Darlin', give me a head with hair, long beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming, steaming, flaxen, waxen
Give me down to there hair, shoulder length or longer
Here, baby, there, momma, everywhere, daddy, daddy
Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair
Flow it, show it, long as God can grow it, my hair
– From the Broadway play “Hair”
The next time you go to your favorite hair salon, take a look around at all the color tubes, aerosol cans, used aluminum foil and spa waste going into trash bags.
And don’t forget all the hair that is on the floor.
That hair — on average about two pounds per salon per day according to industry estimates — ends up sitting in landfills, filling the air with methane gas.
According to Green Circle Salons, an organization that offers sustainable salon solutions to recover and repurpose beauty waste, the industry creates 877 pounds of trash every minute. Since 2009, when the group was founded, member salons have diverted more than 175 tons of hair from landfills and waterways.
Long Beach’s Molly Moon was so moved by the statistics that she decided to host an event and invite other salons in the area to a presentation by Green Circle last week.
“I had no idea how much trash salons were producing,” said Moon, who owns a salon — the Molly Moon Salon — at 5039 E. Ocean Blvd. “It was a shock.”
Moon, who has owned her salon for 12 years, said she wanted to bring awareness to the waste created in her industry and to start a conversation on how programs like Green Circle can make a much-needed change.
“Hairdressers need to start caring more,” she said. “It is our duty to not only take care of our clients, but to take care of our mess, too.”
Moon’s salon is one of two in Long Beach that are affiliated with Green Circle Salons — the other is London Lights Studio on Fourth Street. She emphasized that after joining the organization, the biggest thing her salon has had to do is really a no-brainer – just separating the used materials into different boxes supplied by Green Circle.
Sadly, oil spills have become a too-common occurrence. But the hair that used to be swept off salon floors and put into trash bags now has a second act dealing with those environmental disasters.
Hair booms are sock-like tubes stuffed with recycled hair, fur, and wool clippings. Hair naturally soaks up oil; most of the time it's an oil secreted from our sebaceous glands, but it will attract crude oil as well. When hair booms are dragged through waters slicked with oil, they soak up all of that pollution in a way that's gentle on the environment.
“I just want to do whatever I can do,” Moon said. “I want to spread the word to the community about what hair salons can do to help clean up the environment.”