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!

The Changemakers: Elle McIntosh, biomedical scientist and co-founder, Twipes

In this occasional series of interviews, we talk to pioneers conducting epic work in the sustainability sector. Our guest today is changemaker Ellenor (Elle) McIntosh. Elle is the inventor of 100% fully flushable Twipes wet wipes. She’s been recognised as a ‘Forbes 30 under 30’ young visionary and winner of the [London] Mayor’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

The inspirational Twipes team, along with 100 Ways in 100 Days, are part of the current Aster Foundation Inc. cohort of social impact entrepreneurs. Here we put the wonderful, and ever-modest Elle into our 100 Ways hot seat…

Can you explain what Twipes are, what they do and who they’re for?

Twipes are the world’s first truly flushable and truly biodegradable wet wipes. They’re entirely plastic-free, so they won’t clog pipes or add microplastic pollution to our oceans. Twipes are dermatologically-tested and gently antibacterial, so they make an excellent all-purpose skincare wipe – great for anything from post-gym wipe downs to messy toddlers, and of course toilet use (naturally).

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

They’re designed to disperse in water in just three hours and begin breaking down the minute they’re flushed, before reaching the main drain. They also break down in landfill in just seven days, faster than bamboo or cotton wipes which range from three weeks to six months. This means our product takes less of a toll on the environment and your pipes – which is essential considering the UK alone uses 11 billion wet wipes each year.

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

What didn’t I do!? I was working in a restaurant, Parliament, an oncology lab and running the business.

I wouldn’t call it turning my back on the career, at the beginning I started out working in a lab, which I loved – I plan on going back to the lab as soon as possible. What I now love about working on Twipes, is that I can work for myself, I have goals that I can work on and it’s for the business to go forward. It’s so refreshing to know that I can work for myself and toward my own goals, versus feeding the corporate machine or working toward the goals of someone else.

What’s your typical day like?

I wake up at 6:30-7 (on a good day) and head to the gym. After the gym I grab some food and a coffee and check my emails, manage the staff and go over business goals for the week, month, year. This is then broken up into daily goals that are distributed among the staff.

As a young start-up in sustainability, what have been your biggest challenges?

The biggest challenge is education. The problem for sustainable businesses like ours is cutting through the noise of misinformation. There’s so much of it and that is a challenge. To educate and teach the public that the sustainable options don’t always have to be more expensive, nor does it have to be harder.

And biggest successes?

Our biggest success has definitely been our move to America. We have recently received funding that has helped us secure a factory and an ability to move out to the States and ship Twipes from there too.

Funniest or weirdest moment?

My favourite question I’ve ever been asked about the Twipes is “can I drink the water after it [Twipes] has been dissolved in it.” Both me and my co-founder looked at each other and were confused as this is clearly a product for bathroom use. Just an FYI you can drink the water, but I most certainly would not recommend it.

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

That it’s not being ignored. People are still trying and whilst it may not happen as quickly as we want it to, at least we know that it is happening, and people are aware and are trying to do something about it.

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

Take one day a week to do something sustainable. Meat-free Mondays are a great way to start. If you can start with one little change, you’re already doing your bit for the environment.

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

I think it’s less about one or two things and more that there is an influx of sustainable businesses being created. The changing attitude toward sustainability and the expectation that every single business now needs to have sustainable goals means that there are massive changes happening within traditional industries.

And finally, what’s next for Twipes?

I’m excited to be getting back into the labs, developing new products and tackling the world of other single-use plastic products. We are currently targeting retail and plan on getting our products into the likes of Whole Foods and Target.