You can’t turn a corner in Corvallis without running into a couple hair salons. When considering where to get your locks coiffed, you could focus on prices, location, and stylists, but why not also consider the carbon footprint of each establishment? This is a city that seems to pride itself on two things, looking good and doing good, and by choosing Honeycomb salon, you can accomplish both.
The Impact of Hair Salons on the Environment
Alicia Brown, co-owner of Honeycomb Salon, realizes that a lot of people don’t think about the impact salons can have on the environment.
“The ugly truth is that salons typically have very high-water consumption and energy use,” Brown says.
“It proved to be a challenge to even find a space that could successfully house a salon because of the electrical and plumbing needs. Contractors were always shocked when I mentioned how many watts a professional blow dryer uses, and how big of a hot water tank we would need.”
That’s not to mention all the chemical waste in most salons – which goes down the drain and into our waterways – and the disposal of foil and hair. All of these things have an impact on the environment.
As a self-proclaimed “coastie” who grew up going on field trips picking up trash on the beach, Brown has spent most of her life thinking about what it means to be green. But not everyone in the hair industry has the same considerations.
“At a staff meeting at one of the first salons I worked at, the owner asked if anyone knew what the three R’s were. I raised my hand so confidently and said, ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.’ She was looking for ‘Retail, Rebook, Referral.’ Woops,” Brown says.
So, when Brown considered opening her own salon, she always knew her core values as a business owner would be based on the impact she had on people and the environment; sustainable practices were non-negotiable.
The Green Circle Salon Movement
Honeycomb partnered with the Green Circle Salon Movement before they even opened their doors. By joining this movement, Honeycomb works with a recycling company that picks up their salon waste – such as excess chemicals, foil, and empty color tubs – and disposes of it in an eco-friendly way. Brown is pleased that most of her salon biproducts don’t end up in a landfill, even the hair that people leave behind.
“Everyone’s favorite part of the system is the recycling of the hair! All the hair swept up at Honeycomb, no matter the length, is sent off to be made into hair mats that absorb oil spills in our waterways. Hair is a great natural absorbent and these natural hair mats prove to be much more efficient than synthetic materials,” Brown says.
In addition, Honeycomb installed faucets on their shampoo bowls that minimize the water usage, and they choose to recommend Pureology hair products, which are completely vegan, meaning there are no animal products, bio-products, or animal testing, and the packaging is made of post-consumer recycled materials and in water conserving facilities.
Brown says that Honeycomb’s clients are excited about being part of something good, and the cost of sustainability is minimal. Patrons only pay a $1 Environmental-Stewardship Fee for hair services, making it an affordable way for them to help contribute to a cleaner environment, one haircut at a time. Through these practices, Honeycomb is able to repurpose, recycle, and capture 95 percent of the waste created during hair appointments.
While Honeycomb was proud to be the first Green Circle Salon in Corvallis, Brown was happy to hear that Luminous Salon recently joined the movement. We hope that more salons follow suit, but for now, if sustainability is at the top of your list when choosing a salon, you know where to go.
By Anika Lautenbach