WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - An industry that’s supposed to make others beautiful creates a big mess.
The beauty industry tosses nearly 900 pounds of waste every minute, that’s about the weight of a polar bear every minute.
That’s why one salon owner is taking action to cut down on what she tosses in the trash and she hopes others will do the same.
“Pretty is as pretty does,” are words Elisha Smith lives by, which is why she is working to make her salon, Blush Haus of Beaute, more sustainable.
She said she was inspired by her children.
“Speaking to them, it is such a big deal to the next generation and I just started looking at ways that we could be more sustainable in the salon industry,” she said. “You wouldn’t even think about the little things you use like foils, color tubes, color boxes, gloves, wax sticks, all of these things, it’s just a ton of stuff every single day.”
The salon recently started recycling everything down to the hair.
“The hair is being used for things that you wouldn’t think of,” she said. “They make ‘hair booms’ that are used for oil spills.”
Smith teamed up with a program called Green Circle Salons, which collects all of the recyclables from salons across the US and Canada.
Green Circle handles the waste, recycling and repurposing it to keep it from ending up in landfills and waterways.
“Our average foil service uses 11 to 44 foils with about 1,000 clients a month,” she said. “That’s a lot. Before we couldn’t recycle them because they were mixed with chemicals. Now, they’re taking them and recycling them. It’s incredible what Green Circle Salons has done.”
In an industry that closely follows what’s in style, Smith wants to see this trend catch on.
“People have said before that I’m kind of a hype girl, so I get excited about something and I don’t just want to do it for us,” she said. “We are never selfish with the information. So, I really want other salons in our area to hopefully get involved and then we can make an even bigger impact on our world.”
But it does come at a cost, Smith added a “green fee” of $1.50 to her ticket prices to defer some of her cost to ship away the recycling containers.
Some might find that hair raising but Smith said her clients don’t mind paying a little more green to be green.
“I can educate clients and customers about it and let them know they are part of something really big,” she said. “We haven’t had any pushback yet with any clients. I don’t think we will because who doesn’t want to make a world a better place? I don’t know anybody that says, ‘I don’t want that.’ I do!”
Now, she’s recycling 90-percent of what she would normally toss in the trash.
“You’re not just making your clients pretty, you’re making the world pretty,” Smith said.
Blush is one of four Green Circle Salons in Wilmington.
The others are Casa PRANA, PURE by gloss and GLOSS Studio Style.
Find a Green Circle Salon near you by clicking here.