Fashion Quarterly - - Beauty -

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].”

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