World Environment Day is the perfect time to remind ourselves that “green” is everyone’s responsibility. Rising environmental challenges remind us that it’s important that we play a leadership role in preserving our planet.
Interestingly, when a salon business goes green, they do more than improve the environment. They tend to improve their bottom line too. At the same time, environmentally-friendly salons can make for healthier and more productive employees. There are many ways to make going green an asset to your salon.
According to a 2013 EPA survey, Americans generated more than 250 million tons of trash, about 87 million tons of which was recycled and composted.
Recycling is on the rise in recent decades, and environmental responsibility is fashionable in some quarters.
Businesses like salons play a unique role in advancing this trend. There are millions of organizations across the world involved in the creation and consumption of resources. So businesses play a big part in setting a standard that contributes to a safer, cleaner natural environment.
Below are a few steps that, however small, can make your salon a leader in the ongoing efforts to preserve the environment.
Go Green, Literally!
How do you, and your employees, actually get to the salon every morning? Many prefer the use of personal cars because modern life is defined by rushing around and getting somewhere fast has become the primary goal for some.
Even in cities with robust public transportation, some prefer the convenience and speed of personal automobile travel.
As a salon, you can work against that tendency by encouraging your staff to use public transport options. If public transit is not available, encourage employees to carpool by setting up a matching system or providing attractive incentives. Carpool initiatives are great for the environment and your salon.
After all, pooling helps you save on parking expenses and encourages deeper bonds and social connections between employees.
Technology plays a major role in many salon businesses, and can help to make certain salon processes more environmentally friendly while cutting resource costs.
But while digitizing records helps save paper and ink, our computing tools do create a waste of their own, sometimes known as e-waste.
As technology rapidly develops, older tools are discarded for new. It is important to responsibly deal with obsolete equipment, as it sometimes contains dangerous components or chemicals.
The good news is that many electronic parts are recyclable, but not every salon takes the time to ensure their e-waste is actually recycled. With millions of tons of e-waste created every year, this is a major opportunity for the salon community to go green.
Find green substitutes
Most salons have a fair amount of “single use” materials, from the morning coffee cup, the lunch time plastic fork and knife, even break room napkins… But many of these materials are terrible for the environment, as they cannot be recycled.
Being plastic doesn’t mean recyclable. It’s a good idea to replace these items with eco-friendly substitutes, which are easy to find and increasingly affordable.
Recyclable or reusable materials go a long way. Distributing free coffee mugs or maintaining actual silverware are some examples of saving money and promoting sustainability.
It’s not a bad idea to ally with some other salons to magnify your impact. Working hand in hand with other salons can make it easier for you to advertise and amplify your efforts.
Salon groups are great ways of achieving economies of scale for your bigger initiatives, such as buying more efficient capital goods, or sharing tips and ideas.
Just say no (to toxins)
A clean salon is key for a productive workforce, but bathroom and office cleaners often contain toxic ingredients, even while claiming to disinfect.
One way to go green is to utilize less toxic and environmentally corrosive cleaners and you could also consider using as many environmentally friendly products as possible. Your staff and clients will appreciate the change, boosting morale while reducing your eco-footprint.
Give it away, don’t throw it away
Salons need regular renovation and repair. Unfortunately, this process often leads to obsolete material and debris being unloaded into crowded landfills.
It doesn’t have to be this way, as other salons or salon schools may be eager to take in some of your unwanted salon furniture, equipment, or materials. Instead of being disposed of, these items can be reused.
This type of recycling can also serve wider social good, especially when you donate salon equipment or other goods to organizations or individuals in need.
Okay, this is some advice we can all use, at home and at work. Be mindful of your switches! Although salons need to be bright and cheerful, there’s no need to keep lights on when nobody is in the salon, or in rooms that are rarely in use.
Managing electricity use in a salon is a multifaceted process. Ensure that everyone understands best practices for preserving power while using salon computers and equipment, and that they turn off all devices at the end of each day.
Find renewable alternatives
Well-established salons don’t always have the option of starting from scratch in a sustainable way, like brand new salons can.
However, renovations and renewal can be done over time and continual improvement can result. This includes selecting efficient equipment that decreases your overall eco-footprint.
An easy way to start is by making small changes to the materials used on a daily basis. Using renewable alternatives for even a small part of your salon operations sets the right tone for a sustainable business culture.
This method is tried and true. Cut back on print-outs for everyday transaction items. With computer technology so ubiquitous today, it’s a no-brainer to leverage digital tools to replace cumbersome paperwork.
Email, info systems, and apps all help make this vision a reality. Of course some occasions do call for the good old printed letter. In this case, opt for recycled paper and recyclable envelopes.
To inculcate a paperless culture, add a “paperless” request to all email signatures kindly asking that recipients not print the thread. The paperless culture is good for both the environment and profitability.
Saving money on paper can truly help your salon stay lean and invest into more profitable digital technologies.
Scrutinize your supply chain
If you want to go green with your salon, be sure to assess your practices and pay attention to all aspects of your business and supply chain. Reach out to all layers of your salon to identify and rectify problems.
Encouraging sustainability should be an ongoing process, and it requires both big and small changes, but any salon can implement at least some of these recommendations.
These tips are meant to help both the environment and your bottom line. So, for World Environment Day, choose to take the first steps towards a greener, more sustainable future or use this as an opportunity to redouble your efforts!
You can start your new ‘eco-friendly’ ways by saying goodbye to pen and paper and downloading Daysmart Salon Software!