"Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much."
– Helen Keller
As a nation, Americans generate more waste than any other nation in the world, officially with 4.4 pounds of trash per person per day! That makes 255 million tons of trash daily. On average we recycle only 1.51 pounds of our individual waste per day. Every year we fill enough garbage trucks to form a line that would stretch from the earth, halfway to the moon.
Inspired by Nikki, Nico and Carla’s personal stories, Harper Salon has been a platform to give back and impact the world in a meaningful way from the very beginning. To be environmentally conscious has always been a priority. We love creating beauty for our clients but we also love preserving the beauty that exists around us. As an industry with roughly 250,000 salons in the United States, we create 421,000 pounds of waste per day. Excess color going down the drains, foils, cotton, saran-wrap, hair and color- tubes are only a few examples on how our industry compromises our planet.
And where does it all end up?
55 percent gets buried in landfills, 12.5 percent goes to incinerators and roughly 33 percent gets recycled.
That’s why we partnered up with Green Circle Salons, a recycling program exclusively for salons. Now, we are able to recycle over 80% of our waste. If every salon in the United States would get behind it, together we would be able to recycle 336,800 pounds per day.
But how is this possible and what happens to all the trash?
Green Circle has partnered with an inmate reintegration program, paying the maximum wage available to them. All hair clippings are used to create hair booms. These booms are used in oil spills in the ocean and can soak up 5 times more oil than synthetic booms. Hair is also used to make temporary pillows in efforts to help with the refugee crisis and people in need.
Excess chemicals from color tubes and aluminum foils are being divided and recycled. The chemicals are then put into a centrifuge system that can separate the color and other chemicals from the water present. Up to 96% of water can be removed from this process and is cleaned and reintroduced back into the environment. The other 4% is used in clean energy and anything left over is added to asphalt.
With so much at stake we want to inspire others to get enrolled as well.
Here is how you can help to reduce carbon footprint.
Approximately two-thirds of our household waste can be composted. If compost is not an option, vermiposting (composting with worms) is popular in apartment settings.
When you go to the grocery store, try to remember to bring reusable bags. Many stores give you credits for bringing your own bags. While the amount seems small, over the course of a year it can add up.
Combine your trips in the car, so you don’t have to go out multiple times to the same location. When possible, use public transit, walk or bike to your destination.
Always try and recycle. Creating products from recycled materials uses up to 98 percent less energy than producing things from new materials.
Switching to energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs will save you $30 over the life of the bulb, because they use about 75 percent less electricity than traditional incandescent bulbs.
Buying local food makes a huge difference. Each ingredient in a U.S meal has traveled an average of 1,500 miles. If we all ate one meal per week of local, organic food, we’d save 1.1 million barrels of oil per week.
Beef takes a lot of energy and resources to produce. Replace red meat with fish, chicken and eggs and cut your food carbon footprint by 29 percent. Go vegetarian to cut it by 50 percent.
Lower your water heater temperature from 140 degrees F to 120 degrees F. Buy carbon offsets for the rest and make yourself “carbon neutral.”
What if we all just believe and act on the facts we know. If we’re honest about how our actions have consequences on people and the planet. Each one of us can make a difference. Together we make change.