Hair Creates a Lifeline…Hope for the Gulf Spill

Just over a year ago I did a bit of consulting for a start-up called and I’m inspired to write about this today because I know that its path was intended to make massive contributions to the clean up of the recent oil spill in the Gulf.

GoGreenSalon is a network of spas and salons across the globe committed to moving towards greener practices.

Some cool ways salons can and are changing include:

Making green energy choices like subscribing to Bull Frog – a company that injects renewable electricity onto a home or business’ local or regional grid to match the amount of power the home or business uses. Bullfrog’s electricity comes exclusively from wind and hydro facilities that have been certified as low impact by Environment Canada under its EcoLogoM program instead of from polluting sources like coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear.

Saving water – one salon in Madrid for example, jigged the plumbing so that all the sink water was re-directed to the toilet systems so that the water was used twice before flushing.  Hundreds of salons are implementing pressure gauges to reduce the flow of water and save this precious resource.

Efficient recycling – sounds simple but the reality is that salons generally, have no clue that colour tubes and aluminum foils (among other product containers) are recyclable.  There are cleaning procedures and a couple of extra steps but the results are worth literally tons of returns.

Responsible disposal of toxic waste is a huge issue in the salon business.  Imagine all the hazardous colouring and chemical materials that are being thrown into landfills.  There are hazardous waste depots that exist for this purpose yet the majority of businesses (not just salons) dump their toxic waste straight into the garbage.

Recycling hair clippings – I think this is one of my favourites – read on…

There’s a fabulous organization called Matter of Trust based out of California that figured out that oily hair means that hair collects oil and so they set up collections of hair from salons so that they can make mats and booms that can be used in case of oil spills.  The mats soak up the oil with incredible absorbency and in many cases the oil can be recovered.

Here’s a great video about the program:

I got a heart warming email today from Matter of Trust – I had to share the absolute glowing spirit of it here:

“400,000 pounds of hair are on the way to addresses along the Gulf Coast for boom making parties they’re calling “Boom B Qs!” We are calling this WAVE 1

We are asking all new sign ups (of which we are getting hundreds an hour now) to sign up and be patient for the next addresses for WAVE 2 as we watch the progress of the oil slick”…

The email goes on to talk about the media coverage the Boom B Q’s are going to be receiving nationally and reiterates the cause.  The ultimate goal is to get Matter of Trust the kind of funding required to make the actual mats here in North America.  Currently, because China is booming in the textile industry, we’ve shut down all of our textile machinery plants leaving us with no option but to send the hair out to China to get it back to North America.  Create jobs, save hundreds of thousands of animals, recuperate spilt oil and clean our waterways?  Sounds good to me…

It seems they finally got the attention they deserve as a result of the recent Louisiana oil spill.  Such a great cause!

I digress…again

The above are just a few ways in which salons and spas can make major changes in the way they do business and GoGreenSalon is the original network of salon owners that saw this opportunity and created a program to support it.  Unfortunately, Matter of Trust was not accepting hair donations when GoGreenSalon launched so the logistics of warehousing became unsustainable for the fees being charged to the membership – back to the drawing board we went.  Spills like the one in the Gulf might draw enough attention the revive the cause and help GoGreenSalon get the funding they need to collect and store the hair from their network so that it can either be shipped to Matter of Trust or to China (on Matter of Trust’s behalf) for the production of mats and booms.

I know the program is still being developed to provide salon and spa owners with true value.  With so much “green washing” going on these days, companies are cropping up every day claiming to “own” environmental causes.  There’s a bigger picture though and it’s important to create programs that help people make small changes towards a long-term movement.  It’s also important to help those businesses get recognized by consumers.

So, if you ever come across a salon or spa with the GoGreenSalon decal on the window – now you know what it’s all about.

If you have any ideas to share please do.  This is supposed to be a collaborative effort to improve the way we view the services we’ve come to know, love and fund.  Might as well pay for something that is investing in our collective future…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s