Sustainable Salons Australia collects ponytails from salons all over Australia and redirects them to various charitable organisations such as Variety The Children’s Charity to make wigs for Aussies with cancer and alopecia areata. Since Sustainable Salons launched in 2015, this has become one of our most embraced programs – we’ve collected more than 90,000 ponytails!
Of course, this is a nice thing to do, but people often ask how this is considered ‘sustainability’. Are we off brand at Sustainable Salons? The opposite!
Before Sustainable Salons, I was a salon hairdresser for 20 years, and do you know how many ponytails I carefully cut off to donate for charitable wigs in that time? Zero. Zip. Not one! No one ever told me that other people could actually benefit from my clients’ ponytails. I mean, they clearly didn’t want or need them anymore!
Will.i.am said “Waste isn’t waste until we waste it”… and that’s it in a nutshell. At a very simple level, when dumped in landfill, valuable ponytails become wasted resources that someone who needs them now can’t access. When we dig deeper, this program is about sacrificing something we have in excess to fill another’s basic need (equal distribution of resources… ultimate sustainability!). When we help lift someone to a better place, we’re creating a community where every person is an active, confident, contributing member… now imagine how strong that community’s future looks.
When we first approached the ponytail donation process, there was not even half the amount of hair needed coming through to the correct channels. Variety needs at least 4,000 ponytails each year to make enough wigs… and this is just for the kids! When you add the number of adults in need, well, that makes this awareness even more vital.
It takes 20 ponytails to make just one wig……so every ponytail matters!
Here are a few tips for ensuring each ponytail is correct when sending to Sustainable Salons:
- Ponytails must be at least 20cm long from the hair tie at the top to the ends.
- We take them coloured or uncoloured! However, children’s wigs require minimum 35cm of virgin hair; so if you have a willing donor with amazing natural, long hair, why not encourage them to go a few centimetres shorter?
- Ponytails less than 35cm and coloured are sent to charitable wig-makers who grade the ponytails according to the wig requirements they have at the time.
- Ensure the ponytails are clean, dry and secured tightly at the top, plaited, then secured tightly at the bottom.
It’s really that simple!
You and your clients hold an incredible power to improve the life of someone who is going through something they didn’t ask for, don’t deserve and can’t control… you guys have pony power!
To learn more about ponytail donations
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