Posted on April 21, 2021
Sustain Beauty Co
Most of us remember learning about the 3 R’s in elementary school – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. The 3 R’s teach us to use only what is needed and to utilize recycling programs. This thinking has persevered for generations, and for the most part, this is still true. Reducing consumption will be a major contributor to driving down carbon emissions and limiting what we need to responsibly dispose of. But in an age of rapid innovation, do the other two R’s still hold true?
As technology progresses and demand for resources increase, how the product is made, where it is made and what it’s made from, is increasingly important. In some instances, using an easily recyclable or compostable option once is better than reusing something that is hard to produce, maintain and doesn’t biodegrade. Yes, you heard that right - single-use items can sometimes outweigh reusable items when it comes to the impact on the planet. In this case, and in the age of COVID restrictions, we are talking about items like single-use biodegradable towels, masks and other single-use items that improve hygiene and make your lives easier. So, how do you know what is more sustainable?
The first thing to consider is where it all starts – production. The resources needed to create the product and the way they are accessed. For example, Paper Not Foil, a degradable foil alternative repurposes construction rubble. No materials need to be harvested or extracted from the intrusive mining. Not all products can claim that, so relying on brands that pledge to only utilize certified sustainable and renewable resources reduces your impact on the environment. For example, towels produced from certified sustainable wood pulp, renewable and regulated for sustainability, have a lower impact on the environment than cotton farming.
Fresh water supply is predicted to be one of the resources that will cause global tension within the next ten to 20 years. Access to water won’t always be a guarantee for many communities, so conservation is key, and stylists use a LOT of water. From rinsing out color to the dreaded laundry pile, the entire industry uses enough water to fill 170 Olympic-sized swimming pools every day. A single load of laundry in a high-efficiency machine will use roughly 15 to 30 gallons of water and a single basin during an average day of clients will use 150 gallons. And that water drains out with chemicals in it. We can’t stop rinsing clients, but we can skip laundry. Single-use biodegradable towels instantly help you conserve water, save energy and give you all that time back.
At the end of a products use, responsible disposal is crucial. Recycling is not perfect, in fact in many areas in the US, cities estimate that only around 30% of plastic is recycled. Plastic isn’t as straightforward to recycle as it’s positioned. And, a lot of materials have a blend of materials, including most salon towels. To make them last longer, they are often blended with plastic or other unrecyclable materials, so they will go straight to the landfill. What a product is made from is important at the beginning and the end of its life, so choosing supplies that are certified to biodegrade or compost even, limits the impact when you need to replace.
The 3 R’s was incredibly effective in getting the mass population thinking about environmentally friendly practices. Sustainability is an incredibly complex topic and these tips on responsible choices are only a starting place. There are so many things that go into the complete sustainability of our planet, but every step, however small it may seem, is a step in the right direction.
The good news is, as a Sola professional, you can access exclusive deals on degradable foils and bio-degradable towels from Sustain Beauty Co inside your Sola Pro app!
Do your part in helping the beauty community get on the path toward sustainability! Happy Earth Day 🌏💙