It is extremely costly to extract materials such as metal from the earth. Costly in terms of financing, yes. But also very, very costly in terms of impact on the planet and, oftentimes, on people (think mining conditions in certain parts of Africa or South America). Virgin aluminium, for example, requires mining bauxite ore which undergoes extremely energy-intensive processing.
If you’re super keen to learn more about these processes, The Aluminum Association has generated easy-to-understand information.
On the other hand, it is widely cited that recycling aluminium uses at least 90% less energy than primary production. Combine that with eliminating the need for mining, which can be difficult to control and trace, and it becomes apparent that recycling is an imperative. The trade off in processing recycled as opposed to virgin aluminium can be equivalent to powering the average UK home.
Contamination is a common barrier for salons to recycle their foil and colour tubes. Oftentimes, recycling service providers collect metals along with plastics and glass. If salons put used and thus contaminated foil and dye tubes with this collection, they may spoil the chances of some of those materials from getting recycled (e.g. plastics must be relatively clean otherwise they are a nightmare to recycle). Because few waste disposal services collect metals separately, salons find they have little choice other than to discard their contaminated metals with the rest of the rubbish.
Green Salon Collective has compiled a number of solutions to help your salon to minimise its metals waste and we also offer unique responsible disposal services for our industry. Read our articles:
This article was written for Green Salon Collective by MeetthefiveRs
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