EnviroCentre Business Spotlight: Green Circle Salons

A bag full of hair.

Have you ever seen a bin made out of human hair? How about a car fueled by dye? Maybe insulation made from boxes? A road made from rubber gloves? No? Well, one company is facilitating all of this right here in Ottawa.

Green Circle Salons works with partners to divert the most common waste items in the beauty industry into innovative new recycling streams. This includes hair clippings, product tubes, personal protective equipment like gloves, cardboard packaging, and excess hair colouring. These products are shipped down to Toronto for sorting and then off to other partners for processing. Those downstream partners are established through the Carbon Trust Zero Waste to Landfill Certification. Through this work, Green Circle Salons has found a second life for much of the outbound waste of their partners.

Green Circle Salons doesn’t only work in waste diversion, though. They’re hard at work reducing the emissions of salons. After an assessment, Green Circle Salons calculates a partner’s emissions and contributes to equivalent offsets through the Offset Alliance. This way members can achieve net-zero status after mitigating everything they can.

Kaleigh Tremblay from Green Circle Salons tells us they encourage members to include an enviro-fee per client to balance the additional processing costs of the program. Many customers are excited to be able to contribute to sustainability while also updating their look. Meanwhile, the business itself is able to turn a flat cost into a revenue stream.

You don’t even realize the amount of waste being produced.

Kaleigh tells us that the simple act of taking stock of salon waste has shown more efficient use of supplies, too. “They have all the stylists working behind the chairs, mixing up the colours. If they mix too much colour, nobody even realizes it when it gets rinsed down the drain. You don’t even realize the amount of waste being produced. We give them a little bin and they’re scraping their excess bowls into this bin. It’s a visual thing. They can see the amount of waste.” From here, salon owners can easily incentivize waste reduction. Not only is this practice great for the environment, but it’s also saving the business owner money on having to restock due to wasted product.

EnviroCentre is excited to see local businesses collaborating and executing sustainability projects like this. If you’re running a business and are trying to figure out how you can be a part of the climate solution, feel free to reach out to us! EnviroCentre is happy to work with entrepreneurs ready to make a difference.