Around the world many hair salons are undergoing an ecological transformation. It is no longer rare to see hairdressers getting involved in the collection of used hair. In France, England and Ireland,various programs work with salons to collect hair to limit the spread of oil spills, provide natural fertilizer for plants or even power electrical circuits.
If you've ever wondered what happens to the hair that piles up on the floor of the salon and gets swept away by your hairdresser, you should know that their fate is not necessarily to be dumped in the trash. For the last few years, hair collection operations in hairdressing salons have been growing in number and visibility.
Just last week, the Dessange International group announced the launch of a new hair collection and recycling offer for their French salons, in partnership with Capillum, a French company specialized in hair recycling. Customers who go to a Jacques Dessange or Camille Albane salon to have their hair done will now have the possibility to have their hair saved for recycling. Capillum channels the hair to be used in agriculture and gardening, cleanup of water and land sites and medical research.
Hair is an invaluable treasure for the environment: effective in absorbing hydrocarbons, it can be valuable in creating natural dams in the seas and protecting them from the introduction of harmful products, such as oil. This is precisely the objective of the Green Salon Collective, launched in 2020 and to which 550 hair salons in England and Ireland have signed up.
Thanks to this operation, 500 kg of hair has already been collected, 50 kg of which were used to make hair dams on the shores of the beaches and stop oil spills, according to The Guardian . The remaining hair is reserved for agriculture: its rich protein and nitrogen content makes it particularly effective for composting.
Hair that's been on the chopping block is not the only waste collected by salons partnering with Green Salon Collective; they also save used aluminum foil to be sent for recycling (2.2 tons of aluminum foil have been collected since the program was launched).
Even the liquid substances used for hair coloring are conserved: this liquid waste is incinerated and then transformed into energy, which is used to feed the national electricity networks in Ireland and England.