It wasn't that long ago that I scrolled through my phone seeing all the ways people were living and working sustainably and the Church Lady from old Saturday Night Live shows ran through my head, "Well isn't that special?". I thought it seemed difficult and complicated until I made it a part of my everyday life.
I started seeing ways I could make changes in my home and in my business and what was holding me back was a disruption of convenience. Becoming aware of how we are negatively affecting our environment is key and gives that extra push to find ways that make sustainability convenient. It's inserting in or changing up a new way of doing things. Driving by a landfill or even down the highway and seeing the amount of trash attributed to plastic is unsettling. I keep thinking if we don't make changes what is this going to look like in just 10 years? Cleaning up is the final answer. It helps, but it put a band-aid on the problem. The source is what we consume and how we dispose of what we are consuming.
The beauty industry alone sends 877 lbs of waste to the landfill every minute.
Being in the beauty industry I've seen firsthand the amount of plastic that is used and not even recycled. Most companies don't consider sustainability when designing their packaging. It was to be sexy and call to the eyes of the practitioners so that we can then buy it up and sell it to our customers, no questions asked. More than half of the plastic that is used doesn't get recycled when we toss them in the bin. Bottle caps, pumps, sprayers, and nozzles get tossed in the trash at local recycling facilities.
When I opened Elevate, I knew that sustainability was my top priority in hopes that we can make an impact on our contribution to the waste in our industry. We joined Green Circle Salons which is a company that takes the waste that local recycling centers don't. Things like:
Foils and color tubes which get melted down into sheet metal or metal bricks are used for new products like car parts and bicycles
Hair Clippings which is turned into biocomposite plastic for products like recycling bins.
Color Waste is dumped into a container instead of our sink and into our water system and then turned into clean energy. If not clean energy, it is broken down into water and oil, and water is returned to the water system and oil is turned into fuel.
Single-use items like gloves, waxing sticks, and cotton rounds are recycled
Old curling irons and blow dryers are recycled as well as the mannequin heads we use to practice.
In the salon, we have switched to anything that can be compostable or comes from post-consumer waste like:
Cups for water and coffee
Plastic meche and bibs for balayage
Coffee pods for our Keurig
Paper towels in our bathroom
I know there is still even more for us to do, but it is my hope that we can help lead other salons as well as an advocate in our industry for better practices all around. Working with companies that take giving back to our Earth the way she has so lovingly given to us. It's making it full circle and not taking what we can't return. An equal energy exchange within our environment.