Green Circle Salon
Spa Bleü is celebrating being a five-year member of Green Circle Salons, which is a comprehensive recycling / reuse program that will help us to significantly reduce our environmental impact on the planet. The program helps us to redirect out of water streams and landfills everything once considered as garbage: hair (in 2010 Green Circle Salons sent more than 1,000 pounds of hair to the Gulf of Mexico to help clean the BP oil spill), foils, color tubes, paper, plastics, and liquid chemical waste (most salons today simply rinse all leftover liquid chemicals into the sink and down the drain).
Below you will find the results from our first year partnering with Green Circle Salons:
Spa Bleü South Barrington
Solid Waste: 1464.4 lbs
Excess Color By-Product: 140.3 lbs
Total: 1604.7 lbs
Spa Bleü West Dundee
Solid Waste: 1556.7 lbs
Excess Color By-Product: 181 lbs
Total: 1737.7 lbs
THE GCS Q&A
First, we thank you for your participation and assistance in the transformation of your salon/spa. We are excited to have you onboard.
We have put together a sample Q&A to assist you in answering some of the questions that may arise from both your customers, as well as your fellow employees. Our intention is to be as open and available as possible to ensure that everyone understands who we are, what we offer, and what type of impact and giving-back we envision. We hope to make a significant difference both in the industry and the community. If you have additional questions, feel free to send it along to us to the email address above. We wish you well on your journey together with Green Circle Salons.
Q1. What does Green Circle Salons do?
A1. GCS is a company with a mission to provide green solutions to the salon and spa industry. They do this in a way that is affordable, achievable and most importantly, with impact. They believe that small steps to transform each salon or spa, with the help of customers and employees, over time, will make that green conversion possible and sustainable. They offer an eco‐systems approach that looks at recycling, energy, lighting, water, cleaning products and the re‐purposing of hair‐ all parts of the salon or spa experience. To do this, they have their own branded services, but also work with best‐of‐class green product and service suppliers. They are also committed to giving back up to 5% of their pre‐tax profits to work with local and international organizations to develop and support programs that make creative environmental impact and lessons for positive change.
Q2. Why do I have to pay an eco fee on my final bill?
A2. GCS developed this as a tool to financially enable salons and spas to finance their pathway to becoming greener. Their services make it achievable, the Eco Stewardship Fee (ESF) will help make it affordable and possible. They, and we, feel that a small contribution from you, our customers, can help salons reduce our environmental impact, smoothly and affordably. The money goes to our salon/spa, in what we call the “Green Change Purse”. But, with your contribution, we expect you to play a role by asking what we are doing with these funds. Our vision is to ensure that everyone has a role in change. To us, that means asking for change and contributing towards it. This helps us complete the circle!
Q3. So, where does my small contribution go? What is it spent on?
A3. Let’s break it down. Here is how it works. A portion of the fee pays for the GCS recycling and collection program. Right now, hair, foils, and colour tubes get sent to landfill along with many other everyday materials. Excess chemical waste gets poured down the drain and pollutes our water bodies. GCS and our salon/spa community would like to prevent this from happening immediately. Also, many companies send plastics and paper to landfill. GCS with their collection trucks and working with a number of local recycling companies, will collect this waste, separated by the salon/spa, and ensure that it is bound for recycling, and ultimately, repurposing. GCS pays a carbon‐offset fee for the trucks to make sure that they are not producing additional carbon emissions in the process.
Now, what do we do with all of the hair? GCS is working with local non-profit groups, charities, businesses and governmental bodies to find solutions to re‐purpose hair. Those new purposes include hair and recycled nylons for the creation of oil booms, used in oil and chemical spills. Hair also has potential to be a good compost material so they are researching innovative, biologically friendly farming practices. This is exciting when you realize all the potential uses that can involve hair. Hair clearly has numerous cradle‐to‐cradle applications worth exploring. We will keep you posted!
Next, a portion will stay with our salon/spa to enable us to afford many other green changes. We call this the “Green Change Purse”. We hope that you, our customers will support this change, and also ask what changes are being done with that support. GCS offers us a menu of products and services that include carbon‐offsetting solutions, green electricity, energy efficient salon specific lighting, eco-friendly printing, and they are sourcing the right companies that will look at various other ways to reduce our salon’s environmental footprint.
Q4. Will all of this make a difference? Will it be meaningful?
A4. Yes it will. First, we feel that we are part of a multi‐win scenario. You, our customer, wins by contributing to, and experiencing a more positive green experience each time you come to visit this salon/spa. We win by becoming competitively greener, and offering a green workplace and experience for our clients. Our employees have a forward looking and proactive workplace they can be proud of every day. Society wins with the GCS commitment to give back and reinvest 5% of their pre‐tax profits to issues related to local habitat, women and children, environmental innovation, and the salon/spa industry. The planet wins when all of the contributors to this simple formula for change are helping to reduce each of their environmental footprints.
Importantly, it is the impact of every person, every time they participate in a salon, spa or health and wellbeing experience that gets added together. Just think‐when you have thousands of businesses, with hundreds of clients each month having cuts, colourings and other services performed‐think of what that adds up to! It’s big. It’s so big that GCS releases annual statements showing the incredible amount of waste being diverted – an achievement that we can all share in together.
Q5. So, that’s fine, but what if I still do not wish to pay anything more on my bill?
A5. If you genuinely feel that this green shift is something that you cannot support, then that’s fine with us. We do hope that you reconsider. As you see the changes that are being made, think about whether it would make an impact on your own well‐being or that of your children. Think about the difference a couple of years from now, if thousands of people across the United States participate in these changes. Again, together with GCS, we believe that everyone making a small step equals a giant leap for our planet. We are simply planting the seeds now; in that way, we can watch our communities grow to be healthier, more vibrant places to live in the future.
Q6. What more can you tell us about Green Circle Salons?
A6. GCS sets very clear standards and is a very open and relationship‐focused partner. They believe in clear expectations, ethical business dealings, transparency, accountability, inclusiveness and open communications. Fairness, honesty and integrity is their compass. GCS actually has an “Integrity Agreement” that our salon/spa has signed, rather than a standard detailed contract. They do this because they believe that they only win and succeed when everyone wins and succeeds. They are also planning some exciting public education and community give‐back programs that will be announced on their website. www.greencirclesalons.ca. GCS understands that building a movement for change needs to have substance but also style, learning, fun and creativity. Feel free to contact them at anytime, they welcome your thoughts.