How to Become a Sustainable Salon: Talking Sustainability with Australia’s Best Eco Salon
Updated: Jun 20, 2022
From saving the sea turtles by opting for paper straws, to decreasing landfills by using reusable shopping bags, more and more Australians are choosing the greener option to reduce their impact on the planet (go us!). While most of us know of the everyday eco-friendly alternatives, like eliminating plastics and purchasing locally, how many of us think about how “green” our hair is?
Whist many of us are unlikely to think twice about the amount of water and electricity our salon visits consume, let alone the chemicals our colourist rinses from our hair, the reality is how a salon chooses to operate has a huge impact on the environment.
As the winner of Australia’s Best Eco Salon two years in a row, you’ll be pleased to know there are ways to reduce your eco-footprint! No matter if you’re a salon owner or client aspiring to go green, we’ll help you on your path to sustainability by exploring what sustainability means to us, as well as passing down the sustainable secrets that make us The Best Eco Salon.
How do Hair Salons Impact the Environment?
When you think about industries that are responsible for contributing and harming the planet, hairdressing isn’t likely at the forefront. After all, how did a blow-dry hurt anyone? When you dig a little deeper into how green the hair industry really is, you’ll come to realise that the pursuit of beauty can in fact harm our planet.
Besides releasing some harmful chemicals into our waterways that are found lurking inside certain shampoos, treatments and hair dyes, the industry also consumes mass amounts of water and electricity. Think of it this way, a barber is estimated to use around 200 litres of water each day, and beauty salons over 1000!
Whilst these facts are alarming, the continuous use of these resources is necessary. But the good news is that by committing to using eco-safe products and minimising waste, salons can tread more lightly on our planet.
How Little Birdie Became The Best Eco Salon
So how did we become the winner of Australia’s Best Eco Salon? Our story starts back when our founder Tenille Lawrence unfortunately experienced chemical poisoning during her pregnancies from years of hairdressing.
While practising as a global hair educator and colourist, she got to see how hair products were formulated first hand, Tenille found herself continuously covered in hives and plagued by migraines. The culprit? Being constantly exposed to high levels of chemicals each day.
Standing above hair dye for hours each day can take its toll on hairdressers, so much so that hairdressers have a higher risk of developing cancer, as well as developing skin conditions and experiencing miscarriages and neurological issues.
“The idea of creating a vegan, low-tox, reduced chemical salon came about a few years ago when I developed chemical poisoning during pregnancy. As hairdressers, we are more susceptible to developing cancer. As a woman and a business owner, I wanted that cycle to end here”. Tenille Lawrence on the founding of Little Birdie Hair Co.
Tenille's chemical poisoning affected her pregnancies, to the point where during the birth of her first daughter her placenta had turned black. Tenille knew experiencing this wasn’t right and saw that her friends and family felt the same way.
From there on Tenille chose to live as low-tox and sustainably as possible. Although this experience saw the end of her chapter as a colourist, another soon began with the launch of Little Birdie Hair Co in 2015.
Beautiful hair shouldn’t have to cost you your health, so taking the plunge and creating Little Birdie Hair Co made complete sense, and the public felt the same way! Now with three salons, and possibly some more in the pipeline, Little Birdie Hair Co is made up of a team who are passionate about playing their part in protecting the planet and the health and well-being of ourselves and our clients.
What does Sustainability look like at Little Birdie Hair Co?
Since feeling our best shouldn’t have to cost the planet or be detrimental to our health and well-being, choosing an eco-friendly hair salon is a great place to start.
As the winner of Best Eco Salon in 2020 and 2021 from the Australian Hair Industry Awards, no one knows this better than Little Birdie Hair Co. Here are just some of the ways Little Birdie Hair Co pledges itself to health and sustainability.
1. Use Low-Tox and Eco-Friendly Hair care Brands
Unfortunately, a lot of hair products on the market are brimming with toxic chemicals. They may give your hair instant gratification as they usually smell and feel great, which is even more misleading, but the truth is these ingredients can be harmful to your hair and your health.
The average woman uses 12 different beauty products each day, so as you can see, our contact with toxic chemicals can quickly add up.
At Little Birdie Hair Co, we want to simplify this by making the health of our guests and their hair a priority. This is why we are constantly on the lookout for the best low-tox, high performing products on the market. At our salons, we commit ourselves to being low-tox by:
Using paraben and sulphate free products
Reduced waste or recycled plastic bottles
Chemical bins instead of excess washed down sinks
Why we choose Evo
Since June 2021 all our salons have transferred entirely to Evo, the Australian born hair brand that is the cleanest colour brand in the game. Introducing Hueverse into our salons allows us to keep our client's hair healthy, without damaging our planet, our hair and health.
Think paraben-free, sulphate-free and ammonia-free permanent and demi-permanent colour, all made while still achieving incredible results. It’s also 100% recyclable, vegan and gluten-free!
