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Harvesting sustainability

There’s a popular new hair salon in Far North Queensland that has proudly led the way for other businesses to go the extra mile and keep their environmental footprint as small as possible.

Trinity Beach-based Harvest Holistic Hair became the region’s first registered Sustainable Salon when they opened their doors in June.

Thanks to the Sustainable Salons initiative, owner Holly Scott and her Harvest team have been diverting as much as 95 per cent of their waste away from landfill and instead reusing, recycling and repurposing the resources in astonishingly creative and widely beneficial ways.

Holly first heard about the initiative from her mum after moving to the Far North from Melbourne, and said she instantly knew it was the direction she wanted to take with her first sole enterprise.

The salon overlooks the idyllic Trinity Beach.

“Zero landfill waste was massive for me,” she said. “Thinking that I wasn’t contributing to landfill and that I could make a change, that was so important. And it’s not as hard as I thought that change would be.

“I love what I do because of those things. It isn’t, for me, just hairdressing. There’s so much more to it. It’s educating my clients on different ways of doing things, and also challenging myself to change and do different things. I feel like I’m doing something I believe in.

“I love telling my clients every time they get a haircut, ‘You’re going to save a turtle with this haircut!’”

While it may sound like an exaggeration, every haircut Holly and her team carry out actually does go towards helping wildlife and the environment.

In arguably one of the most innovative projects under the initiative, registered Sustainable Barbers, Groomers and Salons such as Harvest Holistic Hair collect hair clippings from their salon floors and send them away to be upcycled into hair booms and used to soak up oil spills on land and in water.

Through the project, almost 40,000 kilograms of hair have been collected across Australia and New Zealand. Such a substantial amount of hair is capable of soaking up more than 120,000 litres of oil.

Just as remarkably, the initiative has also partnered with Dresden Vision to create glasses frames made from 100 per cent recycled plastic shampoo bottles.

“Instead of creating more waste, we reuse waste,” said Holly.

In addition to these ingenious conservation efforts, Sustainable Salons donate proceeds from the sales of foils, cans, colour tubes and other salon metals to OzHarvest and KiwiHarvest to help prevent food waste and hunger.

And as if that wasn’t enough, registered salons also donate chopped ponytails to create medical wigs for those suffering from leukaemia and alopecia areata, and they use reusable and photo-degradable paper made from construction waste instead of aluminium foils.

In order to pay for the couriers and other assistance the business receives from Sustainable Salons, Holly said clients pay an additional $3 for their haircuts and treatments.

I love telling my clients every time they get a haircut, ‘You’re going to save a turtle with this haircut!’

“I was a little worried initially, but the more that I educated myself on it the more I was passionate about it, and now I can’t wait to tell them what they get for their $3.

“We just assume they don’t want to spend the $3 extra. That $3 over a hairdressing service is nothing to be a part of something and a movement for change. That’s less than a coffee!

“The clients love it, and they love that they can be a part of it.”

On top of her environmental endeavours, Holly’s open-minded and welcoming approach to business has also seen her support a wide-ranging and inclusive clientele.

Her decision to use all organic, chemical-free products has made her a popular choice for clients suffering from cancer and alopecia, while her complimentary bar and idyllic outlook over Trinity Beach have seen her become sought-after with women and men alike.

But it was a phone call from a woman in the local Muslim community that started Harvest Holistic Hair’s women’s-only sessions.

“When this lady made the phone call, I went, I bet there are a lot of other women who are in this situation,” said Holly. “I actually called about five different places in Cairns, like women’s shelters and the Red Cross.

All of Harvest’s products are completely organic and chemical-free.

“A lot of them would have to have hairdressers go to their houses, and these ladies want this beautiful experience, but they have to sit in their bedrooms and get their hair coloured.

“They are so grateful that they can be here, and in such a beautiful space. My client and her friends really love it.”

Holly said while the business is already close to booked up after just a few months, she’s looking forward to connecting with even more people across the community.

“In four months now we’re pretty well booked up,” she said.

“I’ve been able to put on a casual, I’ve got an apprentice, and I didn’t have any existing clientele. Word of mouth is a big thing. I also did the legwork and walked all around the neighbourhood doing paper drops.

“It’s all about putting yourself out there and meeting the locals. It’s been really amazing. You don’t have to advertise if you have your product walking around in the community.”

Harvest Holistic Hair is on Trinity Beach Road, opposite L’Unico Trattoria Italiano.

Connect // harvestholistichair.com.au

Sustainable Salon Fast Facts

• 136,942+ ponytails sent to charitable organisations and wig-makers for those suffering from medically-induced hair loss

• 153,090 meals provided through donations to OzHarvest and KiwiHarvest

251,957kg of metals diverted from landfill and made into new aluminium packaging

• 221,747kg of plastic kept in circulation and out of our oceans

• 37,430kg of hair collected from the salon floor, capable of soaking up 124,766L of oil

• 3,909kg of e-waste repurposed

• World-first closed-loop product to turn 100 per cent recycled plastic shampoo bottles into frames for sunglasses, prescription or blue light-blocking glasses

• 23 supported employees with disabilities

Registered Sustainable Salons in FNQ

Harvest Holistic Hair
Shop 1/2 Trinity Beach Road, Trinity Beach

Purelyou Hair
25 Plantation Road, Edmonton

Hairhouse Cairns Central
Cairns Central Shop 35, 1 McLeod Street, Cairns City

Hairhouse DFO Cairns
Shop T42 DFO Cairns, 274-304 Mulgrave Road, Westcourt

Wyld Ginger Hair
1/70 McLeod Street, Cairns City

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