FROM HAIR ON
Sitting in a salon with a head full of foils, your thoughts likely lie with the end result, not where those small squares of aluminium will end up. But with waste adding up every day (in Australia, more than a million kilograms of hair foils are binned every year), hairdresser Paul Frasca and his environmentalist partner Ewelina Soroko were inspired to seek recycling solutions and found waste-minimising initiative Sustainable Salons in Sydney in 2015. Now rolling out around New Zealand, the organistion finds innovative solutions for items that once landed in the trash, collecting and recycling or repurposing them, rather than sending them to landfills.
Creative and comprehensive, almost everything has a new destination: plastics and packaging are made into new products like outdoor furniture; leftover dyes and chemicals are neutralised and turned into waste water; and metals like foils and tubes are sold to recycling companies, with all proceeds in New Zealand going to KiwiHarvest, a charity that provides meals for people in need.
“We’re impressed with the social consciousness and simplicity,” says Gene Cooksley of Auckland’s Oscar & Co salon, who estimates that the initiative means they now operate at 90-95 percent sustainability. “The uses they’ve found for recycled hair are fantastic too, from helping cancer patients to making floating booms that mop up oil slicks.”
To help pay for it, a small cost is added to service pricing and Gene says, “Everyone is happy to pay. Our commitment to the environment and social causes allows them to contribute [too].”