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Cutting waste while cutting hair

Felicity Dear
Sustainable Salons Bins
Sustainable Salons Bins   Supplied by Carla Thompson

Christchurch salon Hair Art and Beauty has won the 2022 sustainable salon of the year award - here’s how.


Owner and director of the salon Carla Thompson said sustainability and ecological initiatives are of high importance in her personal life as well as within her business.

The salon uses products that are cruelty-free, holistic and focussed on ecological practices. All magazines and books have been replaced with tablets so clients can read online and all food waste from the salon is fed to one of the staff members’ pigs. 

One of the most distinctive differences to the salon is single use biodegradable towels and capes. They were the first salon in New Zealand to have these instead of reusable towels and capes which may seem counter-intuitive, but it’s actually better for the environment. This way no water or power is used on washing the towels and capes. 

Once used, the towels are offered to clients to reuse as rags or weed mats in their garden. They also donate the gowns that clients don’t take to local parks to use in their gardens. If there are any capes or towels that don’t get used, it’s no worries because they naturally biodegrade into Carbon dioxide and water. 

"We are focused on both the future of the hairdressing industry, and the future of the families and other businesses in our community."

This is a big step in the right direction for the hair and beauty industry which isn’t known for being the most sustainable industry. Thompson said the salon are aware they are working in an industry that can create a lot of waste, especially waste that cannot be disposed of in ‘normal’ refuse programmes. They strive to ensure all waste is categorised and sent to the most efficient recycling/disposal services locally.

While the salon has won the award, there is still further for them and the industry to go. 

Thompson believes more salons should join the sustainable salon initiative. She said it’s a great investment into knowing the breakdown of your waste, where exactly it’s going, and what can be reused. 

H&B team with award
H&B team with award Supplied by Carla Thompson
"We did not work to achieve the status of climate-positive just for the certificate, but as another step in our journey of sustainability."

She would also love to see some breakthroughs in the disposable beauty area, like more intensive recycling for cotton buds that have tint or wax on them - at the moment, this is one of the missing links for waste disposal.

H&B has made plans to become even more eco-friendly. They intend to install beehives in their garden, change to a more eco-positive electricity provider and change shifts for team members who live far away from the salon to reduce emissions from petrol.