designHouse Salon, the greenest salon in Victoria, was the first “sustainably different hair salon” project in Victoria.
Not to take away from some of the eco friendly efforts of other salons but we were the first to initiate a fully sustainable approach. This started with choosing a product line that would support these efforts and be inline with local sustainability. Once we approached Davines, who’s motto is “Sustainable Beauty”, through the distributor West Coast Beauty they provided us a pledge to support our local efforts and soon after set up a local distribution retail location. Davines’ mission is to be the most sustainable eco friendly product on the planet which even makes its packaging reusable and food grade safe. We then sought a reclaimed historical building with sustainable approaches and found The Hudson who uses geo-thermal heating and supports a full recycling program. We then located the building supplies and contracted Cleanline Construction to locate as many up-cycled building materials as possible. We also invested in LED lighting and tv’s, light sensors, non-detergent laundry ball that has no negative environmental impact, sensor high efficiency washer and dryer, and wash with only cold water. Once the construction started we contacted a recycling program that started in Ontario called Green Circle Salons which deals specifically with the proper recycling of salon related waste. Although they had plans to come to Victoria someday they were just getting started in Vancouver. So once we opened we had the property management set up a standard recycling program for the business tenants. We then continue to work at getting Green Circle Salons to the island. They finally agreed and we were the first salon on Vancouver Island to initiate the program. We are now able, through the help of Green Circle Salons, to properly recycle all of our salon related waste. We recycle the hair to turn it into oil booms that would be used to clean up a BC oil spills, properly separate the plastic from the chemical residues, collect excess colour and chemical waste, and of course all paper, cardboard, and metals. The important aspect of this is that in the past the chemical residues in all the bottles and the excess colour would be rinsed down the sink. But now it is recycled in a fully sustainable machine that use the sludge it creates to fuel the continued recycling process for other chemical waste. We also do not use foils but rather a re-useable and biodegradable version. Once we opened we branded a salon pedal bike to influence others to drive less and asked the city to instal bike rakes on Fisgard St in front of designHouse. We had asked for 2 designated stalls for hybrids or smart cars but unfortunately it was denied by the city. We then signed up for Bullfrog Power, a CO2 compensation program, which we pay a premium to ensure that our energy consumption is offset by sustainable sources such as wind and hydro.
designHouse Salon’s “sustainably different hair salon” project was unique and innovative for Victoria. We compiled and put into practice some other businesses ideas from outside of Victoria and also some of our own. The innovation of our project was that we were trying to do the right thing for the right reason and influence a shift of mentality towards waste reduction in the salon industry. We view waste reduction as a responsibility not a luxury and we believe it is our duty to transform the local cosmetology industry. Typically in Victoria thousands of pounds of chemical residues in plastic salon product bottles and excess colour are washed down the drain every month. The same amount of foils and metal colour tubes are thrown into the trash which, in most cases, take thousands of years to breakdown in a landfill and the chemical residues leach into the soil. Thousands of hair salon product containers sold are disposed of in the same manner. We eliminate all of that, refuse to buy non-recyclable products, and developed programs to get our clients engaged in the sustainable movement. We encourage the reuse of the product containers and provide a discount for those clients that return them. We even developed a contest that our clients can participate in for the creative up-cycling of the product containers. We also decided to construct a 8 foot by 6 foot living wall that not only feeds off our CO2 emissions and provides fresh oxygen but also is a dynamic re-enforcement of our projects mission to positively contribute to the stewardship of the sustainable symbiotic relationship of plants and humans.
We are currently engaging with local environmental engineers to develop a system that separates chemicals from the water that goes down the sink in order to recollect and safely dispose of the chemicals rather then being introduced into the cities drainage system.
In October 2012 we participated in Davines Sustainability Day which requested over 80 salons in North America to make a pledge to raise money to plant fruit trees in impoverished villages in Brazil to offset our carbon footprint and engage the local community in a movement of sustainable participation. We did hair cuts, hand massages, acupuncture, mini manicures, chair massage, makeup touchups all by donation as well as gathering a dozen different silent auction items in hopes to engage the local sustainably minded businesses in the cause. We raised just over $2000 which was 8th highest in all of North America.
So far since initiating the recycling program with Green Circle Salons in November of 2012 we have diverted 70.53 lbs of hair, 43.75 lbs of metal, 77.78 lbs of paper, 57.83 lbs of plastic, and 19.23 lbs of chemicals from landfills and water streams. Since we initiated the Green Circle Recycling program more then a dozen of other salons have signed up on the island. The “sustainably different hair salon” project is transferable to any hair salon and most industries that have an industry related recycling program and a passion to make a sustainable waste reduction difference.
Green Circle Salons is our industry specific recycling company and very close friends and partners co-invested in each others success. They recycle & repurpose our hair, foils, colour-tubes, papers and plastics AND divert excess hair chemicals that would have otherwise been rinsed down the drain.
Synergy turns great companies into green companies. They help businesses who want to be leaders in sustainability measure environmental performance, reduce impact, and communicate their results.
FED’s vision is to create a district in downtown Victoria that celebrates food and sustainability. By fostering community green spaces and showcasing restaurants committed to reducing their ecological footprint, we hope to increase food awareness and community engagement.