We all know that it’s important to be sustainable in our businesses and our lives. I have a lot of owners ask me how to get started, and what they can do to help lower the carbon footprint in their salons. It can seem overwhelming just knowing where to start. While some things require an initial investment, they will save money overtime. Other things are free and just require you and your staff to make it part of your salon culture and commitment to “going green.” Remember that doing something is much better than nothing at all. Making easy and small changes will not only help the environment but also reduce your overhead, and help the bottom line. Here are the three R’s to remember: reduce, reuse and recycle.
1. Invest in energy-efficient bulbs. LEDs not only last longer than incandescent bulbs, but on average they use 66 percent less energy. Best of all, they reduce your overall electricity bill.
2. Use electricity only when you need it. Turn off all curling irons, flat irons, hood dryers and lights when not being used. Make an evening checklist to make sure computers, copy machines, coffee machines and any other electrical sources are turned off. Consider installing motion-sensor lighting in restrooms and break rooms. Also try asking your electric company if they have a renewable electricity program that allows you to purchase renewable electricity instead of nonrenewable electricity.
3. Watch your water usage. Switch to cold water in your washing machine. If everyone in the world switched to cold water in washing machines, we could reduce carbon emissions by millions of tons each year. And while we are talking about laundry, only use the washing machine when you have a full load to launder. Every wash cycle consumes 32 to 59 gallons of water. Replace your old hot-water heater with an instant hot-water system. It provides a never-ending supply of hot water when you need it, and you don’t waste energy to heat water when it’s not in use. And, if possible, switch to solar. Also, fix all leaky faucets. A slow drip can waste 150 to 300 gallons of water per month.
4. Conscientiously control your climate. Tinted windows help block UV rays and keep your salon cooler. You can save as much as 10 percent a year on heating and cooling bills by lowering your thermostat 7 to 10 degrees. Installing ceiling fans can also help make sure your air conditioning system is not overworked.
5. Encourage your staff to start a carpool. This helps them save money on transportation and gives them a way to connect—and hold each other accountable to be on time—while reducing omissions.
6. Enhance the space with “green” touches. Offering clients beverages in glass and china cuts down on waste from disposable cups while giving clients a classier experience. Adding potted plants produces oxygen, helping to balance out carbon dioxide emissions. Replacing old towels with microfiber towels, which are more absorbent, means less energy wasted on dryer time. And, try using environmentally friendly cleaning products that are less harmful to the environment and your staff.
7. Remember to recycle. There are so many ways you can become a more “green” salon with recycling: Buy recycling trashcans and place them next to the regular trashcans. Switch out your paper business cards, stationery and retail bags to 100 percent postconsumer recycled paper. Ask guests if they need a bag for retail purchases instead of automatically supplying one. Never throw away old computers, electronics, or rechargeable products such as clippers. There are many ways these appliances can be recycled. Even hair can be recycled to make hair mats used for oil spills and contaminated storm drains (MatterOfTrust.org).
- Use electricity wisely, finding any way to use less of it.
- Limit your water usage, going cold when you can and maximizing every drop.
- Have a sustainable strategy for controlling your salon’s climate.
- Offer environmentally friendly amenities, like china cups instead of paper.
- Recycle everything you can—paper, containers, electronics and even hair.
From the April issue, click here for the digital edition.