Q: When did you start to take sustainability in your business seriously? A: In 2014 we did an audit as part of the ACT government ACTSmart business program. We were horrified by the fact that we were 100% landfill! Of course, we knew we weren’t being very green but the audit gave us the grave news in a focused way. It was definitely time for a change. We began by changing lights to LED, using Ecohead taps to reduce water wastage, put chemical waste into bin instead of down the drain. In addition, we started collecting cardboard and plastics and taking them to the local recycling centre. We then started using EasyDry towels and Refoil. Now we are part of Sustainable Salons Australia and life is super peachy!!
Q: What are the most important environmental considerations in your business?
A: Chemical, water and power wastage. Reducing the toxin load on our team members and clients.
Q: How do you get the staff involved and make them participate in your strategies?
A: Some of our team members were very keen recyclers outside of work so they were very quick to jump on board. Those who weren’t active in their personal lives were interested in the recycling aspect and the compelling reasons for making the change. We communicated the reasons and the ease of the strategies we implemented and encountered no resistance at all.
Q: What’s your advice for other business owners who don’t know where to start with recycling and sustainability?
A: The hairdressing industry contributes significantly to the toxic overload put into our country. By making simple and efficient changes to the way you get rid of your waste you can directly influence the quality of the environment for future generations. Clients love hearing about it and it gives them just one more great reason to justify coming to you and recommending you to their friends.
Q: What are your business goals in terms of sustainability?
A: Our change from 100% landfill to 20% in eight months was rewarded by receiving the 2015 ACTSmart Small Business Sustainability Award. Since then we have changed the main products we sell to align with our values of sustainability. Our next goal is to encourage and educate clients to purchase products that come in fully recycled and recyclable packaging. When they return their empty bottles and we process them through Sustainable Salons we will give them a 10% discount on their next product purchase
Thank you Jules for your thoughtful responses- and for demonstrating that becoming a more sustainable salon is a very admirable and achievable task!