Q: When did you start to take sustainability in your business seriously? A: I've always taken sustainability seriously. I'm from a family who always recycled and lived in a sustainable manner so it was always important to me for my business to reflect that. I'm always looking at ways to make the salon more sustainable, from energy saving lights, to switching to biodegradable coffee pods. If there is a more sustainable option I will always explore it.

"It really started for me when I called my local council to get a recycling bin. I was shocked to learn that not only would they not supply me with a recycling bin, but they don't have any recycling bins available for commercial properties. I asked them why and their response was that they dont have the facilities for sorting the recycling. I then asked how that could be true if they collect residential recycling bins - where does that waste go? They had no answer for me so I was left to assume that they don't bother to recycle. This is Leichhardt Council and I would have expected better of them! So I decided to take matters into my own hands and source my own recycling company and I was so pleased to discover Sustainable Salons Australia. It's so nice to find like minded people who care about sustainability as much as I do!"
Q: What are the most important environmental considerations in your business?
A: The most important environmental considerations are minimising waste and our landfill contribution, as most of the waste we produce is recyclable. Also I'm always looking for ways to minimise waste - it drives me crazy how much wasteful packaging our suppliers send us - a whole cardboard box filled with stuffing for one tiny colour tube is so wasteful! I will often call them and harass them to try and get them to use less packaging. They probably hate me for it! I also love that we can now use biodegradable gloves and Refoil (recycled and recyclable foil) as we use a LOT of these products.
Q: How do you get the staff involved and make them participate in your strategies?
A: It was easy to get the staff involved. They were totally on board from the start and we keep each other accountable by making sure that all the waste ends up in the correct bins. It makes me so proud when I hear one staff member say to another - "hey that doesn't go in that bin, you have to separate that part and put it in the other bin."
Q: What’s your advice for other business owners who don’t know where to start with recycling and sustainability?
A: Start with small changes - see if you can at least get a co-mingled recycling bin for your salon, switch to Greendex biodegradable gloves, Refoil and biodegradable coffee pods. These are things that you have to get and they are not more expensive than getting regular ones so it's a no brainer to make a few changes for huge results. Also, switching to energy saving lights are not only better for the environment but they save a lot of money. You don't have to be a big environmental crusader, it's easy to make a few changes. It's also a great talking point with the clients - they love hearing that we are being environmentally responsible.
Q: What are your business goals in terms of sustainability? A: I would love us to be as carbon neutral as possible. My next steps are going to be getting a compost bin so we can recycle food scraps. There is a local community garden in Balmain and they said they would love to take our compost. I'm also getting instant gas hot water rather than the wasteful water tank that we have now. My goals are to always be as ethical and sustainable wherever possible, and not to bury our heads in the sand and see it all as someone else's problem.
Shout-out to Nina! Thanks for answering our questions, and sharing your sustainable mission with everyone you encounter!