Getting your hair cut at certain city salons is helping to save the environment.

That’s because several Winnipeg salons are in the process of becoming carbon neutral certified.

Verde Salon, which has a location in Bridgwater and another on Sterling Lyon Parkway, announced its carbon-neutral status in January.

“We knew without a doubt that we were going to do everything we could to leave as small of a carbon footprint as possible,” said Colleen Lamirande, Verde Salon’s director of education and business development. “This opportunity to be completely carbon neutral is icing on the cake for us.”

Beauty salons are notorious for waste and energy usage. There are hair clippings, plastics and single-use products like nail files and foil.

Salons, including Verde, have partnered with Toronto-based Green Circle Salons to combat their negative impact on the planet.

Member salons collect most of their waste, separate it by type into bags, box it up and ship it to a Green Circle Salons facility for recycling or reclamation.

Verde Salon also uses eco-friendly fixtures to cut down on water usage.

“It’s not just hair clippings,” Lamirande said. “It’s also all of the foil that we use in hair, it’s all of the empty tubes of colour, it’s all of the excess colour wastage.”

Hair clippings might be mixed with post-industrial plastic and turned into bins. It may be composted or used for products in humanitarian efforts, like sopping up oil from ocean spills via booms.

Excess hair colour might be separated into water and oil, with the oil being blended into fuel. Plastics, metals, personal protective equipment and single-use products are sent to various plants for breakdown or reuse.

Verde packs one or two roughly 3 by 1.5-foot boxes full of these materials monthly.

“We try to fit as much as we can in the box,” Lamirande said. “Then (a courier) just comes and picks it up, like magic.”

The business has been doing this for over four years, since it opened its first location. Now, however, it’s getting recognized — Green Circle Salons is working its way through its 4,104 members, certifying them for carbon neutrality.

ClimatePartner, an international organization promoting corporate environmental responsibility, is providing the certificates. It and Green Circle Salons created a calculator which salons can use to quantify their carbon emission production.

Information including shops’ square footage, number of full-time employees and green energy usage is factored into the calculations.

Green Circle Salons also gives money to ClimatePartner for carbon offsetting projects, like planting bamboo trees in Nicaragua. Salons pay for each box of waste they ship to Green Circle Salons.

“The cost varies because each program is specific to the salon and their needs and what’s being recovered,” said Amy Goei, Green Circle’s director of education, sales and customer care.

The result might be an additional fee for customers. Verde Salon charges a $2.50 eco fee per visit.

Green Circle Salons claims its members prevented 51 metric tons of carbon dioxide from being emitted last year by keeping 143 tonnes of single-use items out of the landfill.

It touts 8.3 million pounds of beauty waste kept out of landfills and waterways since its 2009 inception.

“We are constantly looking at our business, how we can continue to contribute to reducing that carbon footprint ourselves, and how we can support our salons (in) reducing that footprint,” Goei said.

FIFTH Hair Lounge and Beauty Bar’s over 30 employees fill roughly one small garbage bag a day since joining Green Circle Salons, according to Lizette Barbour, one of the Corydon Avenue shop’s managers.

‘There’s really not a lot that we can’t recycle,” she said. “Even things like cotton pads and Q-Tips and Spoolies, all of that is recycled.”

The practice has changed her home life, as well, she said.

“It’s funny when I’m at home how much I’m really trying to make sure we are recycling,” she said. “It’s one of those things where it just makes you a lot more aware of the waste you’re producing.”

Colleen Ans, the Green Action Centre’s Living Green, Living Well co-ordinator, noted the company is certified by B Corp, which shows it has a “high standard to adhere to social and environmental causes.”

“I think that what Green Circle Salons has laid out is a really good format of where to reduce your waste in pretty much every aspect of a salon,” Ans said. “It’s nice to be able to treat yourself the way you want to and not have that guilt of wasting things.”

Composting hair is a good idea, she said.

“Organics that break down in the landfill actually produce methane, which is 10 times… stronger than carbon dioxide,” she said.

People can reduce their carbon footprints by buying bulk products and recycling or returning empty beauty bottles, she said.

Fifty-five Manitoba salons have partnered with Green Circle Salons. A map of partners is on


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