Discarded hair from Copper Lane Hair Studios in Red Deer and Lacombe is being used in oil spill cleanups.
Lane Tomalty, owner of both locations, said the hair is collected and sent to a women’s prison in B.C., where it is put into booms used to help clean up oil spills in the water.
“We recycle everything from the hair that’s cut to product wastage, foils, tea bags and ground coffee,” said Tomalty.
“They stuff nylons with the hair and because hair is extremely absorbent and oil sits on the surface … these hair booms are used to mop up oil.”
It is just one of the many ways the business tries to be environmentally friendly. Tomalty said they are 95 per cent waste free and as a result are a Green Circle Salon.
There are four Green Circle Salons in Central Alberta, Tomalty’s two locations at 3301 Gaetz Ave. in Red Deer and at 4908 50th Ave. in Lacombe, as well as Fifth Element Salon and Spa in Blackfalds, at 5013 Parkwood Rd., and Rainy Daze Medi Spa in Sylvan Lake, at 5220 Lakeshore Dr.
Green Circle Salons helps salons in Canada and the U.S. move towards becoming fully sustainable.
Tomalty said she is motivated by personal beliefs of leaving the planet a better place than it was before.
“We’re definitely a social conscious salon,” said Tomalty.
“Our industry is definitely frowned upon because we can be very wasteful — traditionally. So we do what we can to minimize our own waste.”
But she admits the added environmental measures come at a cost.
“We do pay for the removal of all our recyclables,” said Tomalty.
Grey water is collected and sent for storage, keeping it out of the water system; recyclables end up all over the world, but put to re-use.
“It is a little more expensive for the owner to run it this way,” said Tomalty. “But I see the value.”