Green Tips: Streaming, flaxen, waxen; hair

Mary Closser
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By Mary Closser

Sometimes it would be easier to be bald. Think of all the money saved, time and bad hair days. Then, there’s the carbon footprint from the salon — the waste from hair, plastic containers, packaging, foils, and paper towels. Then, the energy and water waste from blow dryers, hair washing and laundry. The chemical waste from dyes, bleach, peroxides, disinfectants, and associated air pollution from the odors are important, too. One study found that 20% of hairdressers in the United States leave the business due to allergies or dermatitis.

So, what to do about this carbon intensive commonality for many humans: hair?

The first step is to ask questions as the business won’t survive without us. Is your salon a member of the Green Circle Salons, a certified sustainable salon organization? If not, why not? My research revealed there are a few Green Circle salons in Salt Lake City. Yes, salons need to pay to join but I know I’d be willing to add a few bucks to my cut to support the entry.

Green Circle Salons certify saving energy and water in various ways, but they also focus on the recovery, recycling and repurposing of beauty waste including hair clippings, color, metals, plastics, safety materials and more. Hair clippings, for example, can get made into hair mats for oil spills or storm water filtration. Foils, tubes, and aerosol cans get recycled into new metal materials. And, as the demand for eco-friendly products in our shampoos, conditioners and lotions has increased, prices are becoming more competitive. So, think twice before your next appointment. Do some research and if you’re “married” to your stylist, start asking questions.

Recycle Utah, your community non-profit drop-off recycling center, provides these weekly tips.  Visit their website for more information –


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