We’ve all been worried so much about the economy, I thought we could take a break from that particular kind of “green” worry and think about something else that’s been on the top of a lot of people’s minds — the earth. With Earth Day coming up on April 22, April has become the unofficial month for celebrating our planet.

I’ll be the first to admit that I could do so much more in the “go green” movement. But I’ve been improving little by little. It’s called “green lite” and it’s a good way to ease into this whole earth-friendly way of living and working. Each one of us can do little things like switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and recycling paper, plastic, cans, and bottles. But what else can you do in the salon to be a little more eco-conscious?

Let’s start with the three Rs — Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.

Reduce: Do you currently offer beverages to your clients? Instead of bottled water, why not install a water filter in your kitchen (remember that whole thing about many bottled water brands being just tap water anyway). What about all those towels you have to wash? Using cold water greatly reduces the amount of energy it takes to run the wash cycle. When you’re not using your electric file, unplug it from the outlet — it’s actually using energy even when it’s turned off.

Reuse: Getting back to the beverages you serve in the salon, stop using disposable plastic or paper cups for coffee and start using glass cups that can be put in the dishwasher. Or at the very least, buy environmentally friendly, biodegradable cups. Buy products in larger back bar sizes and refill your front of the salon containers. It will save you money in addition to creating less waste.

Recycle: By now, I hope this goes without saying, but you should be recycling all of the magazines you put out in the salon, as well as any glass, plastic, paper, or cardboard products that are used. When printing salon menus and other promotional materials, consider using recycled paper products and make sure to print on the front and the back to get more bang for your buck while saving on paper.

Since we’re currently in a period where the green movement has gone mainstream, we’re seeing more and more salons touting themselves as “organic,” “eco-friendly,” and “green.” Obviously the products used in salons have chemicals (water is a chemical if we want to get down to semantics), so I’m not suggesting you offer up only homemade, food-derived services, but I am suggesting we all take a step back to ask ourselves, “What can I do to help my planet?” You don’t have to be a so-called all-natural salon to be eco-friendly, but you do have to be conscious. So consider this: Are you a conscious salon?

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