I support organizations like Green Circle Salons – so that my niece and nephews have a beautiful planet to grow up in.

Hair Donation Ottawa is an annual, non-profit, cancer research fundraiser where people raise pledges for cutting and donating their hair or shaving their heads.

All the hair from the event is put to use – every last strand.

Hair Donation has partnered with Green Circle Salons, so that all hair unsuitable for the wig-making process is repurposed.

Here is my interview with Shane Price, Founder/CEO of Green Circle Salons (GCS) on their recent partnership with Hair Donation Ottawa.

Help the Planet - BernardiBeautyBlog (1)How are hair clippings – unsuitable for the wig-making process – repurposed?

We have couple of different options.

We are working on a pilot project with the British Columbia government – a portion of the hair clippings collected at hair salons there, are shipped to the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women. GCS pays the women an hourly wage to take that hair with donated nylons from various manufactures and make oil adsorbent booms – to be made available for donation when oil spills happen.

This is how we started off at GCS.

Now, we are looking at a constellation of different opportunities, as it relates to hair clippings, including oil adsorbent mats.

We’re working with an engineer based out of Montreal developing a prototype hair fiber board. Our goal is to make the recyclable bins we pick up the salon waste in – typically made out of plastic – with hair.

So in essence – it is full circle – hair comes out of the salon and comes back in the form of a recycle bin. That is amazing.

Yes. This is a big goal we are working towards now. We have prototypes of the board itself – it’s pretty incredible – very strong. It has been demonstrated in compression and stress tests that hair – pound per pound – is stronger than fiber glass.

This is just another innovative way hair can be reused and repurposed.

Yes. Because when it goes into landfills, it doesn’t breakdown –it goes into a garbage bag and sits there. There is no oxygen getting to the hair to break it down. That’s why mummies – that are thousands of years old – have their hair is still intact. It is a very difficult fiber to breakdown in anaerobic conditions.

I feel it is important to support organization like GCS, because I have a niece and two nephews and I want them to have a green planet to grown up in.

We now have a network of about 1000 salons across Canada and the United States, after starting in Toronto five years ago with a focus group of about 20 salons – and we continue to grow. Consumers for the most part are prepared to support sustainability – but there is the question of – what is the impact on their wallet.

The way it works with GCS is that a small environmental fee is charged ($1.50 to $2.00 – less than a cup of coffee) in the final bill of each client – per visit. From that fee – a portion goes to GCS so that we can support this program and make it happen. The remainder stays at the salon to be what we call a “Green Change Purse” so that they can reinvest that money in ways to make their business even more sustainable. Our program empowers salons and consumers to be a part of that change.

We want to make it easy for customers to help and not hurt the planet.

Looking for a GCS? Check out the links below.

GCS Salon and Spa Directory: Your online tool to discover, locate and learn important details about the greenest salons and spas across North America.

There is the My Green Circle app and the server the app is hosted on is wind powered.

Can you tell us a little bit about the Green Ambassador program?

Sure. In my day to day – I always get people telling me that what GCS is doing such a great thing and they want to know how they can help to advance and support this green change. In the beginning they could find a GCS and use their services. About a year ago we cooked up a way to empower consumers to go into their salon and let them know there is a better way for them to do their business, keep our community healthier and more vibrant place to live. If the salon or spa gets on board – the ambassador will be rewarded for making the introduction.

Click here to find to get involved with the Green Ambassador program.

This is so great – you have people who believe in your mission – spreading the world. It’s far more compelling than a sales pitch.

There is nothing more powerful than a salon guest walking into their salon – I believe in sustainable change and you should too. When customers ask for change – business listen. It is a powerful on-boarding tool for GCS.