Fort Simpson salon aims to be the greenest in the North

A hair salon owner in Fort Simpson N.W.T., is determined to make his salon the greenest in the North, with a goal of recycling 95 per cent of waste.

Salon owner plans to recycle 95 percent of waste from his business, including hair clippings, chemicals

Troy Bellefontaine, owner of Fort Simpson's Beauty Mark salon, says that he's committed to working towards recycling 95 per cent of the waste his company produces. (submitted by Troy Bellefontaine)

A hair salon owner in Fort Simpson, N.W.T., is determined to make his salon the greenest in the North, with a goal of recycling 95 per cent of waste.

"I've always been interested in environmental issues," said Troy Bellefontaine, owner of Beauty Mark.

His salon, while small —has room for just two clients at a time — produces about a "garbage bag" a week of hair and other garbage from foils and hair dye tubes.

Bellefontaine's small studio in Fort Simpson, N.W.T. (submitted by Troy Bellefontaine)
But recycling that waste has been a challenge, if not impossible, at times in the community of Fort Simpson, said Bellefontaine. The village's recycling facility, when up and running, only accepts bottles and cans.

"Foils were a big problem because we couldn't recycle them before" he said. "Now we have a way to do that."

'I like to be able to say we are the first'

Beauty Mark is the first salon in Canada's territories to join Green Circle Salons, according to the company that services 1,300 salons across North America.

It helps salons divert up to 95 percent of their waste from landfills by picking up, sorting and sending waste to recycling centres across the country.

There, the waste is repurposed for future use, such as using hair clippings to make booms for soaking up oil after a spill. Aluminum foils and leftover chemicals, such as bleach and hair dyes, can also be recycled.
Green Circle Salons uses recycled hair clippings to make booms, which can be used to help clean up oil spills. (Green Circle Salons)

"I think it's really exciting. I like to be able to say we are the first," said Bellefontaine.

At Beauty Mark, a fee of $1.50 gets passed onto each customer for the service — but Bellefontaine says that doesn't cover the cost of shipping, which he estimates at an additional $3.00 per customer.

For now, he said, "I'm going to eat the cost myself and show people it can be done."

Bellefontaine has also committed to curbing emissions — and keeping his shipping costs down — by driving his recyclables to Edmonton while picking up salon supplies every few months.

Bellefontaine hard at work with a client. He's partnered with recycling company Green Circle Salons to allow him to recycle waste, like foils, that previously had to go in the landfill. (submitted by Troy Bellefontaine)
"We went, 'wow, this is really remarkable that Troy is this committed to sustainability,'" said Jennifer Henry, a spokesperson for Green Circle Salons. "He wants to put all of the salon recyclables — hair, foils and everything — into his car. 

"He's really gone above and beyond," she said.

Once Bellefontaine works out the kinks and gets some numbers on how much waste he's diverting from the dump, he plans reach out to other N.W.T. salons, sharing his newfound knowledge on how to keep salon waste out of the landfill.

"I really hope we can be the first territory where all the salons are green," he said. "I think that would be really cool and completely achievable"

About the Author

Kate Kyle is a reporter for CBC North based in Yellowknife. Find her on Twitter @_kate_kyle


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