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Metals waste: Responsible disposal solutions
Your salon probably disposes of a great deal of metal, especially aluminium. A large proportion of this will be from the colour tubes that house your chemicals. And unless you’ve found an alternative product or technique, you probably use aluminium foil for your foil or balayage work. Your business may even be a dumping ground for empty soda cans or soup tins. Your salon brings in as well as disposes of a steady flow of metal which, as you well know, you often pay for on both ends.
Metals are highly recyclable but often end up binned instead.
It is incredibly important to make sure your salon metals waste actually gets recycled. Read our article Why is it important to recycle metal? to understand why. Your business can help save precious resources by minimising the metals you use in the first place as well as the benefits of recycling them properly. Read our article How to minimise metals waste in your salon.
When salons use GSC to dispose of their metal waste they can be assured that it will be recycled. We provide bins with which to separate metals from all other waste streams. This ensures that the contaminants on the metals do not leach onto other materials, like plastics or paper, which would likely render them non-recyclable.
GSC makes use of the infrastructure of a third-party local business, First Mile, to transport metal waste from salons to a sorting facility. We have worked out a system so that the metal from our salons is kept separate from everything else and that it is regularly weighed. We have done this so our members can see the collective impact of our efforts in reclaiming this valuable resource.
In our short history as a business, we have already diverted thousands of kilos of metal from ending up in landfill. For example, from our launch in July 2020 to the time of publishing this article (December 2020) we have collected over 1.5 tonnes of aluminium. That is an incredibly large amount of pure aluminium from a limited number of businesses in such a short space of time.
We know from our partnership with First Mile that this metal was used in the UK to make engine parts. All profits generated from recycling salon metal waste are donated to our affiliate charities (to learn more, click here).
Let’s dream for a moment. If we collect enough aluminium from our salon members, GSC may be able to supply this material directly to producers of hair foil (eg Foil Me) or colour tubes. This would mean we have collectively closed the loop on this material for our industry. GSC is growing fast and these are the sorts of projects we will be able to lead when we help yet more salons to responsibly dispose of their metals and other waste.
This article was written for Green Salon Collective by MeetthefiveRs.
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References and further reading
MeetthefiveRs’ article, Green Salon Collective: Circular disposal solutions for salon waste
The Verge’s article, Aluminum is recycling’s new best friend, but it’s complicated
The British Metals Recycling Association’s article, Cool facts about metals recycling
The Aluminum Association’s page on the production of aluminium
Spa + Clinic’s article, Salon foil usage in sustainability spotlight
Precision Colour website
First Mile website
Cover photo by David Hofmann on Unsplash