Looking back, hairstyling program coordinator Deanna Douglas, cannot believe how much of a difference recycling can make.
“It’s incredible to me that we used to waste so much,” she said.
Nearly three years ago, Algonquin’s salons joined the Green Circle salons organization. This means anything that can be used again, even for another purpose, will be recycled.
Green Circle supplies the school with boxes labelled individually for things like foils, hairspray cans and colour tubes. They also supply containers needed for extra, unused hair colouring and leakproof bags for transporting.
Leftover hair goes in a recycling bin and is shipped to women’s prisons in B.C. It can be sold to oil companies to clean up oil. Metals are taken and turned into other metals and manikin heads are saved for OPP target practice.
Before becoming a Green Circle salon, Douglas says garbage cans were constantly being filled and janitors were called regularly. Now, she notices it is rare for any of the salons to fill even one small garbage bin, and she usually finds just a couple of pieces of paper towel from people washing their hands.
“We only do what we can,” she said. “But I feel like we’ve really made an impact.”
Students are taught from the beginning to make sure they’re recycling what they’re using. As soon as they are done using something, it goes in its proper bin.
“We originally had a hard time realizing how much was wasted,” said first-year hair styling student Shaylyn Seguin, after being introduced to this type of salon. “But now we really think about how we could be helping, and how we are helping.”
Green Circle picks up roughly two boxes at a time, at least once a month. To help pay for the cost of this partnership, all clients pay $1 extra no matter what they’re getting done, as an environmental fee.
“People don’t pay attention to how much salons actually waste and it obviously doesn’t hurt to help out.” said Charli Sloan, a second-year in the program.