Sustainable Salons | Community Beat | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Sustainable Salons 

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Looking for new ways to help the environment? The next time you need a haircut or color, check out Switch Salon, a business committed to making clients look gorgeous and reducing its carbon footprint one little step at a time.

Lindsey Halsam, salon manager, has been working at Switch for about a year and loves her job. Alberto Ruiz, the artistic director of Switch, "has such a connection with all of our clients and his energy and presence can be felt by all the moment he opens the doors," Halsam says. "Being able to watch him work is truly one of the most amazing things we do."

In addition to their wildly talented staff, Switch also boasts its reputation as a holistic salon. "We use the safest and least toxic products that are available," writes Halsam. Stylists also focus on the client—what is best for them, their hair, their lifestyle and their overall well being.

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But what makes Switch Salon truly special is its recently implemented green initiative to recycle the waste the salon produces. Switch has multiple recycling bins, one for hair, one for extra color, one for foils and more for all the other byproducts of a hair salon. Once each is full, the salon ships them out to Green Circles (Utah.GreenCircleSalons.com) for recycling.

"I had no idea hair could even be recycled," Halsam says. But Green Circles takes the hair clippings and turns them into brooms which are used to clean up oil spills and last almost 10 times longer than traditional brooms. Green Circles also disposes of the extra hair color mix properly and safely (so it doesn't enter the water system), cleans out and melts down color tubes and reuses all the metal byproducts it can (like the tin-foil pieces used to highlight hair). "Anything we can't recycle here locally, they will take for us," Halsam explains.

She learned about Green Circles at a business seminar. After some research, she became passionate about the program. Within a month of getting in contact with Green Circles, Switch had the program up and running in the salon.

The cost to customers is minimal—an extra $2 "eco-fee" on all services. And so far, all the customers have been quite pleased with the change. "All of our clients have been so excited about what we are doing; they are happy to help," Halsam says. "I have had some really positive feedback, which has made this a really easy transition."

Halsam hopes that other salons around town also join the program. "It really is such a simple and easy program that I hope we can get the word out and others will follow and join our movement," she says. Halsam is passionate about educating others in the beauty industry about the amount of waste that salons produce and encourages anyone who wants to know more about Green Circles to check it out online or contact her directly.

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