Not just recycling

2020 marks Sustainable Salons’ 5th birthday, which is an incredibly exciting milestone and one we’ve certainly not arrived at on our own. For that reason, this birthday celebration needs a toast.

So, we’re raising our glasses to this big, sustainable family – here’s to the passion of our salon members and the loyalty of their clients, the innovation from our recyclers, the driven hearts of our charity partners, the spirit of our workforce, and the shared vision of all towards true sustainability. 

When we began the program five years ago, many people told us it wouldn’t work. On reflection, we think they were only imagining a single outcome: keeping salon waste out of landfill. 

We know we’ve preached this a number of times, but sustainability itself is only achieved when People, Planet and Profit (or Progress, if you like) are equally involved in the mission.

We didn’t call the business ‘Recycling for Salons’ for a reason; it’s not our only future. As a social enterprise, Sustainable Salons has always championed that the salon industry’s capacity to make a real difference is so much greater.

So if we’re #NotJustRecycling, then what are we?

We are Above-ground Miners

We collect salon materials and send them for recycling or repurposing, keeping them in circulation and out of landfill.
Just like our closed-loop product collaboration with Dresden Vision to make these glasses frames from
100% post-consumer recycling shampoo bottles. More info here!

Rest assured, recycling is still a crucial part of the mix. But we’re driven towards a circular economy that conserves our planet’s natural resources and keeps what we’ve already dug up in circulation for as long as possible. Ideally, forever! Unless an item can be ‘digested’ by nature for nature’s benefit, then it shouldn’t go in the ground. So we take resources from the surface and find them a new life as something else we need/want/love!

We are Problem-solvers

Hair clippings collected from the salon floor are used in The Hair Boom Project research,
to one day help clean up oil spills.

Solution-driven projects are our bread and butter. We work hard to find recycling or repurposing opportunities for everything we collect from our salon members, which often sparks solutions that are completely unique. The Hair Boom Project is just one example of this; hair clippings have been worthless… until now.

We also pour our problem-solving energy into business building and social benefit. Changing habits around product choice and community support is a tall task, but we’re committed to partnering with people and organisations that help us build attractive propositions that inform and inspire.

Take our partnership with the World’s Greatest Shave – the valuable hair and ponytails no longer end up in landfill, fundraisers can access hundreds of willing salons for help with their shave and salons are building future business opportunities as a result, a whole new industry is motivated to contribute to the cause, and we now have a platform to talk to millions of consumers about true sustainability. 

Sustainable Salons is proud to partner with World’s Greatest Shave each year!

We are Life-changers

One of Sustainable Salons’ greatest achievements is its workforce opportunities. Keeping the program’s wheels turning takes a wide variety of tasks and thanks to this, we’re hugely proud that we can employ unbiasedly. 

Our team includes entry-level and mature-aged workers (and everything in between), people with a disability, refugees, parents who need part-time, university-educated and tradespeople. As we grow, we’ll continue to set an example of how successful businesses can provide for all areas of the community.

We partner with four organisations across Australia and New Zealand to
provide purposeful work for people with disabilities.

Beyond this, we change lives just by thinking outside the box and sharing what we have. Funds from the sale of recycling materials are donated to OzHarvest and KiwiHarvest to feed the hungry, we mobilise skilled volunteers to provide free grooming services for those less fortunate, and we equip our network with shared knowledge to help them run productive businesses using the sustainability model. 

100% of proceeds from recycling salon materials are sent to OzHarvest and KiwiHarvest
to help the most vulnerable in our communities.

Sustainability is a ‘living thing’; the needs under People, Planet and Progress are constantly evolving. So we have to be adaptable, cohesive and brave, three things we think our growing movement aces every day. And after five unpredictably awesome years, the impact is now tangible and we’re on a new mission to make sustainability reality.  

Cheers to the next five and beyond!