The Changemakers: Fry Taylor, co-founder, Green Salon Collective

In this occasional series of interviews, we talk to truly inspirational people conducting groundbreaking work in sustainability. Our latest guest in the 100 Ways hot seat is visionary changemaker Fry Taylor.

Fry is the driving force behind Green Salon Collective, the organisation that’s committed to cleaning up the act of a hugely wasteful and polluting industry.

In fact the everyday environmental harm from hairdressers & barbers is enough to make your hair stand on end:

  • Toxic hair colour chemicals are routinely poured down the sink
  • Contaminated foils and colour tubes end up in normal rubbish (foil takes up to 500 years to break down in landfill)
  • Plastic, paper & PPE are used & scrapped on an industrial scale

So, let’s grill Fry on his pioneering green innovations which are revolutionising the world of haircare.

Can you explain what The Green Salon Collective is and what it does?

Salons signed up to The Green Salon Collective are able to ‘recycle the unrecyclable’; foil, chemicals, the whole shebang.

It turns it into treasure and profits go to food poverty, homeless and rewilding charities.

But the Collective also makes salon recycling fun… with over 10 unique and exciting ways to recycle hair!

What’s the benefit, for consumers and for the planet?

Hair in landfill releases methane and adds to the landfill mess. By recycling hair we can help avoid adding to landfill and turn it into new and interesting products.

It can be used for: composting, for clever new architecture & building materials (including insulation), for yarn and rope, even in art (one artist is creating hair dresses). But the most eye-catching use is in hair booms, which are used to mop up oil spills in oceans and waterways.

Editor’s note: take a look at this amazing video of hair booms in action (it’s an excerpt from one of our 100 ‘Ways’).

What did you do prior to setting up Green Salon Collective – and what motivated you to turn your back on that career?

I’ve always worked in the hair industry, from salon to product companies and everything in between, I’ve seen all the waste, and I wanted to do my bit.

What’s your typical day like?

Consistently inconsistent…

As a young(ish!) organisation in sustainability, what have been your biggest challenges?

Too much legal and red tape for people who want to do something good for the planet.

And biggest successes?

One salon owner was ready to close her salon, she couldn’t cope with not being able to recycle her colour tubes, the foil and hair. She felt helpless and hated the waste her business created. She found us and decided to keep going!

Funniest or weirdest moment?

Seeing the members jump up and down on the bags of foil; or selfies with bags of hair; that always gives me a smile.

What keeps you going when you fear everyone’s journey to Net Zero is going far too slowly? (or similar)

I don’t share this fear, this type of emotion will get you nowhere.

What’s your top tip for easily achievable things people can do either at work, at home or at play to be more sustainable?

Grow something, grow anything! Even if you live in a flat, you can grow herbs, so there are no excuses! 🙂

What’s the most exciting sustainability development you’ve heard about recently?

This may not sound like the most ‘exciting’ thing, but from a hair industry point of view, I think it’s pretty cool that, because of what we have done at GSC, the training schools for salons are getting involved. They’re now teaching sustainability to the next-gen of hairdressers.

To me, that’s exciting! I should get out more, ha ha!

And finally, what’s next for The Green Salon Collective?

We are launching a non-toxic salon cleaning product, On Nature’s Side. Salons have to be clean but what they currently use is a chemical soup. Our version is so gentle you can drink it. Yum!

100 Ways top tip:

Make sure you book your next appointment with a Green Salon Collective hairdresser (check out their store locator here or scan the barcode below), or persuade your favourite salon to join up!