As an eco-focused salon, it made complete sense for us to make the switch and we haven’t looked back since! When you visit a Little Birdie Hair Co salon, you don’t have to worry about the ingredients in our products harming you or the environment.
Also, did we mention our entire beverage list is organic, so please feel free to indulge in one of our organic teas or wines one during your next visit!
2. Recycle, Recycle, Recycle!
Although it’s the tip every eco-conscious salon should give, the statistics speak for themselves, not nearly enough of us are following through with recycling! So whilst you’ve likely heard it before, we think we should remind you of its importance.
Without it, all of that recycled plastic makes its way on our beloved beaches, parks and landfill, something we want to avoid to keep Australia beautiful. Luckily, recycling is one of the easiest and effective solutions for hair salons and families who want to help protect the planet.
At Little Birdie Hair Co, some of the recycling practices we’ve pledged ourselves include:
Use of sustainable and recycled hair care products
Using toilet paper and paper towels from recycled goods
Use recyclable hair foils
Donate hair cuttings to local community gardens
Recycle coffee grounds as compost and purchase biodegradable coffee pods
“We hope that this year’s award will continue to progress the conversation of sustainability and eco-friendly practices in an industry that has the potential to pave the way for more environmentally responsible choices worldwide.“- Tenille Lawrence founder of Little Birdie Hair Co on winning Best Eco Salon
3. Reduce that Wastage
While recycling often gets the spotlight of waste management solutions, learning how to reduce our waste is equally as important if we want to create a sustainable future. The reality is Australia is running out of landfill space, with 40% of our country's waste going into landfills each year.
One of the easiest ways to reduce this is simply reducing our waste! The fewer items that are put into landfills, the fewer emissions are generated. Reducing your waste can be as simple as using a reusable water bottle so you skip out on the plastic.
It may not seem like a big difference to the environment, but it’s estimated if one reusable bottle was used instead of four packaged water bottles each day, you could save 1,460 plastic bottles per year. Now that's a difference you would see if we collectively got on board in waste reduction.
The next time you want to throw something out, ask yourself whether it can be repurposed, recycled or donated. Our pledge to waste management sees us:
Using EcoHeads showerheads which reduce water and energy by 65%.
Reduced energy lighting
Request suppliers to deliver products with little to no packaging
Recyclable paper POS and digital receipts
4. Educate Others on Being Green
Luckily, as hairdressers, part of our job is meeting and talking to multiple customers each day, which provides us with the perfect opportunity to educate our clients in the benefits of choosing sustainable ‘locks’.
The Little Birdie Hair Co family are constantly bringing new ideas to the table, from environmentally responsible ideas to initiatives that allow us to give back to the community we feel so deeply connected to. Whether it's renewable, resourceful or responsible, the Little Birdie team is all over it!
Besides introducing our clients to our eco-friendly salon partners and products, we extend our environmental efforts into the community by:
Choosing three local eco-friendly charities a month to support through the help of client donations
Provide education on how to support sustainable salon practices.
5. Partnering with Greenfleet
At Little Birdie Hair Co, we deeply care for the environment. Our pledge to sustainability led us to partner with Greenfleet in 2022, a trusted and leading environmental non-profit organisation.
Greenfleet protects our climate by planting native biodiverse forests to capture carbon emissions. Since 1997, Greenfleet has planted over 9.6 million trees across over 500 forests in Australia and New Zealand.
“At Greenfleet, we are restoring native forests and growing climate hope thanks to the contributions of our amazing supporters, just like Little Birdie Hair Co” said Wayne Wescott, CEO of Greenfleet.
How Greenfleet Works
Every year, Little Birdie Hair Co offsets our carbon emissions by planting native forests around Australia with Greenfleet.
For every new customer, we plant 5 native trees with Greenfleet to help restore native forests around the country.
As these trees grow, Greenfleet forests help the environment by absorbing carbon emissions, improving soil and water quality, and restoring habitat for native wildlife and endangered species. The best part is Greenfleet Forrests are legally protected for up to 100 years, ensuring they can grow for future generations.
With our dreams to change the hairdressing industry to go-green, partnering with Greenfleet made complete sense! To learn more about how you can take action against climate change, visit www.greenfleet.org.au.
Book Your Next Appointment with Little Birdie Hair Co
So there you have it, recycle, reduce waste and educate oneself, this is our secret formula on how we became Australia’s Best Eco Salon. As proud pioneers of low-tox, sustainable hairdressing, we are elated to become carbon neutral and hope that we may be able to lead the way for other salons to also follow suit.
If you want to make the switch to an eco-conscious salon, you’ll feel comfortable joining the Little Birdie Hair Co family. Everything we put on your head is eco-friendly, animal friendly and follicle-friendly, so sit back and enjoy your appointment knowing your new look isn’t compromising your health or the environment. To book your appointment head to our booking system, or get in touch with our booking concierge on 0487 871 107. We can’t wait to hear from you!