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Hairdressers Find New Ways Of Recycling ‘Gross’ Human Hair And Cut Out Waste

Published on: 4 Feb, 2022
Updated on: 4 Feb, 2022

By Hugh Coakley

Hairdressers came to the Zero Carbon Guildford shop in Friary Street on Tuesday night (February 1) to hear about recycling their salon’s waste and they came away inspired.

Tim Avory from the High Street salon, Toni and Guy, said: “We will definitely be separating and recycling from now on. Our staff are enthusiastic about the idea.”

Helping to clean up an oil spill in Northern Ireland in 2021 using hair filled cotton tubes. Image from the Green Salon Collective website.

Around 20 people from Guildford hairdressing community heard Fry Taylor of the Green Salon Collective saying they were finding innovative ways of dealing with the most difficult salon waste items including human hair.

Tim Avory from Toni & Guy said his staff were enthusiastic about recycling.

Handing around human hair mats which could be used as cover filters in drains and hair and wool woven ropes, he said people either found it “beautiful or gross”.

A hairdresser himself for 10 years, he said he would be rich if he had a pound for every time he had been asked what hairdressers did with hair cuttings. Surprisingly, it can have a wide range of uses including mopping up oil spills and even composting,

Fry said only about 8% of salon waste is recycled. He wanted to recycle all of it including chemicals in dye and bleach and metal from hairdressing foils as well as hair itself.

Green Salon Collective diverted 60 tonnes of hair salon waste last year from landfill which he said was “less than 1% of the total waste in the industry”.

All hairdressers together. Julia Simpson (Julia Lampard Salon), Gemma Rais and assistant manager Daniel Lopez (Hair & Beauty Bar) and Hadiza Wright (House of Hair) at Zero to hear about hair salon recycling.

Julia Simpson, owner of the Julia Lampard salon, organised the evening with support from Experience Guildford and Zero Carbon Guildford. She gave an emotional address saying it was “important for future generations that we recycle”. And she encouraged the salon owners to share ideas on how their businesses could be more sustainable.

Fry Taylor of the Green Salon Collective inspired the Guildford hair salon owners.

Costs of going green, estimated at around £1 for each customer, was discussed amongst the salon business owners.

Owner Gemma Rais of the Hair & Beauty Bar, said: “I would love my salon to be greener. Our costs are going through the roof now and we are squeezed. I will be considering if we can put our prices up to cover the additional green costs.”

And owner Hadiza Wright of House of Hair on the Epsom Road said: “It has made think but I will need to do the costing before I can introduce it to my clients.”

Fry Taylor claimed it was cost neutral as shops that introduced the scheme, including formal accreditation demonstrating sustainability in their business, attracted new customers.

Alex Batty, owner Headmasters Guildford franchise and Sophie Hill, head of marketing for Headmasters, were convinced that recycling their waste was was important, especially for their younger customers.

Echoing what had been said by many present, Alex Batty, owner of the Guildford Headmasters franchise, said: “Our oncoming younger customers will be more focused on the environmental aspects. We have to go in that direction.”

The new climate change lead at Guildford Borough Council, Cllr Cait Taylor (Lib Dem, Friary & St Nicolas) enthusiastically thanked Julia Simpson for the event. She said: “It is the efforts like yours and this and the brilliant Zero Carbon driving the agenda forward and helping us as individuals, businesses and the community tackle climate change together. It is motivational and heartwarming to see each initiative that takes place. What a fantastic and informative evening.”

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