Since Marie Kondo organised her way into our lives, I feel like for the first time in ages, the less is more approach has really taken off. Suddenly decluttering is a cool way to spend your weekend and, the best bit, now we’re deliberately thinking about the volume of stuff we surround ourselves with.

Now I know the KonMari philosophy did not spark joy when in landed and most of Australia cleared out its closets and dumped holey Metallica tees and busted board games at op shop doors for the volunteers to deal with. Clearly not our finest moment. But I’ve been wondering if this mindset could actually start to influence us before we say yes to the things we know we’ll want to bin eventually.

Marie Kondo’s website says this: “People around the world have been drawn to this philosophy not only due to its effectiveness, but also because it places great importance on being mindful, introspective and forward-looking”.

What a great environmental ethos! And for a more powerful punch, add innovative (you’re welcome, Marie).

Once upon a time the sustainability directive used to be ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’, but we’ve since realised that there are loads of other steps we can take to be even more organised green warriors.

Rethink

When was the last time you sat down and decluttered your business operations of excess stuff? Things like printing payslips for your staff, making small supply orders, or offering client refreshments in single-use packaging… rethinking even the smallest actions can make a huge difference to both the planet and your bank balance!

Refuse

If you can’t be sure it’s going to improve your business, say no. Sometimes the temptation of the latest and greatest can be tough to knock back, but things move quickly so use your gut instinct and some good old-fashioned research.

Reduce

The sharing economy is also on the up and up! Maybe that latest and greatest you were thinking about refusing could be possible with some clever workflow innovation or collaboration. Your next game-changer perhaps? 

Reuse

Time to do an audit of all the single-use items in your salon. There are always going to be things that you can’t avoid (until manufacturers come to the party on this one), but are there changes you can make to ditch disposables in favour of reusables? This could be as simple as swapping regular batteries for rechargeables, or on a larger scale like employing a tap system for your client refreshments (like sparkling water on tap, you ask? Exactly! Sustainable Salons members have access to a great service for this, just sayin’).

Repair

It’s an unfortunate reality of modern life that our stuff isn’t built to last anymore. But sometimes out of habit, we assume new is more economical, and sometimes it is. But sometimes it’s not. It’s worth checking if there’s an affordable repair option first. And before you buy, ask the manufacturer if they have a sustainability or recycling policy for the product’s end of life… choose those guys first.
 

Repurpose

You may not want or need it anymore, but maybe someone else does! Before you toss, think outside the box – is there another use? Our Ponytail Donation Program is the perfect example of this in action; amazing hair that would once end up in landfill is now repurposed into wigs for those suffering from medically-induced hair-loss. Another one we often get asked about is what to do with old salon towels. We may not have a textile recycling option at the moment, but that doesn’t mean they need to go to landfill. We always suggest asking your local animal shelter if they need donated towels; the answer is almost always yes!
On the edge of this space is the concept of second-life packaging. A recent WGSN Trend Report labels this as a ‘winning strategy’. Essentially this concept is about giving something another purpose before it needs to be recycled or even taken one step further, reduced to nothing.

“Helping to combat this throwaway culture is the concept of second-life packaging. Packaging that serves its initial purpose and then surprises the consumer with a second purpose that’s likely completely unrelated to the first – it’s at the crux of reuse.” Emma Grace Bailey, WGSN Winning Strategies: Second Life Packaging

Think packaging that can become gift wrapping, product bottles that make great vases, paper products that you plant for flowers and veggies. This is a hugely innovative space at the moment, and you can get on board too just by seeing things a little differently!
 

Recycle

Sustainable Salons makes this one a breeze by giving you the perfect system to recycle up to 95% of the items used during a client’s service, including chemicals. And in a super exciting development, we recently created our very first closed-loop product!
In 2017 in this blog spot, I was talking about the closed-loop concept and I said “we’re already working on a few projects that could introduce closed-loop products to our members in the very near future, using the resources we collect from them. Cool, huh?”
In a collaboration with the awesome brains at Dresden Vision, we’ve created glasses frames made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic shampoo bottles that we collected from our Aussie and Kiwi salons. The Shampoo Collection frames are now available to purchase!
The cool part is that when these frames are no longer wanted (or if they break), Dresden feeds them right back into the manufacturing process to make new glasses. Seriously, we’re beside ourselves with how amazing this project is. Jump on our website to check out the video!

Rot

The last piece of the puzzle. There’s a fabulous composting technique called Bokashi where you ferment your food scraps in a simple bucket, and since it doesn’t smell at all, it’s perfect for the salon back room (again, if you’re a Sustainable Salons member, you can snap one of these up on the Rewards Shop!). The liquid it creates is the best drain cleaner, and any savvy gardeners on the team will love the nutrient-rich material!

Just by being mindful about your options, introspective about how your impact can make a difference, innovative in your approach and determined to create a better future, you can declutter your waste bin and tidy up your salon’s footprint. And that’s guaranteed to spark joy.

Keen to join the movement? Register your salon details at www.sustainablesalons.org!