Salon doing its part for the environment

Your hair clippings could be mopping up an ocean oil spill

Oceanside Stylist and Barber Shop is going green in a big way. Above

Oceanside Stylist and Barber Shop is going green in a big way. Above

A Parksville hair salon has gone green in an innovative way that might save sea creatures and help farmers control weeds.

Kilogram upon kilogram of hair clippings, along with chemical remnants of dye jobs and perms, used to end up in our landfills. That’s no longer the case at Oceanside Stylist and Barber Shop, thanks to an organization called Green Circle Salons, which collects and makes use of the hair that lands on floor.

Cindy Craig has been in the salon business for more than 35 years. She has owned the shop at 147 Morrison Street for 13 years. Up until six months ago, her shop — and basically every other one in the country — dumped their hair clipping in the garbage, along with the leftover colour tips from dye jobs and empty bottles from chemical-laden hair products.

“It all went down the drain,” Craig explained. “That’s all you could do.”

Now, for a charge, people from the Green Circle Salons organization come and pick up all those nasties. People from the organization pitched the idea to Cindy and she raised it with her three staff members.

“We did a staff vote and we all voted to go for it,” said Craig, who said the salon increased their prices by $1 for each cut, style and colour they do to cover the extra costs. And what do her customers think of this?

“They are right on it, in favour of it,” said Craig.

The hair collected goes into burlap sacks and then dried and stored in warehouses. It then is converted into forms that can be helpful in soaking up oil spills on the oceans and mats for use in farmer’s fields between crops to keep the weeds at bay, instead of using chemicals.

“It’s a bit more work,” said Craig, “but really it’s minimal for what it’s doing to save the planet. I think (recycling) is the way of the future — every home and business should be doing it.’

Many things have changed since Craig started in this business, even since she bought the shop 13 years ago. Besides this recycling effort, the biggest change Craig said she’s seen in the past 13 years is the growth of her business.

“When I started here it was just me and I would spend hours outside reading a book,” Craig said.

“I bet our business has tripled since I bought the place. I’m not complaining.”

Oceanside Stylist and Barber Shop is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. The shop is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Call 250-248-5753.

For more information about Green Circle Salons, visit: www.greencirclesalons.ca.