On Waterloo Street in Surry Hills, not far from Devonshire Street, is a hairdressing salon that takes a proactive approach to decreasing waste in their industry. Known as The Sustainable Salon, the business promotes “premium services and a non-toxic salon” to those who expect more than henna red from a green hairdresser.
“I saw the gap in the industry and it’s something that I always wanted to create, as a clean environment, like a non-toxic one. And I guess I was just trying to do my bit, recycling whenever I could and avoid wastage,” said Diego Padilla Vargas, one of the founders of The Sustainable Salon.
The Sustainable Salon has made itself sustainable wherever possible. This includes, but is not limited to: recycling waste, using coconut shells rather than plastic as their tint and a partnership with Sustainable Salons Australia to make sure their recyclable waste goes towards charitable causes. Even the tea and coffee they serve is organic.
Diego along with Zoran Petric, established The Sustainable Salon in 2015 to encourage sustainable practices in the hair industry, known for consuming large amounts of water, energy, and waste.
But their work also has the community in mind encouraging them to contribute to sustainability while also feeling like they are having quality service: “They don’t feel that they go to a conventional salon, a traditional salon I guess because. It smells different, it doesn’t smell like full-on chemicals. They get premium service with gentle products, and knowing that when they come here they’re doing their bit as well, they’re contributing to sustainability.”
Diego says that he doesn’t feel there are any issues in balancing between client needs and sustainability because he feels they are attracting ‘like-minded people” who are “looking for these kinds of places”. And in the process, they let the client contribute to saving the environment.
Australia is one of the biggest producers of waste in the world. And there is a constant need for more sustainable practices wherever possible, especially in the hair industry from whatever you use as a tint to what products you use on a client’s hair. The Sustainable Salon is an example of how hair salons can be sustainable yet provide good service.