When Mystique Hair Design signed up with Green Circle Salons, owner Stephanie Wright was expecting they'd reduce their ecofootprint by about 85 per cent.
They have, and not yet three weeks into the oceanfront salon's green initiatives, they had beat even that ambitious goal.
"We've noticed a dramatic impact in how much garbage we're taking out," said Wright.
Prior to June 1, staff took out three bags of garbage a day, and since partnering with Green Circle Salons, they now take out one bag a day, and sometimes it's not even that full.
Green Circle Salons specializes in recycling and safely disposing of salon waste - from colour tubes to leftover colour to cut hair down to the paper towels people use for drying their hands.
When Wright opened Mystique seven years ago, she had eco-friendly practices in mind from the start and she made it part of her company's brand. She said the two product lines the salon carries were chosen because both of them have strong environmental ethics.
Recently, Wright had the salon's lighting and HVAC system changed to reduce energy consumption.
When Green Circle approached her about its services, Wright asked how they could possibly help because they already recycled all they could.
"These guys pick up the stuff and do the work we didn't even know how to do," she said.
For example, staff at the eight-person salon now vacuum up the hair from the floor into a bag, which Green Circle collects to be used as chair stuffing or in making flooring. Green Circle also collects used colour tubes - generally thrown into the garbage by nearly all salons - and has a recycler who will accept them even though they still have a bit of colour still left in them.
Wright said they now collect leftover colour into a bucket that the service also collects and disposes of safely and responsibly, saving them from flushing it down the drain, as they once did.
"Being at the beach, it's nice knowing you're not putting anything down the sinks that could be harming anything," she said.
To give an idea of how much of an impact leftover colour alone makes, Wright said their partially full bucket might hold about two pounds of liquid partway through the week. But Suki's in Vancouver had about 44 pounds of colour in just its first week with the new program.
One of the features Wright most appreciates about Green Circle's approach is that everything is completely traceable.
"They can tell me how many pounds I've wasted this year," she said, and that means she can work to reduce the amount even further.
Mystique's next goal, said Wright, is reducing garbage output since it's now mostly lunch waste - and that is an area ripe for improvement.
Mystique Hair Design is at 15621 Marine Dr. in White Rock. Green Circle can be found online at www. greencirclesalons.ca.
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