Colorado hair salon goes green with new recycling program

PARKER, Colo.- The beauty industry has a dirty little secret, it produces a lot of garbage. Everything from the shampoo bottles to the hair dye and hair itself will usually end up in a landfill.

"And every day seeing those giant trash bags, those giant black trash bags that hold infinite amounts of waste we would have two or three of those a night," said Taylor Papp, a stylist at Wisp Salon and Spa.

After a conversation with a client, she started researching different avenues for salons to recycle. Papp and a colleague took their ideas to the salon manager. Everyone agreed that it would be great to be a little more green.

"Honestly it was kind of like well yeah, why wouldn’t we," said Jenna McCarthy, Wisp Salon and Spa Manager.

The salon is one month into a new program and recycling more than 95 percent of the waste it generates. Everything that can be recycled will be processed through a business called Green Circle Salons.

In 2017, the company diverted 955,011 pounds of salon waste from landfills and water streams across the U.S. and Canada.

"So we recycle cut hair, excess color. We recycle even the foils that are used in the hair, even stuff you didn’t think you could recycle, they recycle from us," said Papp.

Stylists just have to sort out the waste before they throw it away. There are separate bins for plastic products, paper, aluminum and hair color. Even old hair is re-purposed into booms that will be used to clean up oil spills.

Wisp is asking customers to do their part. They will see a $2 fee on their receipts that goes toward the recycling effort and other sustainable measures. Anyone who brings in used product bottles will receive two dollars off.

"This is what’s good for the environment, it is good business practice and we want to make a difference not only in people’s lives and in the way that they feel beautiful but in the environment itself," said McCarthy.

McCarthy says they are already seeing a dramatic reduction in the amount of trash being thrown out. The salon used to fill a six-yard dumpster every week but recently downsized to a much smaller container that is emptied every other week.

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