How to Embrace Sustainability at Your Beauty Business

sustainability beauty business

Environmental sustainability is important for any business. Businesses in certain industries, such as independent salons, beauty parlours, and barbershops, are taking this responsibility especially seriously. When you choose the right strategy, you can make a difference at your beauty business, too — you can do your part to save the environment and save money at the same time.

Canada’s concerns about beauty industry waste continue growing. Some companies have begun creating sustainable products and packaging, like Jack59. This haircare company in Edmonton, headed by Vanessa Marshall, is determined to reduce plastic in the world’s oceans by eliminating shampoo and conditioner bottles entirely. For Vanessa, creating healthier, safer, and more sustainable products and packaging comes from the heart.

Other beauty companies taking waste responsibility more seriously could be doing so in response to extended producer responsibility (EPR) programs recently changing their stance. Canada’s EPR programs have always worked in conjunction with provincial and municipal governments, considering waste reduction and clean-up costs a shared financial responsibility. Recently, however, EPR programs have shifted the responsibility 100% to the beauty companies creating the products that are causing the issue.

The beauty industry is poised to be worth CAD 2.37 billion by 2026. The natural makeup segment of the industry is projected to be worth over CAD 234 million by 2027. Clean, sustainable, and natural makeup products especially appeal to younger generations who believe in supporting companies they feel are ethical and reliable.

Thinking of Embracing the Push Toward Sustainability?

Whether you have a small hair salon in Manitoba or a budding entrepreneurial skincare line based in Ontario, you might be thinking of making the move to cleaner, more sustainable eCommerce products and practices — but what’s involved? Will you have to entirely overhaul your whole business model or product line? Will it require a massive investment upfront? If you’ve asked yourself these questions, you’re probably concerned about the move’s feasibility.

The good news is you can embrace sustainability in your beauty business. You can help protect the environment while protecting your bottom line.

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Take Online Payments and Appointments

One of the easiest ways to make your beauty business more sustainable is to take online payments and appointments with a solution such as Square Appointments. You can save paper (and human resources efforts) by allowing anyone to book their own appointments online. That saves you a lot of phone calls and eliminates buying paper schedule books for every stylist.

Digital payments also help you save on printing receipts, as the stylist can easily send them by email or text message. With digital receipts, you don’t have to pay for paper receipts that most people throw away before they get home anyway.

Yes, You Can Recycle That

Hair clippings may not feel like a serious problem for the environment, but most of that waste is piled in a landfill. While you likely know that you can recycle paper and cardboard, plastics, and metals, just like at home, salons have a unique opportunity to send other waste for recycling and reuse.

A growing number of companies offer to recycle and repurpose beauty waste. For example, Green Circle Salons in Ontario can accept your hair clippings, used foils, colour tubes, excess hair colour, and other items in specifically designed containers that quickly ship off to a processing centre.

According to the company, up to 95% of beauty waste is recyclable. Hair clippings are composted, turned into plastics, or used in humanitarian efforts. Hair colour is separated and turned into fuel. Single-use items may be turned into renewable energy or asphalt road filler. The potential to reduce what goes to the landfill can’t be understated.

The work Green Circle Salons does a lot to show the power of giving back and working together. For instance, in 2016, Green Circle Salons donated hair clippings from partner salons that were then used to create pet beds for displaced families with animals. More recently, in 2020, the group donated over 5,000 pounds of recycled hair to Matter of Trust. Matter of Trust uses the hair to create special mats to clean up oil spills.

Choose Products (for Sale and In-Salon Use) That Are Eco-Friendly

While you can reduce consumption of some products, you’ll still need shampoos, conditioners, chemicals, and other products used in typical client visits. Some business owners may go a step further and search for products made from organic materials and not tested on animals. As a salon featuring eco-friendly products, you’re taking another significant step to make your business more sustainable.

The next time you restock, consider looking for environmentally friendly products made by sustainable manufacturers, like the Jack59 shampoo and conditioner bars. They even sell totally compostable containers to store the haircare bars. According to the company, each shampoo bar can save three plastic shampoo bottles and up to five plastic conditioner bottles from reaching a landfill or the ocean. Jack59 has saved the planet over 500,000 shampoo and conditioner bottles since the company began.

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Updates for Better Efficiency and Conservation

Eco-friendly products are a great way to start making your salon more sustainable, but you can kick it up a notch and change how you use electricity and water in your business.

Look at your lightbulbs and how much of the day you use lighting; your thermostat and how warm or cool you keep the salon; and your washer and dryer — how often do you wash towels? There are so many opportunities to save energy. For instance, having large windows can alleviate the need for lighting, and window tinting could help you save on heating for a relatively small, upfront investment. The next time you replace the refrigerator or dishwasher in your break room, look for ENERGY STAR® or other certifications.

Finally, your hair-washing sprayers and bathroom toilets could be upgraded to high-efficiency or low-flow versions, conserving another precious resource: water. When you do everything on this list, you should also see your utility bills drop as a financial reward.

Just a Little Change Can Make a Big Difference

The sustainability journey is different for every business, but some core practices can help any beauty business succeed. And as an added perk, these changes will also save you money in the long run.

So, what’s next? Start by looking at your business through a sustainable lens and see where you can make some minor changes with a big impact. Your clients, your community, and your bottom line will thank you.