Gwen Fisher

A beauty salon with a conscience

Pure Elements is recycling hair to be used for oil booms

Rapunzel, Rapunzel let down your hair…

There’s something green happening at Pure Elements, and it’s getting stylists and clients excited. The salon will now be re-purposing its hair clippings for oil spill cleanup, while simultaneously diverting 95 per cent of its waste from landfill. The move means that the business is now a certified ‘Green Circle Salon’, and officially one of the greenest salons in the world.

“It used to be that we had no choice but to put our hair and foils and colour tubes and other salon specific waste into the landfill. Now, we’ve changed that and we’re a certified sustainable salon”, said salon owner Gwen Fisher.

Until now, there has been no recycling program in place that encompasses all of the specific salon chemicals and hair clippings that come off the cutting room floor. The new Green Circle program now in place at Pure Elements means the hair clippings will be going to aid in oil spill cleanup in the event of a West Coast spill. The clippings will be made into oil booms (nylon tubes filled with hair) known to be highly effective in oil spill clean up. Hair has the same properties as an animal’s fur or feathers, which makes it an ideal spill response material. Interestingly the oil booms are made at a women’s prison on the Lower Mainland. Fisher would like to see they made locally out of nylons (and hair) and have boat owners place them beside their boat engines in Sooke Harbour when they are moored.

The foils, color tubes, plastics, excess chemicals and paper will be separated in-salon and collected by Green Circle Salons’ Vancouver branch. Green Circle Salons is a Toronto-based company on a mission to make the Canadian salon industry sustainable by 2020.

“At our salon, we know our clients have a green mindset. It’s prevalent on our island. We pride ourselves on the beauty we create every day in our salon and we want to protect the beauty of the place we live and work in. Now, our clients can look good and feel good too. They can leave knowing they’ve contributed to a positive environmental initiative with their hair and that we are taking care of all of the waste from their visit. It’s a look good, feel good experience.” says Gwen. “Green Circle is also helping us to take a look at our next steps for making the salon more efficient… there are always more and better ways to become even more sustainable even beyond recycling.”

“We’re proud to be a salon that our clients love to support and our stylists love to work in. In today’s ecologically sensitive world, that means taking care of the carbon footprint of each client who comes through our doors.”