If you are thinking of going ‘green’ in your salon in the New Year, then there are lots you can do to help not only the environment, but also your business. Here, Keith Mellen, Director of Anne Veck, talks about how they have become one of the biggest eco-friendly salons in the industry.
For environmentally friendly ways in-salon, I would put them in three main interconnected categories. And it is not all cost, a lot of these actions will save your salon money, if not in the short term, then over the medium/long term. Don't underestimate the extra bums on seats that a genuine ‘green’ profile will attract. Trust me, discerning clients will come to your salon.
Below is a checklist of what we've done so far at Anne Veck. We haven't achieved everything yet that’s on the list, but it's a journey we are committed to, so remember you have to start somewhere! But, as an industry, we do need to get going urgently!
Category 1: Climate Change
Reduce your energy consumption, your carbon emissions and your gas and electricity bills. If your finances and salon situation allows, then invest in energy efficient technology such as solar panels, heat exchange, geothermal, even ceramic fuel cell technology like us – you could be the 1st salon in the world to invest in the new advanced BlueGen (we have the old 2012 version!).
If this isn't possible or affordable (you'll be looking at a return on investment over 5-10 years), then just switch your gas and electric to a 100% green supplier. There are several well-known suppliers out there and they are competitive with the "Big 6’.
Also, of course, save energy by reducing hot water use and installing LED lights (see the check list), even telephone and broadband can be "green"!
If you are planning a salon refit, consider using recycled timber, metal and furniture. We did this for our Bicester salon and received lots of trade media attention and, of course, our clients love it.
Category 2: Pollution
Reduce pollution, including plastic, chemical waste, paper, card and vehicle emissions. The most important thing is to reduce wastage and so reducing consumption. Remember, much of what we in the UK "recycle" is in reality exported to India and other countries who chuck it in to landfill. Check if your suppliers (colour house etc.) use recycled packaging (plastic, paper and card). If you use stationery (price lists, vouchers, etc.), switch to a green printer using the latest eco-friendly technology. Your standard printing ink is filthy stuff and, in my experience, some local printing firms are still back in the 20th century regarding simple measures like separating paper and card for recycling! Use biodegradable towels, which saves energy (less washing) and is unique to each client.
Category 3: Mass Extinction
Protect biodiversity and natural habitats. You can support your local Wildlife Trust or other environmental organisation or give to a carbon-offsetting scheme (these plant trees or protect forests in order to compensate for the carbon you emit). Research your suppliers to see if they use palm oil in their products, and if they do, from which palm oil grower do they source it. The big palm oil producers in Indonesia and Malaysia continue to trash rainforests on an industrial scale. They are responsible for wiping out rare wildlife including orangutans and tigers, whilst polluting the local environment by burning the forests. This causes ill health in the local people and, bringing us full circle, emits huge amounts of carbon dioxide and destroys the forests' capacity to store it.
This all sounds pretty gloomy and quite rightly so! As the UN Climate Change Conference in Poland in December 2018 was warned, if we don't take effective action now, we are all doomed - as Private Fraser used to say in Dad's Army!
Eco-friendly balayage anyone?