In-Salon Plastic Audit

In-Salon Plastic Audit

Have you ever stopped and looked around your salon to see the amount of plastic you are using – and we mean really looked?

Our ‘Green Queen’, Karine Jackson is passionate on eliminating single-use plastic from her salon, and it all began with a ‘Plastic Audit’. Below, Karine talks us through the process and how you too can carry one out in your salon…

Every year I hold a Colour Festival in the salon with the purpose of promoting our colour services, but this year I decided to take a different focus for our event. Becoming single-use plastic free is now my immediate goal, and communicating this to clients is really important – partly to align our ethics with our brand from a marketing point of view, but partly to encourage them to also think about their own plastic consumption and purchase choices.

I was absolutely thrilled with the turnout – we were inundated with journalists from national titles like the Guardian and Good Housekeeping, as well as clients and brands who were all raving about the talk given by Lucy Siegle, renowned ethical journalist and author of Turning The Tide On Plastic. Lucy has been a client of mine for a long time and is a presenter on The One Show on ethical issues, so I asked her to come and work with me to create a blueprint that I hope you’ll be able to implement in your own salon. If you haven’t read Lucy’s book, download it now! It’s brilliant to get you thinking about what plastic you use and how it’s become so prevalent.

Plastic Audit

The first thing to do is a plastic audit. This basically means being vigilant about what plastic packaging comes into your salon, putting it all in one place and then assessing how much there is and where it’s coming from. I planned to do this for a week, but I was shocked that after three days it was taking over my office! I urge you to do this as a first step so that you and your team can really see the impact of how much builds up – I guarantee it will motivate you to cut it down.

My strategy now is:

  1. Ask if you actually need the product that is bringing in the excess plastic in the first place. If not, just don’t buy it! If I forget my reusable coffee cup, I won’t allow myself a coffee (and I pretty much NEVER forget it as a result!)
  2. If you need the item but could swap to the same thing without the plastic, do it! We’ve changed to Who Gives A Crap toilet roll for example – it comes wrapped in paper not plastic, and the cardboard tube is smaller than usual rolls, so you get more tissue to the roll.
  3. If you need the item and there isn’t an alternative, it’s time to start talking to the manufacturer. I was really cross when I ordered reusable bamboo coffee cups for all of my team and they came wrapped in plastic packaging AND had a stupid cleaning tool with a plastic handle with each one. When I contacted the company I brought them from, they were incredibly blasé, so I posted all the unnecessary plastic back to them with a letter about why they needed to change their ways! It may be easy to ignore a complaint but if they start to receive a lot of plastic back, they’ll be forced to take it seriously. During her talk, Lucy told us about a movement of people who remove excess plastic at the checkout at supermarkets and leave it at the store by way of protest. Plastic is basically a product of capitalism, and stores are motivated by profit, so if they won’t be guided by morals then we need to motivate them financially.
  4. So, let’s talk about industry manufacturers… I’ve been with Organic Colour Systems for 15 years and they’ve always been very progressive about their carbon footprint and not just their ingredients. For example, they would take the packaging that their ingredients arrived in and repurpose that to use to pack the finished products they sent back out. They are moving to 100% post-consumer recycled bottles for their colour and then shampoo and conditioners by 2020 – they are the first professional hair company in the world to do this. One of the services we’re now offering is product refills – clients can bring their empty product bottles back and refill them. Talk to your product company about how they’re tackling plastic - both the bottles themselves and the external packaging they transport them in.
Remember, plastic’s not fantastic!