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Salon Sorella in Lakefield goes green

by Rory Gilfillan

In the wake of the Deep Horizon oil spill in the spring of 2010 help arrived from an unlikely source. As engineers struggled to stem the flow of oil permeating from the ocean floor, hair stylists from across the United States pitched in by donating hair collected from the floors of their salons

One of the qualities of human hair is its natural ability to collect oil. Unlike synthetic products that absorb oil and expand, hair follicles efficiently collect pollutants because of their large surface area. Follicles are put into nylon bags, called booms, and placed on the effected shoreline. As water moves through the booms, oil is removed.

It’s an enterprise that Rhonda and Sheri Hockaday, part owners of Salon Sorella in partnership with Canadian company Green Circle Salons, has embraced. Beginning on July 7 hair collection has become an ambient part of a Salon Sorella’s broader environmental initiative.

Sorella is also now able to recycle foils used in colouring treatments. Prior to partnership with Green Circle, the County of Peterborough was unwilling to recycle hair foil, citing that they were toxic.

“We use a lot of colour tubes and foils. Yet no one would recycle them. Now Green Circle will. Our garbage will now be more than half with this program. Before it was all going into the landfills”, says Hockaday.

The recycling process is a lengthy one particularly as it pertains to used foils and tubes which along with hair must be couriered to Green Circle Salons in Toronto.

“The end result is that the aluminum can one day be used to create any number of items that are made from metal - car or bicycle parts, or maybe even a spaceship”, says Will Simpson, Communications Manager for Green Circle Salons.

While Green Circle Salon’s emphasis remains focused on recycling and reusing they also provide a conduit to collaborative business opportunities.

Green Circle has helped realize other efficiencies, by linking Sorella to other partnerships that have helped reduce their costs while diminishing their environmental impact.

“Their [Green Circle] connections have lead us to companies that have efficient lighting programs and water faucets handles that save overuse of water for shampoo basins. Ultimately we save on our hydro bill”, states Hockaday.

All of this comes at a cost but it is a nominal one that has been passed on to customers who have been by and large supportive of the initiative.

For Hockaday, however, while the ability to reuse hair and recycle items that previously would have been put in the garbage, is satisfying, it’s the larger impact of the initiative that drives her.

“There is no profit motive. This was driven by the lack of or limited availability of recycling in our area. This is about my kids and it’s about your kids”, says Hockaday.

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