As the world collectively strives towards a greener future, industries of all kinds are seeking innovative solutions to reduce waste and promote sustainability. In the beauty and salon industry, the Green Salon Collective is leading the charge by transforming what was once considered waste—human hair—into a valuable resource with over 10 groundbreaking recycling methods. In this blog post, we will explore some of the surprising ways in which the Green Salon Collective is turning salon waste into environmentally-friendly alternatives.
Composting & Gardening:
Hair is not just a styling asset; it's also a potent fertilizer. Rich in nitrogen, it proves to be an ideal ingredient for local and industrial composting. By incorporating hair into compost, the Green Salon Collective is closing the loop on waste, nurturing the soil and promoting sustainable gardening practices.
In a remarkable twist, hair can be used to address environmental crises such as oil spills and water pollution. By using hair booms—sausage-like tubes filled with waste human hair—to absorb oil and pollutants. These booms and hair mats not only help contain oil spills in waterways but also contribute to the cleanup of polluted rivers in the UK and Ireland.
Teaming up with Biohm, a London-based regenerative biomanufacturer, the Green Salon Collective combines hair with their innovative binding material, 'orb.' This collaboration results in particleboard-like sheets and molded 3D objects. Additionally, they explore mycelium, the root structure of fungi, growing around hair to create insulation panels.
Collaborating with Natural Fibre Co., a British woollen mill, the Green Salon Collective pioneers a hair-wool fiber alternative. The blend, consisting of 40% hair and 60% wool, redefines traditional yarns, ropes, and twines, diverting salon waste from landfills and reducing dependence on petroleum and cotton-based materials.
In a captivating experiment, the Green Salon Collective's Head of R&D, Stephanie Hodgson, explores the potential of 'potting felt' made from salon hair waste. This product aims to save water, deter pests, and release nitrogen into the soil, providing an eco-friendly solution for houseplants.
Hair Rope Workshops:
Collaborating with design researcher Sanne Visser, the Green Salon Collective introduces unique workshops that invite participants to explore hair rope making. These workshops not only create a hands-on experience but also inspire a shift in perspective, encouraging people to view hair waste as a valuable resource.
Partnering with architecture and research firm Pareid, the Green Salon Collective delves into the application of salon hair waste in architecture and building materials. Pareid aims to showcase the presence of hair in final products, challenging perceptions and urging people to consider this material as a resource rather than waste
Even the shortest hair strands are valuable in the Green Salon Collective's recycling projects. However, when hair is long enough, the collective transforms it into wigs, further extending the lifespan of this resource and contributing to the creation of sustainable hair products.
The Green Salon Collective's commitment to innovative recycling methods goes beyond the traditional boundaries of the beauty industry. By redefining waste as a resource, they set a remarkable example for salons worldwide, proving that sustainability and creativity can go hand in hand. As the collective continues to push boundaries, the future of the salon industry looks greener and more sustainable than ever.