Local salon owner goes green

  • Susan Carson of Carson's Bed and Breakfast and Salon is shown April 10, 2018 in the South Hadley salon space. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • The exterior of Carson’s Bed and Breakfast and Salon is shown Tuesday in South Hadley. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Susan Carson of Carson's Bed and Breakfast and Salon, which is certified sustainable by Green Circle Salons, looks through a Green Circle pamphlet April 10, 2018 in her South Hadley business. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • A bag from Green Circle Salons stores various pieces of hair to be recycled April 10, 2018 after haircuts at Carson's Bed and Breakfast in South Hadley, which is certified sustainable through Green Circle. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Susan Carson of Carson's Bed and Breakfast and Salon, which is certified sustainable by Green Circle Salons, shows a collection of hair to be recycled after haircuts at her South Hadley business. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Susan Carson of Carson's Bed and Breakfast and Salon, which is certified sustainable by Green Circle Salons, shows a collection of product bottles and other items to be recycled Tuesday at her South Hadley business. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Susan Carson of Carson's Bed and Breakfast and Salon is shown April 10, 2018 in the South Hadley business. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Susan Carson of Carson's Bed and Breakfast and Salon, which is certified sustainable by Green Circle Salons, shows a collection of hair to be recycled after haircuts April 10, 2018 at her South Hadley business. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Susan Carson of Carson's Bed and Breakfast and Salon in South Hadley shows a notice that her business is certified sustainable by Green Circle Salons April 10, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

Staff Writer
Published: 4/10/2018 5:16:30 PM

The owner of a small salon turned bed-and-breakfast is doing her part to cut down on waste in an industry historically harmful to the environment. In December, Susan Carson joined Green Circle Salons, a company that collects and repurposes salon waste into new or reusable products.

“My industry contributes a lot of waste to the environment,” Carson said. “I’m able to contribute to saving the environment, rather than take away from it. And my guests get to be a part of that, too.”

Hair and beauty salons are notorious producers of waste, using many small, plastic and single-use containers and toxic substances. Instead of sending it to a landfill, Carson collects the hair clippings, soiled color foils, aerosol containers, gloves, hair color, wax strips and nail polish bottles to be recycled.

From a 200-year-old colonial estate near the Mount Holyoke College campus, Carson serves a small client base with an emphasis on natural products, holistic healing and relaxation. Carson purchased her home at 96 College St. in South Hadley and formally opened her salon in 2015 under the name Ninety Six the Salon. For years prior, Carson worked as the personal stylist for the college’s former president Lynn Pasquerella.

“I also like it because it helps me form a connection with people interested in not harming the environment,” Carson said. “It brings people interested in helping make changes in whatever way they can.”

Last May she opened a bed-and-breakfast from the same location, serving locals and out-of-town visitors. She offers spa services, hair styling, facials, and reiki massages in addition to the bed-and-breakfast service.

Today, Carson’s business generates about five pounds of waste in one month, about 95 percent of which is sent to Green Circle to be recycled.

“I have very little that actually goes into my trash pickup in South Hadley,” she said.

Recycled materials find a wide variety of. Human hair stuffed into a long mesh tubes called a “booms” can be used to clean up oil spills in water and on land. The specific chemical properties of human hair, its ability to absorb oils and resistance to degradation, make it a substance well-suited for a variety of applications. Other items like plastic containers, foils and wax paper, are recycled into other products like plastic containers and tools.

Green Circle Salons

Founded in 2009 by Shane Price, Green Circle Salons aims to significantly cut down on waste generated by the beauty industry while helping to advertise the businesses participating in their program through their “green directory” of clients.

According to their website, Green Circle has recycled about 2.36 million pounds of waste to date. The company claims that hair salons in North America toss out a estimated 420,000 pounds of combined waste every day.

Based in Toronto, Green Circle Salons has over 1,500 members throughout North America. Other Green Circle salons in Massachusetts are located in Springfield, Westford, Andover, Braintree and Reading.

Carson first learned about green salon practices years ago while taking a course on the subject at the University of California, where she earned her certification in spa and hospitality management.

“I hope I inspire others to join to join Green Circle, or to even on their own start recycling more,” Carson said. “Because it’s habits that can be easily be adapted and can really do more, I think, than we imagine at this point.”

The company makes weekly rounds to collect hair, paper, plastic, metals, and chemicals from participating salons, or gets waste shipped to their warehouses as Carson does. Used beauty products are taken to one of Green Circle’s five warehouses in Canada or Chicago, where the products will be sorted, cleaned and sent out to the next phase of their recycled lives.

Carson also tries to encourage environmentally friendly habits in her customers by offering a 25 percent discount to any customers that walk to her salon or take public transportation.

“I want to reduce the carbon footprint as much as possible,” she said.

She tries to use all organic and eco-friendly products, or as green as hair color and aerosols can be. She uses the aloe-based hair color Eufora as a less harsh alternative to traditional dyes, and another aloe-based shampoo Loma in the salon.

“We want to have a planet 100 years from now that is not just filled with plastic bottles and waste,” Carson said.

Sarah Robertson can be reached at srobertson@gazettenet.com.


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