fro) named Paul Frasca fell in love with a fair Belgian maiden and sustainable fashion guru called Ewelina Soroko. The pair met in Amsterdam many moons ago, where Paul was working in a luxury salon and Ewelina was studying fashion.
In 2010 Paul and Ewelina embarked on a very long drive around Australia (which took 4 months and $7,000 in petrol) in the name of waste research. 160 salons later, Paul and Ewelina discovered that salon waste had nowhere to go; from their findings, they estimated that Australian salons alone were sending 1 million kilograms of foil to landfill every year! And knowing that aluminium is infinitely recyclable, the pair was left speechless.
And so, they set out to fix the salon waste problem and create the greatest resource recovery service the world has ever seen!
Paul and Ewelina officially launched Sustainable Salons in 2015 – the program now has hundreds of salon members (and growing!) across Australia and New Zealand as part of the journey to zero waste.
The program began in the hairdressing industry and now creates waste solutions for barber shops, beauty salons, dermal clinics and pet-grooming salons as well. Sustainable Salons provides each member the in-salon separation bins and outside collection bins to suit the salon’s needs and offers a fortnightly collection service directly to the salon door.
Plastic packaging is sent to specialist local plastics recyclers where it’s cleaned and made into outdoor furniture, landscape supplies and new product packaging, keeping it in circulation and out of our oceans!
All aluminium, foil, colour tubes, cardboard, paper, magazines, razor blades, unwanted tools and select disposables are sold for recycling, and the proceeds are donated to OzHarvest and KiwiHarvest to provide meals for hungry people. A full head of foils provides a quarter of a meal to someone in need!
Hair clippings are collected from the salon floor and stuffed into stockings to make Hair Booms that can one day help clean up oil spills along our coastlines! Hair is also repurposed in local community gardens for composting or used in sustainable art installations to educate the community.
All collected ponytails 20cm or longer are distributed to charitable organisations to create wigs for those suffering from cancer or alopecia. Sustainable Salons is the largest donor of ponytails in the Southern Hemisphere!
By collecting small amounts from a large salon network, Sustainable Salons is the first company to recycle excess chemicals in the salon industry. These are pooled and sent to chemical recycling plants where they’re neutralised and turned into recycled water used in roadworks and construction.
Select disposable hygiene products used during treatments are pulled apart and the materials are sent for repurposing.
Sustainably-minded solutions are promoted to help the salon make greener choices! Via Rewards Points, salons can access environmentally-friendly options for everyday salon products, such as eco cleaning products, recycled toilet paper, biodegradable coffee pods, recycled foil, biodegradable towels, biodegradable gloves and more!
In partnership with Endeavour Foundation (QLD) and Mambourin (VIC), Sustainable Salons is creating stronger futures for people with a disability by providing purposeful work within our material collection and processing streams. Supported Employees sort and process the materials for repurposing!
Both organisations are ‘for purpose’, dedicated to helping people with a disability live fulfilling lives – they believe employment is a critical part of this, and so do we.
In the Sydney depot, we directly employ people with a disability to work across our processing streams, too!
Through various community organisations, salon professionals in the Sustainable Salons network are encouraged to volunteer their time and skills for those who don’t have access to these services in our local area.
In line with industry-standard sustainability thinking, we believe that we’re all responsible for the ethical disposal of any waste produced by a product or service we choose to consume.
Sustainable Salons has now made it possible for the consumer to eliminate 95% of the negative impact of their salon service for just $2 on their final service bill (though we can’t wait for the day that sustainability can be built into every product and service as the norm!)… all you have to do is choose to visit a Sustainable Salons member salon!
The $2 Sustainable Salons Fee minimises the ecological footprint of each salon visit and supports a range of important sustainability and community initiatives.
40% – Resource collection and redirection
25% – Implementing green practices
20% – Supporting the community
10% – Researching recycling solutions
5% – Awareness and education
When you list out all the benefits, we like to think the planet is worth a tiny $2!
We believe that when used right, a healthy income is a strong part of the sustainability model and allows us to concentrate on what’s fruitful – ethically-minded business growth that creates jobs, products that advance the human race without destroying our habituate and security for our next generation to live in a world where quality of life comes standard.
Here at Sustainable Salons, we strongly embrace this model and encourage our salon members wherever we can to adopt a version of this too, all in the name of building robust communities!
As a social enterprise, we use financial proceeds to create local employment, support charities and those doing it tough (financially, resource-driven and through volunteering), all while striving to improve our program to further minimise the salon industry’s impact on the planet.