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  • Writer's pictureThe Mindful Materialist

I Donated My Hair

Lockdown has resulted in lots of rescheduling, particularly when it comes to haircuts. Melbourne has been without hairdressers for many months, so when the announcement came that they would finally be reopening their doors, I booked in.

For the last 18 months or so, I’ve been growing my hair out for the purpose of donating it. I was inspired to do it after a friend of mine donated her hair. She told me how easy it was and the impact it would have on people with medically-induced hair loss, so I decided to start growing it out straight away. I’ve had long hair for most of my life, and it’s something I’ve always been quite attached to. But when I heard about the work Sustainable Salons do, I felt more passionate about their work than I did about keeping my hair.

Why Sustainable Salons?

Sustainable Salons are an Australia and New Zealand based social enterprise that help beauty salons, pet groomers and skin clinics switch to greener products and sustainable practices, while supporting local communities. They recycle salon materials to keep waste out of landfill and promote a circular economy. They also partner with organisations such as the World’s Greatest Shave to recycle hair trimmings for wig makers. They also use the funds raised from recycling materials to support OzHarvest and KiwiHarvest and feed those in need. They also use their network of grooming professionals to provide free services to those who wouldn’t normally have access to them.

Sustainable Salons facilitate hair donations for multiple wig-makers and charity partners. These wigs are provided to people with medically induced hair loss from conditions such as Alopecia and cancer. My hairdresser informed me that my hair would most likely be made into a wig for a child with cancer.

Along with their recycling work, Sustainable Salons also use their organisation to provide opportunities. They have partnered with four organisations in Australia and New Zealand to provide employment and workplace support to people with disabilities.

The Stats

In just five years, Sustainable Salons have achieved a lot.

- 22 local recycling partners acquired

- 188,600kg of metal diverted from landfill

- 8 research projects underway with universities

- 143,200kg of plastic kept in circulation (and out of landfill)

- 28,700kg of hair collected from salon floors (which can soak up 95,800L of oil spills)

- 70 ethical and sustainable salon product partners

- 18 charity partners

- 15 education and industry partners

- 908 salon members

- 90,000+ ponytails collected for donation

- 118,000 meals provided

- 1400+ free grooming services provided for those in need

How to Donate Your Hair

COST: $2 on top of your haircut appointment fee.

WHERE: Find your nearest sustainable salon on their salon locator, or post your donation.

LENGTH: To donate your ponytail, it needs to be a minimal of 20cm from where the hair is cut.

It's that simple.


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