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Last updated: December 02, 2022

10 Ways to Recycle Hair (Yes Hair!)

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How Green Salon Collective is Changing the Way Salons Recycle

Did you know that over 150 million pounds of hair ends up in landfills and drainage systems each year? It’s not just hair, salon waste—such as foils, towels and color tubes, are huge contributors to landfills. European company Green Salon Collective is looking to change that. 


Creating a (Sustainable) Circular Economy

Green Salon Collective offers salons a unique opportunity to get rid of salon waste. How? By creating a circular economy for the professional beauty industry. This means, not only do they provide salons the tools needed to recycle in real time, but they also partner with other corporations to make sure salon waste is repurposed. Also, any profits made are donated back to charitable organizations such as Haircuts4Homeless. 


Fun Fact: Green Salon Collective has saved over 70 tons of salon waste so far this year!



10 Ways to Reuse Hair

We know what you’re thinking: Make WIGS! But most of the time, hair trims and clippings aren’t long enough to recycle into a wig. So, Green Salon Collective has partnered with manufacturers to make sure no hair is wasted. Check out how below:


1. Use as a Natural Compost Ingredient

Hair is naturally rich in Nitrogen, making it an organic alternative for fertilizer! Click here to learn more. 


“Hair is mixed together with other commercial and household biodegradable waste. Everything is stacked and aerated in an in-vessel composting system with a separate maturation phase. The entire process takes only five to six weeks,” explains Stephanie Hodgson the Head of R&D at Green Salon Collective. 
Photo Credit: @greensaloncollective


2. Hair Mats

Using their own unique machine, Green Space Collective felts recycled hair into mats. The mats are then used to cover storm drains.


3. Cleanup Water Disasters Like Oil Spills

As pros, we know hair absorbs environmental pollutants (including oils), we have the products to prove it. But Green Salon Collective is taking it a step further, as the first manufacturer of hair mats and booms in the U.K and Ireland. 


What is a hair boom? A collection of hair (any length or color) packaged tightly into cotton or nylon tubes. When placed in water, the booms prevent oil from spreading, saving aquatic animals and ecosystems. 


Fun Fact: The idea to use hair as a way to clean up oil spills began in America by hairdresser Phil McCroy. 


Around 30-45kgs of hair were used to cleanup this oil spill in Northern Ireland in 2021. Photo Credit: @greensaloncollective


4. Regenerative Biomanufacturing

Partnering with London-based biomanufacturer Biohm, recycled hair is combined with a unique binding material called “orb.” The result is a particleboard-like sheet which can be used as a wood alternative. To learn more, click here


Related: How SalonCentric Is Helping Salons Recycle


5. Wool Alternatives 

Green Salon Collective is collaborating with Natural Fibre Co., a British woolen mill where recycled hair is made into a hair-wool fiber alternative to petroleum and cotton-based yarns, ropes and twines. 


Did you know that ONE Cotton shirt needs 2,700 liters of water? Making it one of the world’s thirstiest crops!
Photo Credit: @greensaloncollective


6. Hands-on Hair Rope Making

Wait, what? That’s right, you can attend a hair rope making workshop where you can not only learn rope-making skills, but also get inspired about recycling and salon waste. 



7. Potting Felt

Similar to the hair mats used for storm drains, this experiment is specifically designed for houseplants. Hair is felted into pot-sized mats that can absorb water, keeps away pests and works as a natural compost. 


Recycling doesn’t stop at hair! Green Salon Collective is working on how to recycle and reuse other salon waste items like foil, color tubes and towels!
Photo Credit: @greensaloncollective


8. Architecture

Working to change the idea of hair as a resource and not waste, Green Salon Collective has collaborated with architecture and research firm Pareid. Together they experiment with hair waste in building materials, even making the presence of hair visible in final products to encourage the conversation around salon waste. 


9. Wigs

The most common use for recycled hair, Green Salon Collective even collects shorter lengths to preserve for wigs. 


10. Works of Art!

Turning hair into wearable art? Yes! In 2022, Green Salon has been featured in museums across Europe and the UK.


Green Salon Collective’s installation at the London Design Festival 2022. The recycled hair installation was over 9 feet tall!
Photo Credit: @greensaloncollective


Want to learn more about how to make your salon sustainable? Click here to find out how your salon can be involved with Green Salon Collective!