A cut above

Hair­dresser joins forces with Aus­tralian com­pany to lead en­vi­ron­men­tal change, writes Cameron Smith

Weekend Herald - - News -

A hair sa­lon on Auck­land’s North Shore is among the first in the coun­try to join Sus­tain­able Sa­lons, which col­lects 95 per cent of the sa­lon bin, in­clud­ing hair, and reuses or re­cy­cles the ma­te­ri­als.

Walk through a beach­side com­mu­nity shop­ping cen­tre on Auck­land’s North Shore, and you’ll find a hair sa­lon lead­ing the charge for en­vi­ron­men­tal change in the in­dus­try.

Amanda Baker, a hair­dresser of 22 years and owner of Amanda Baker Hair & Makeup in Browns Bay, firmly be­lieves it’s time for her sa­lon to be part of the so­lu­tion and not the prob­lem.

Baker is among the first sa­lon own­ers in the coun­try to get in­volved with Sus­tain­able Sa­lons, a com­pre­hen­sive Aus­tralian re­source re­cov­ery ser­vice de­signed for the sa­lon en­vi­ron­ment that re­wards par­tic­i­pants and gives back to the com­mu­nity.

Founded in 2015 and launched in New Zealand last month, Sus­tain­able Sa­lons spe­cialises in col­lect­ing up to 95 per cent of the sa­lon bin and redi­rect­ing all ma­te­rial for re­use, re­cy­cling and re­pur­pos­ing.

Baker says her con­cern for the en­vi­ron­ment made her de­ci­sion to get in­volved with the pro­gramme an easy one.

“I’m al­ways think­ing about the en­vi­ron­ment,” Baker says.

“Work­ing in Browns Bay, I of­ten look at the beach and I kind of think ‘Oh God it’s get­ting pol­luted’.

“You can def­i­nitely tell the dif­fer­ence.”

Ac­cord­ing to a 2017 re­port com­mis­sioned by the New Zealand Waste Levy Ac­tion Group, 15.5 mil­lion tonnes of waste is dis­carded in New Zealand each year, but only 28 per cent of it is re­cy­cled.

Baker says, “as a busi­ness we go through lots of foil and we go through lots of chem­i­cals and we use a lot of that kind of stuff, so for me I think ‘what can I do to re­duce what I’m do­ing’.”

Sus­tain­able Sa­lons co-founder Ewelina Soroko says, “aware­ness is awe­some and ex­tremely im­por­tant, but ac­tion is the only way we’re truly go­ing to build a bet­ter planet.”

Co-founder and man­ag­ing direc­tor Paul Frasca high­lights the im­por­tance of the 450-plus strong sa­lon mem­ber net­work’s launch in New Zealand.

“New Zealand is not only renowned for its awe­some scenery, but also for be­ing pro­gres­sive on many is­sues,” Frasca says.

“They have the pas­sion and the mo­ti­va­tion to re­ally take sus­tain­abil­ity to the next level, and that’s what Ewelina and I are most ex­cited about.”

The ar­rival of Sus­tain­able Sa­lons in New Zealand was timely for Baker, and the de­ci­sion to get in­volved was a no-brainer.

“Sus­tain­able Sa­lons is a com­pany that’s been in Aus­tralia for a few years and I’ve been fol­low­ing a few sa­lons that have jumped on board with it.

“I was look­ing at what they were do­ing, try­ing to fig­ure out how I could do what they were do­ing with­out their help, and then next thing you know I got an email say­ing that they were bring­ing Sus­tain­able Sa­lons to New Zealand and would I be in­ter­ested.

“So it was just an easy ‘Oh my God, yes’.

“This is go­ing to take all the hard work out of it for me.

“I signed up the sec­ond I had the op­por­tu­nity to. I was like ‘let me at it, I’m so keen, this is ex­actly what I’ve been want­ing’,” Baker says.

She says there are strict guide­lines about what goes in which waste bins, so there is no cross-con­tam­i­na­tion.

Among the prod­ucts col­lected are pa­per, plas­tics, met­als, hair (in­clud­ing pony­tails), chem­i­cals, ra­zors, tools and tin foil.

Hair gets swept up to be made into hair booms which are used to clean up oil spills along the coast.

Work­ing in Browns Bay, I of­ten look at the beach and I kind of think ‘Oh God it’s get­ting pol­luted’. Amanda Baker

The com­pany is also the largest col­lec­tor and donor of pony­tails in Aus­tralia, send­ing them to char­i­ta­ble or­gan­i­sa­tions and wig-mak­ers to be made into wigs for peo­ple suf­fer­ing from hair loss caused by med­i­cal is­sues.

Items such as foil are sold to a com­pany that melts it all down and makes it into more foil for hair­dressers to re­use, while all the plas­tic goes to a plas­tic com­pany that makes it into out­door fur­ni­ture.

One hun­dred per cent of the prof­its from the re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als go back into the com­mu­nity via

OzHar­vest in Aus­tralia, and Ki­wiHar­vest in New Zealand. To­gether, they pro­vide meals to vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple, with more than 48,000 meals pro­vided to date.

“I think that a lot of our clients now are go­ing to be re­ally ex­cited to know that when they come and get their hair done, their car­bon foot­print’s be­ing re­duced,” Baker says.

The pro­gramme also has a num­ber of ben­e­fits for its mem­bers, who can use a Re­wards Shop to pur­chase sus­tain­ably minded prod­ucts, earn­ing points each week.

Baker echoes Soroko’s mes­sage about the im­por­tance of tak­ing ac­tion.

“I think that all sa­lons in New Zealand need to com­pletely step up to it and I think if they don’t they’ll re­ally get left be­hind,” she says.

Photo / Michael Craig

Amanda Baker says her con­cern for the en­vi­ron­ment made it easy to de­cide to get in­volved with the pro­gramme.

Paul Frasca (left) and Ewelina Soroko of Sus­tain­able Sa­lons.

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