Salons are generally known for producing large amounts of waste due to the chemicals and products used during their services. Lotus Salon located at 409 2 Ave S Lethbridge, has been attempting to decrease their waste for almost three years. The store owner Cayley Moncrieff agreed to represent the salon and explain the steps the salon has been taking towards reducing their impact on the environment. The process of waste reduction started with simply sorting out garbage to exclude recyclable materials such as cardboards and plastics. However, there was still a large amount of other materials being thrown out each week.

The solution was a company called Greencircle Salons. This company has a Canadian head office with warehouses across Canada and the United States of America. The low fee charged by companies for this service is offset by the decreased environmental impact. They collect hair, used foils, chemicals, bottles, aerosols and other salon waste products and recycle the material. Where possible some of these materials are transformed into useful products. For example, the hair clippings as used to create hair booms to aid in the cleanup of oil spills. Lotus Salon sends off two large boxes per month containing these materials to a warehouse in Calgary where the materials are treated. Even the methods of shipment are achieved using carbon offset vehicles and couriers.

Lotus Salon was one of the first salons in Lethbridge to utilize a recycling program this intricate. There are several in town now which use the same or similar company. Patrons at salons are often unaware of the amount of waste produced. Programs such as Greencircle Salons highlight the number of materials used which cannot be recycled by an ordinary facility. Other companies could consider greener choices when buying their products and choosing which brands to use in the salon. One could start by simply recycling the basics into plastics, paper and cardboard. By having these sorting options available, individuals must make the choice to throw something into the trash. As more businesses adopt better recycling practices, employees are more likely to keep the routine at home. Though these acts seem small, they can result in big changes in lifestyle choices to decrease environmental impact.

Written and photographed by Kristen Hancsicak