Compiled by Megan Vickery and Alison Shipley
Around the country, there’s a green revolution arising in salons and spas. From Earth-friendly charitable events to green construction, salons voice their recent eco-actions.
Bigger is Better
“We focus retail sales of shampoo and conditioner on 32-ounce bottles,” says the Affinity Salon and Day Spa owner Craig Burkholder. “The larger bottles offer a 30-percent savings over four eight-ounce bottles, which means fewer bottles are produced and discarded.” This energy-saving tactic from the Dayton, Ohio salon requires fewer materials to be produced and transported, which also reduces the amount of waste in landfills.
Annapolis, Maryland’s Varuna Aveda Salon Spa is constructed completely of eco-friendly material—from crushed sunflower seeds and soy products to recycled cabinets and drywall.
Aria Salon Spa Shoppe in Alpharetta, Georgia replaced its light fixtures with fluorescents. Although the upfront cost was high, the salon benefited in the long run both financially and environmentally. “The bulb switch significantly lowered our cooling costs and they require less electricity,” say owners Matthew and Mechelle Khodayari.
Avantgarde in Destin, Florida relocated the main salon/spa and opened an additional location using an eco-friendly design firm for both. Some of the earth-friendly elements include: a focal wall composed of reclaimed wood, concrete walls polished down to expose rocks and textures, and large windows that bring in natural light. “The lights are energy-saving halogen and many are on dimmers,” says owner Joseph A. Rogers.
“We installed a gas line to accommodate tankless water heaters,” says Bella Salon and Spa owner Tamara L. Shindle. “This has proven to be more efficient than electric and helps conserve water.” This switch also allowed the Hagerstown, Maryland salon to convert from an electric dryer to a gas dryer, which saves time and energy.
From Broom to Shrooms
Hailing from Brecksville, Ohio, Bella Toccare de Spa and Salon’s latest “going green” initiative is participation in the Matter of Trust program, which recycles hair from clients. The hair is made into mats designed to soak up oil from oil spills. After the hair mats soak up oil, they are turned into compost using mushrooms. The roots of the mushrooms produce enzymes that break down the oil and mat for a completely waste-free process.
Green’s a Breeze
Breeze Salon and Day Spa encourages clients to bring in their old plastic caps, then the North Andover, Massachusetts salon recycles them. Customers bring in 10 plastic caps to receive 10-percent off of products. Aveda then sends the plastic caps to be recycled and created into containers for naturally derived products.
Great Green Garage Sale
Centre Salon and Spa in Arvada, Colorado organized a company-wide garage sale, promoting the environmentally friendly principles reduce, reuse, recycle. The garage sale, along with other Earth Month fundraisers, raised $1,500 to support clean water. “Of course, we also recycle all plastic bottles, aluminum cans, glass, paper, cardboard and packing paper,” says owner Jim Pacifico. “Our team takes turns driving these items to a nearby recycling center.”
Each year for the past 10 years, Entourage Salon and Spa in Sheboygan, Wisconsin participates in the Adopt a Highway program. The salon sponsors a stretch of the interstate highway and, as a team, participates in a clean up of the area. “It is with sincere effort that we look for ways to do our part to help the environment,” say owners James and Janet Goking. “We welcome the opportunity to better our local community, through community service or financial support to environmentally friendly projects.”
Green Tangerine Salon and Spa in Canton, Connecticut cut paper consumption more than 30-percent last year by reducing work ticket printing, reusing and recycling scrap paper and eliminating signed paper documents from community donations. “We also began offering client beverages in reusable mugs, saving more than 3,640 cups from landfills last year alone,” says owner Michael Barsamian.
The staff of Life SalonSpa in Nova Scotia, Canada had classes of elementary-aged children draw pictures of clean water and the positive results clean water has on the earth. One picture from each class was selected, and a total of six were printed on thank-you cards. The money raised went to support clean water practices in the Northumberland Strait.
Taking a Stand
“We decided we needed to make our own contribution toward helping the environment,” say Maude owners Vanessa Rose, Catina Jay and Celeste Williams. “The obvious solution was to start to recycle. Our challenge was that our small town had no on-site recycling.” After an unsuccessful petition to gain on-site recycling in Herndon, Virginia, Maude owners called the local trash company and made arrangements to have recycling containers placed in the dumpster area. “Although it costs Maude to have the recycling service come to us, we just consider it part of the cost of doing business,” the owners say.
Rituals Salon-Spa in Midlothian, Virginia, has a Green Coordinator on staff to help maximize environmentally friendly efforts and keep the staff empowered in the conservation quest through education and awareness.
Simply Swank Salon and Spa in Hudson, Ohio hired a new cleaning company to clean the salon with exclusively eco-friendly and non-toxic cleaning products. The salon is also landscaped with regionally tolerant plantings and flowers that subsist on natural rainfall, rather than constant watering and maintenance. “We’re committed to fostering an eco-friendly workplace,” say owners Guy and Mary Swank.
Oh, So Cool
“During our remodel,” says Vanity Salon owner Glennis Tolunay, “we chose eco-friendly appliances and finishes, such as bamboo flooring.” The Houston, Texas salon also purchased a larger air conditioning unit that can cool the salon by running for a shorter period of time.
