With major brands like Aveda revolutionizing the way consumers think about sustainable beauty, now more than ever individual salons must consider their own practices. Thankfully, creating a green salon is possible and benefits not only your clientele but your greater community. We cover some of the major movements in salon sustainability–including Green Circle Salons’ certification program–and ways you can create a greener salon today. 

The Beginning Of The Green Salon Movement

A small inspiration can turn into a movement, and that’s exactly what happened when Shane Price, now CEO of Green Circle Salons, started talking with a eco-friendly salon owner in Canada in 2008. The owner was creating a directory of green minded salons to make it easier for consumers to find them. Yet, the term “green-minded” or eco-friendly wasn’t well defined for salons or their guests.

Price saw an opportunity to explore the green salon market more deeply, especially how salons viewed and managed waste. In the meantime, he started to educate himself on ways to turn waste into something useful. Once he had ideas in place, Price started pitching sustainability ideas to his connections in the salon industry. 

In the spring of 2009, Green Circle Salons was born, focused on managing environmental stewardship for the salon industry. It was the world’s first sustainable salon solution to recover and repurpose beauty waste to keep people and our planet beautiful.

How To Become A Certified Green Salon

Since 2009, Green Circle Salons’s mission has stayed the same:

  • Divert waste through simple recycling and repurposing programs
  • Build revenue by helping green salons become more profitable
  • Save money by offering a menu of approved, green-minded products and services 
  • Build a community and tribe online to connect green-minded consumers and salons 

Their mission is perfectly targeted to off-set waste created by the salon industry, which is equivalent to 877 pounds per minute. Green Circle Salons’s salon recycling program offers a proven way to recover and repurpose this waste in a way that makes sense for the industry. It feeds directly into their “Certified Sustainable Salon” certification process (formerly known as becoming a “Certified Green Salon”).

Price notes: “Ecology and economy are tied; our resources on this planet are limited. Every little bit a salon can do improves the quality of air and water for everyone.”

You can learn more about formal certification by reaching out to their team, but these are some of the steps you can take to become a more green-thinking and sustainable part of your community. 

1. Build sustainability into pricing 

Instead of charging separate fees for waste removal by type, Green Circle encourages salons to embed a general environmental stewardship fee into your costs. 

Build it into the final service ticket for each guest. Price notes that this is often an average of $1 to $2 more per customer. Also make it obvious. Share with your customers that a portion of their cost goes directly to supporting a greener salon. 

Once you choose to become a Certified Sustainable Salon, you’ll also get support for setting up your program, direct marketing opportunities, and how to best leverage their partnership for your specific business. 

On average, Green Circle notes that their certified green salon program generates an additional $3,000 to $5,000 revenue per year for salons, making it a unique funding tool that delivers increased revenue while also supporting your sustainability goals.

2. Create a salon recycling program

As a Certified Sustainable Salon with Green Circle, you’ll have the opportunity to turn your salon waste into new products or clean energy. That means no more landfill waste for your salon. 

With their salon waste management program, you’ll collect all of the following: 

  • Hair clippings 
  • Used foils
  • Color tubes
  • Excess hair color 
  • Other trash, like paper 

Once collected, you’ll simply ship it back to Green Circle for processing. Not part of Green Circle’s program? You can also make your salon experience more green by setting up compostable and recycling bins right away.

3. Add reminders across your salon 

Likewise, to help you share your green-minded efforts with guests, Green Circle Salon suggests using a variety of marketing materials. These can include: 

  • Branded bins to separate and collect waste
  • Table talkers to inform customers about the value of your sustainability program
  • Window decals to alert street traffic that you are a Certified Sustainable Salon
  • Mirror clings for each stylist station
  • Point of purchase placard to thank clients for supporting a more sustainable way of doing business

4. Make energy improvements across the salon

A green salon is one that considers not only the waste it’s putting out, but the energy it’s using. To improve the energy efficiency of your salon, consider: 

  • Installing a programmable thermostat to automatically lower or raise temperature during off hours
  • Using light sensors in bathrooms, stock rooms, offices, and other areas with low traffic
  • Upgrading light bulbs, small appliances, and other electronics to energy efficient options
  • Utilizing an energy-efficient mode for all of your electronics to reduce your energy needs
  • Scheduling an energy audit to locate drafts, energy leaks, and inefficient appliances in your salon
  • Installing an air purifier with a VOC filter to ensure air quality is great for guests and staff
  • Using a tankless water heater or insulated hot water tanks and pipes to keep water hotter for longer periods of time

5. Find products that support sustainability 

Focus your retail and service dollars on brands that care. Look for local beauty brands that prioritize sustainable practices to reduce shipping. And, find brands that embrace sustainability from the ingredients they use, to the way they source them, to packaging and shipping. 

In your thriving salon, these small intentional changes can have a major impact. 

6. Consider long-term goals 

What else can you do to become a green salon? From reducing your overall carbon footprint to embracing alternative energy sources, there’s so much you can do. Salons are uniquely positioned to be on the front end of consumer habits and expectations when it comes to sustainability practices, with many beauty brands like Aveda building sustainability into their core brand identity.

These tips on how to become a green salon are just the beginning, of course. As Price notes: 

“I believe the salon industry can be the leader that changes all industries. They have a lot of face time with clients, unlike any other professional. It’s a very powerful position to help educate. It needs to be easy and efficient for ANY salon type of business to join the movement  and reduce obstacles to waste management.”

Grow Toward A More Sustainable Future With SalonBiz

Like Green Circle Salons, all of us at SalonBiz pride ourselves on our long-term commitment to sustainable beauty. 

We focus on seamless inventory management that can be done completely digital. If you are operating an Aveda salon, our inventory management works even more seamlessly with pre-uploaded Aveda inventory. We also make it easy for all salons to become a certified green salon with our customizable “service charges” features to easily cover the cost of your sustainability upgrades. With digital-first solutions for communicating with your guests you can also ditch paper receipts. All transaction data will be saved right within the solution. 

Learn more about how SalonBiz’s salon management software can help you reach your sustainability goals now.