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SD’s First Zero Waste Salon Celebrates Success

ESG: Sustainability-Focused Firm Recycles Hair Color, Clippings, Metal

San Diego’s  Scisters Salon is leading the charge towards a more sustainable future as the city’s first so-called zero waste salon for its efforts toward lowering the amount of trash that winds up in landfills.

Alexandra Bertch 
Brand Ambassador 
Scisters Salon

“We’re proud to be the first, but certainly hope we are not the last!” Scisters Salon Brand Ambassador Alexandra Bertch told the  Business Journal.

Typical daily salon waste includes more than 42,000 pounds of excess hair color, a staggering 63,000 pounds of hair clippings and 110,000 pounds of metal.

“San Diego residents are known for being environmentally conscious and actively working towards reducing their carbon footprint. Many people in San Diego are already familiar with the concept of zero waste and are actively seeking out businesses that align with their values,” added Bertch.

The salon was founded in 2010 by best friends Melissa Parker and Easton Bajsec. After working at a different salon, they decided to launch their own salon with a vision of focusing on sustainable practices.

“Over time I felt like a hypocrite by pushing plastic bottles of shampoo onto our guests. I knew there were some zero waste refill stores around the world, but I wondered if there was another salon that I could use as a model,” said Bajsec. “I couldn’t find one. In business school, we learned a lot about differentiation. This was our moment. We had the opportunity to do something that nobody before us had done and hopefully pave the way for other beauty professionals.”

Every inch of Parker and Bajsec’s salon keeps sustainability in mind. They say recycled hair clippings can help clean oil spills. Foil and color tubes can be melted down and repurposed. Leftover color can be turned into clean energy.

Parker and Bajsec buy products in bulk to avoid wasting smaller containers and they let guests bring in their own bottles to be filled. They choose glass and aluminum over plastic and even have a “jar library” where guests can use a recycled salsa jar or sauce jar to fill. They choose sugaring over waxing, because it uses fewer disposables and they purchase laundry soap from a local refill store. Even their décor is previously owned or antique.

Scisters Salon partnered up with Green Circle Salons, a Canadian organization supplying more than 16,000 beauty industry businesses with the support and tools needed to adopt better practices.

Shane Price 
CEO 
Green Circle Salons

“To start being more sustainable today, these businesses can take simple steps such as recycling and reducing energy and water consumption by using LEDs and low-flow faucets. These changes can lead to higher profitability while making a significant difference to the planet,”  Green Circle Salons’ CEO Shane Price said. “We have 36 certified sustainable salons in the San Diego area.”

While Southern California’s local governments generally promote commercial recycling programs, sometimes it’s not enough. “These programs typically do not accept beauty-specific wastes such as hair clippings, hair foils, color tubes and excess hair color. Green Circle Salons provides salons in this region an opportunity to divert these hard-to-recycle materials from the landfill,” added Price.

Scisters Salon

FOUNDED: 2010
COFOUNDERS:  Melissa Parker and Easton Bajsec
LOCATION: La Mesa
EMPLOYEES: 8
BUSINESS: Beauty salon
WEBSITE:  scisters.com
CONTACT:  scisters@gmail.com
NOTABLE: The salon is  currently in the process of getting its new toxin free and refillable hair care line Element Refillable Beauty into the wholesale community.

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