“Being environmentally conscious is an important part of our brand image,” say Rosana Elias and Alex Michail, owners of Girl from Ipanema Spa Salon. The salon purchases many supplies in larger quantities to cut down on shipping and packaging. The Summit, New Jersey salon saves on freight, which more than compensates for the cash flow tied up in inventory.
The Hair Benders salon in Kingsport, Tennessee has taken multiple small steps to help the environment. “We are unplugging all we can at night and ask that everyone unplug their power strip when they are finished, instead of just turning their tools off,” says owner Shelia Ferguson. Unplugging tools ensures energy doesn’t drain unnecessarily. The salon has also switched their laundry wash and rinse cycle to cold to reduce the energy used to heat water.
Owners of Rave Salon and Spa, Ken and Cathy Warner,are members of the board Trees, Inc. This organization is dedicated to planting trees throughout the city. The staff of the Terre Haute, Indiana salon is committed to not only raising money for the organization, but also participating in the organization’s different projects.
From the Floor Up
Art + Science Salon/Spa in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is celebrating their new location with a green overhaul. “We are reclaiming the floors, using computer-controlled energy efficient lighting that lowers and brightens throughout the day,” say salon owners Stephen Falvo and Jeff Ramsey. And the list goes on: The new salon will have furniture made from Chinese Rubberwood and stainless steel, no VOC paint will be used and the carpeting is made from corn. The new location will also be paperless with computer terminals around the salon.
Déjà Vu Salon and Spa in Media, Pennsylvania kicked off a yearlong campaign to help the environment by replacing their vinyl floor. This change reduced the amount of chemicals used. “The vinyl needed a lot of chemical treatments to keep it shiny,” says Déjà Vu owner John McCosker, “so we replaced it with a recycled wood floor.” He says the new floor only needs a little mopping and adds a nice warm tone to the salon.
Beehive Salon in Wichita, Kansas celebrated Earth Day 2008 with treats for the environment—and taste buds! The staff baked cupcakes and decorated them as a team, then held a bake sale. This sweet idea resulted in the salon’s most successful environmental effort to date.
Pure Natur Salon and Spa in Fairview Heights, Illinois planned a 5K walk/run to raise money for Alliance for the Great Lakes. The successful event grabbed local attention and resulted in newspapers, the YMCA and about 50 vendors participating in the Get Fit for Clean Water Fair.
Salon La Di Da in Gainesville, Florida took recycling to a new level by depositing used foils at the local metals recycling collector. “Our color has a designated receptacle so we can minimize the amount that gets put down the drain,” say owners Diana and Dave Castine.
Salon Laurie and Company in Baltimore, Maryland knows how to reuse. Owner Laurie K. Schroeder says, “Any packaging materials we receive are either taken to UPS stores to be reused or I use them around the salon somehow for merchandising or displays.” In addition, the salon cuts up all old paper and forms and uses them for note taking. This reduces the expense of paper and saves the Earth from the extra waste.
“When the decision was made to change our front desk (a custom piece of hardwood furniture), we had our desk dismantled, reconfigured and reinstalled instead of buying a new one,” says Salon Soca owner Brigette Sobus. When in need of other new furniture, this Chicago salon searches for old treasures to reuse. “When practical, we have bought furniture pieces from resale shops and then refinished them ourselves.”
Sole Salon in Emeryville, California subscribes to their utility company’s Climate Smart program. A percentage of each monthly electric bill goes to protect the Redwood trees in Northern California. This small step helps in the fight against climate change and reduces the salon’s carbon footprint.
Joseph and Friends Lifestyle Salon and Spa uses a tankless water heater. Owners of the Roswell, Georgia, salon Joseph Golshani and Oksana Gerasimenko say, “Although they are more expensive than storage water heaters, they can be eight- to 14-percent more energy efficient and last five to 10 years longer.” Tankless water heaters heat water directly, without the use of a storage tank, thereby avoiding standby heat losses associated with storage water heaters.
Way to Accessorize
Going green is in fashion at Pyara Spa and Salon. Say owners Christine Perkins and Elizabeth Payne, “We are a team that is extremely conscientious about waste. One of our staff members takes all our printed materials and boxes and turns them into wearable belts and art.” The Cambridge, Massachusetts group also holds a fashion show featuring environmentally friendly designers to raise money for Earth Month.
Green Day Off
Rumors Salon and Spa found a staff-friendly way to go green. The Latham, New York salon eliminated one workday per week. This saves 20-percent of their team’s fuel cost and decreases the individual ecological footprint—not to mention it creates a happier work force! “Employees actually work harder and more efficiently during their four days,” say owners Marri Aviza and Lisa Norgrove.
Salon by Debbie purchased a renewable energy certificate from Windstreet Energy, which allows clean power producers to enter the competitive market place. For every green kilowatt or megawatt purchased, that much less dirty power is produced. This reduces pollution emitted into the atmosphere, specifically carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide.
As the Wind Blows
Parlor Hair Salon in New York City is leaving a lighter eco-footprint by switching to 100-percent wind-powered, pollution-free electricity. Although they now pay an extra 2.5 cents per kWh, an increase in their monthly bill, no emissions or pollutions result from the massive amount of electricity they use daily. “Parlor is open seven days a week and we use energy for everything,” says owner Gwenn LeMoine. “I feel it’s worth paying extra to make an effort toward a better environment and hopefully say something to the leaders of our country that there is a desire for change.