Reducing waste and water costs in the hair industry

Industry recycling program brings this salon real savings.


Reducing waste and water costs in the hair industry


Hair salons aren’t known for being eco-friendly. Think single-use plastic bottles, chemicals, high water consumption and power-sucking devices like hairdryers.

Determined to provide a quality service without the environmental footprint, Kate and Oscar Henderson, owners of Brisbane’s Elysium Hair, have transformed their salon into an award-winning eco-haven.

Kate, Oscar and the team love to celebrate their sustainable practices.


Brisbane salon Elysium Hair participates in the Sustainable Salons Australia salon recycling service, which allows them to save on their waste bills by recycling various products in the bins provided by the program.

The program assists salons to recycle a range of materials including hair, metals, paper, plastics, chemicals, glass, cardboard and razors. These materials are collected weekly by the Endeavour Foundation, who recycle them.

Sustainable Salons Australia report that participating salons can save up to $3000 a year on waste (BinTrim, 2019).

How is the waste used?

As part of this Sustainable Salons Australia program approximately 98% of all waste is recycled, and turned into a range of products such as Hair Booms and outdoor benches.

“Our waste is collected weekly by the Endeavour Foundation who sort it and sell it to recyclers. The proceeds are then donated to OzHarvest. So far, Elysium Hair has provided more than 95,200 meals through OzHarvest from the money our waste has generated.

Hair is one of the most absorbent materials on the planet, and the cuttings from our salon are used in Hair Booms. They’re similar to giant stockings stuffed with hair and are used to soak up oil spills in waterways. So far, the waste hair from our salon has created more than 106 Hair Booms, which can soak up more than 26L of oil. Hair longer than 20cm is donated to Variety Club and used to make wigs.

A hair vacuum collects hair before it is given a new life.

Our old plastic bottles are turned into things like outdoor benches, and even the leftover chemicals from mixing up hair colours is scraped into a chemical bucket for safe treatment to avoid contaminating groundwater,” explains Kate, salon owner.

Plastic bottles from products are returned to the suppliers for recycling.

How else do you reduce your salon’s use of resources?

We use unique shower heads called “eco heads” which reduce water usage by up to 50% and don’t heat as much, because heating the water is also a significant drain of energy. Our lighting is energy-efficient, and we encourage our staff and customers to use public transport.

Water-saving taps make it easy for the team to use less water.

Top tips

  • Get in touch with a resource recovery program to see if they will collect your waste for free.
  • Sustainable Salons Australia report savings of up to $3000 per year for participating salons.

Share your wins

Has your business also saved money through sustainable practices? We are always looking for new success stories, tips and tricks to share. All you have to do is get in touch and have a chat, we will do the rest.

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