Sometimes a simple color and cut can make all the difference, but that one trip to the salon is also responsible for sending behind harsh chemicals and clipped hair into waterways.
That’s why Sharmaine’s Salon and Day Spa in Clearwater is working to reduce its ecological footprint.
“With everything that we’ve done, we’ve become 95% diverted. We divert our trash, our waste, even down to our hair color and our foils,” said Lori Fudens, a co-owner at the salon.
It’s the first salon and spa to be recognized as both Ocean Allies and Green Circle certified.
The hard work and almost-zero-waste mentality make the salon one of the most environmentally friendly in the Bay Area.
“When we take our rubber gloves off after coloring your hair, we have to put that in a certain bin,” said Fudens. “We have a special bin for gloves, we have a bin for foils, we have a bin for hair, and then we have a team leader who helps bag that up and send it out.”
The bags are then shipped to Canada where nothing is wasted. Even the hair that is swept up off the salon floor is part of a mission to help improve the environment.
“If there’s an oil spill, your hair is going to be put in this nylon mesh, that gets sent away to soak up the oil around the oil spill before it hits the animal,” said Fudens.
Leftover hair color isn’t wasted, either. Instead of rinsing the chemicals down the drain, where it has the potential to make it’s way back into the waterways, it’s bagged up and shipped out, just like the hair.
But going green isn’t free. Each client is charged an extra $1.50 to cover the salon’s recycling costs.
“This is a really important endeavor in the hair industry to properly dispose of all the waste, and I think it’s totally worth it,” said Angie Blankenship, a salon client.
It’s a fee they say is a small price to pay for a much cleaner tomorrow.
“If we can figure it out, then we can help other people figure it out,” said Fudens. “It’s not just the restaurant industry, it’s other industries that can become more ocean-friendly.”
In just the three months that the salon has been implementing the new program, they have already shipped over 350 pounds of waste to Canada to be repurposed. Fourteen of the 350 pounds was composed of hair color and dye.