Sustainable Salons: How they’re making beauty better


Britomart hair salon Ryder and medical treatment spa The Face Place are early adopters of an international programme to minimise salon waste.

Greg Murrell, founder of Ryder
Dr Catherine Stone, founder of The Face Place

A trip to the salon or the spa can leave you feeling amazing, but there’s a dirty side to the beauty industry. Salon waste is a large and often unseen problem (have you ever wondered what happens to all those used foils from your highlights?), but a new programme that’s been signed up to by Ryder and The Face Place is helping clean up the industry.

The Sustainable Salons programme was founded in Australia in 2015 by Paul Frasca and Ewelina Soroko, and expanded to New Zealand in 2018. It aims to recycle, reuse and repurpose waste generated by hair and beauty treatment salons more effectively than standard council or privately-operated waste programmes are able to, while donating money to support social good initiatives.

At Britomart, the Sustainable Salons system operates alongside our general waste disposal system, which can already cater to regular plastic, glass, metal and soft plastics recycling, but isn’t set up to dispose of specialist waste like chemicals, treatment waste, hair clippings, and used salon equipment.

Through the Sustainable Salons programme, chemicals are pooled and neutralised, hair clippings are repurposed into ‘hair booms’ that are used to clean up oil spills at sea, ponytails over 20cm in length are made into wigs for cancer or alopecia sufferers, and recyclables are sold and the money generated donated to food provision services.

Dr Catherine Stone, founder of The Face Place, says that the system got a “Hell, yes! From her as soon as she heard of it. “I’ve always been a greenie, and had been looking for a way to take our recycling to the next level, and reduce the imprint we leave on the environment. I’m so excited that we are the first medical clinic to become a Sustainable Salon in New Zealand, and our clients love it too!”

For Greg Murrell, founder of Ryder, the programme fitted perfectly alongside his salon’s ongoing commitment to low-chemical, plant-based products (including using ammonia-free colour brand Original & Mineral). “For us, it wasn’t a difficult choice to sign up. Respecting the environment is one of our highest priorities.”

Both Greg and Catherine say that sustainability is as much of a part of their home lives as it is at work. “Outside of work I implement daily sustainable practices such as shopping fair trade, eco-friendly and organic, saying “No thanks!” to all plastic bags and using a good quality stainless steel drink bottle,” says Catherine.

Greg, on the other hand, has been getting his hands dirty. “We’ve set up a three-bin composting system at home and it’s been interesting to see the way different materials break down over time, and how much the resulting compost enriches the soil in our vegetable gardens.”