Your Guide to Green Circle Salons in 2023

If you’re in the beauty industry, you may have heard of the growing trend of green circle salons. Today, we’ll take a closer look at this movement towards sustainable salon businesses.

What You Will Learn

We’ll go over what green circle salons are and how the program works, as well as some tips to help you make your own salon more sustainable.

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  1. What Is a Green Circle Salon?
  2. How Can You Make Your Salon More Sustainable?
  3. How Much Do Green Circle Salons Cost?
  4. Conclusion

What Is a Green Circle Salon?


If you’re interested in becoming a certified sustainable salon and fighting climate change with a commitment to zero waste, then keep reading.

Green circle salons help to promote environmental and social responsibility in the beauty industry by encouraging salons to work towards zero waste and use clean energy. This can be done in a variety of ways, which we’ll explore in more detail.

These salons hold themselves and their staff to the highest standards by doing more than just recycling: they consider themselves to be waste warriors who encourage sustainable practices.

Going green is also a branding opportunity for the hair salons, since they can talk about their eco-friendly program with customers and explain what it means to be a sustainable hair salon.

Simply put, green circle salons aim to reduce salon waste across the salon industry and lessen the environmental impact of these businesses. They do this in a couple of ways:

  • Recycle: Collects single use items like PPE waste, color tubes, metals, plastic, paper and cardboard and sort it carefully. Then, send it in with municipal recycling (if allowed in your area) or contact a recycling program in your area.
  • Repurpose: Along with the classic single use items like plastic containers, many green salons also collect harder to recycle items and previously unrecoverable materials like disinfectant wipes, oil, aerosol cans, color tubes and even excess hair color. Some of these things are turned into clean energy. This is a great way to help the environment and reduce the carbon footprint of your business.
  • Recover: Some beauty waste, like hair clippings, can be recovered and used for humanitarian efforts, used as part of environmental filtration and insulation research or even turned into bio-composite plastic. Additionally, things like old office equipment and salon furniture can be sold online to upcyclers or taken to specialized waste disposal programs.

This effort to reduce salon waste goes beyond just the disposal practices, though- green circle salons encourage staff to also to think about salon sustainability and go above and beyond to save energy, reduce waste and lessen the environmental impact of their business.

We recommend you to check out our post on salon scale.

How Can You Make Your Salon More Sustainable?


Whether you’re ready to make dramatic changes to your salon business, or you want to start small, there are several things that you can do to reduce beauty waste, lessen the environmental impact of your business and make salon operations more sustainable.

  • Be Water-Wise: This will help your salon to save money while helping the planet. Wash towels and linens in cold water when possible, and only when you have a full load to run. Also, consider investing in a tankless instant hot-water heater- you’ll have limitless hot water, and won’t use energy heating a full tank when not in use.

  • Reduce Power Waste: An eco salon only uses electricity when needed. Ask staff to turn off machines like curling irons and hood dryers when not in use, and install motion-sensor lighting in the storage and break rooms.

  • Create a Carpool: This one has nothing to do with clients, but can still help the planet. Take turns carpooling with your salons staff and encourage team members to ride together (maybe you can create an incentive program or offer gas vouchers to help with this).

  • Make Salon Operations Greener: Small changes like offering your clients beverages in reusable cups with paper straws, changing your salon lighting to LED bulbs, or using quicker-drying microfiber towels will have the dual effect of being better for the environment while also helping to reduce salon expenses.

    Pro Tip: You can also build revenue by offering refillable retail products to customers. Some salons create refill product programs to help clients cut down on the amount of plastics they consume.

  • Recycle: This is one of the biggest steps you can take towards running an eco salon. Put recycling bins and place them near trash cans, separate your recyclables, get in contact with a local electronics disposal program for office equipment, and consider joining a beauty salon recycling program in order to dispose of items like hair clippings, personal protective equipment and excess hair color.

How can you make your salon sustainable?
How Can You Make Your Salon Sustainable

How Much Do Green Circle Salons Cost?


Now you’re probably thinking “Okay, I understand how to make a hair salon sustainable, but I want to know more about the costs of running an eco hair salon.” Fair enough.

There’s no one-size-fits-all cost to get started as a green salon. A lot depends on the size of your business and how far you want to go with the changes.

Some basic costs include:

  • Bins and Bags: Some recycling programs include the costs of bins in their fees, but you’ll still need to buy clear plastic bags to line them- these can cost several dollars a box)
  • Recycling Program Membership: Each program varies in the services they provide and the fees they charge, so be sure to shop around and see what’s available in your area.
  • Energy-Saving Devices: If you’re on a budget, things like LED bulbs, microfibre towels and biodegradable cleaning products can be replaced as your old ones run out. Some of these might be slightly more expensive, but there are ways to offset this…

To offset these ongoing costs, many salon companies will charge each client a $1-2 ESF (environmental stewardship fee). As long as you explain to clients what the fee is for, many of them will probably be happy to pay a tiny bit more money to help the earth. In fact, advertising as a sustainable salon is a great way to gain clients and boost your brand.

Do not miss our post on how to improve salon profitability.



If you’re wondering how to open a sustainable salon, then why not start by trying out some of the tips that we’ve mentioned? You don’t need to do everything all at once, and even small changes will have a big impact on the world over time.

Joining the movement of green circle salons is one way that you can make some powerful changes to your salon’s waste management process and move towards a more sustainable beauty industry. If you have any more eco-friendly tips that we didn’t cover, please let us know.


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