Many think that creating an eco-chic salon can be challenging, but it's never been easier, thanks to a global demand for more environmentally friendly materials that is driving prices down and supply alternatives up. "We all can effect positive change—person by person, salon by salon—as the little things we do every day add up to a large impact," says Gilbert VanDerWeide, Aveda's executive director, visual merchandising and events. Here, VanDerWeide shares tips on small ways to make a big difference.
Aveda Lifestyle Salon & Spa in Madrid, Spain
1. USE GREEN MATERIALS. Print posters, collateral and service menus on recycled paper using soy ink, or on paper that is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified. Cardboard displays and modular shelving can be easily disassembled and recycled. Use of reclaimed wood in floors, stairways and decor is a great way to go, as well.
2. CLEAR THE AIR. Choose natural materials for props, organic fabrics and low-VOC paints to improve air quality. Plants can also play the dual role of decorator and air purifier.
3. LOOK FOR UNIQUE WAYS TO REUSE ITEMS. Aveda's Lifestyle Salon & Spa in Madrid, Spain, features a beautiful privacy screen separating the salon and spa areas made from recycled Rioja wine barrels. "Rethinking can happen in so many ways," VanDerWeide says. "Taking something old and presenting it in a modern and startling way brings beauty not just into the aesthetic, but also in the act of being kind to the earth." —L.M.