DERRY — A local salon is taking on the environment in a green way while contributing to the good health of the planet
Water's Edge Salon and Spa on East Broadway is now certified as a Green Circle salon, part of a national comprehensive recycling and sustainability program that works to reduce the salon's impact on the planet by disposing of packaging and products safely and with the environment in mind.
Approaching the 30-year mark in business, Water's Edge now has efforts in place to recycle and safely dispose of items such as hair, chemicals, hair colors, polishes, foils, and bottles.
According to statistics provided by Green Circle, 63,000 pounds of hair clippings, 42,000 pounds of hair color, and 206,000 pounds of wastepaper, salon bottles and other paper and plastic items are tossed out by salons across the nation every day.
Through Green Circle efforts, now much of those materials can find a new, reusable life.
Water's Edge owner Sheri McCall-Gayer showed off collection receptacles one day at her salon. One gets filled quickly with hair clippings.
"Hair won't decompose in a landfill," she said. "And hair is so useful."
McCall-Gayer said hair can be used to create booms to control oil spills, giving the excess locks a new life for a good reason.
Other materials that used to get tossed in the trash are now being collected to ship off to various places, through the Green Circle effort.
The list is long of what can be recycled, from paper, plastic, metal, styrofoam, bottle caps, hair colors, and spa waste like wax, nail files, gloves, cotton pads, tissues or plastic wrap.
The salon isn't just recycling 95% of water products, it's also about changing the habits of how staff and the business operates, from designing washable neck wraps, using wash cloths to dry hands instead of paper towels, and providing glass straws to customers.
"We've always recycled," McCall-Gayer said, adding the salon uses washable placemats for manicures, and cloth neck wraps.
"It's anytime we can not use paper," she added.
Hair treatment chemicals can be reused and burned as a fuel source, McCall-Gayer said.
Water's Edge currently has a staff of approximately 13 and all are in tune with the efforts as part of being a Green Circle Salon.
"They were all on board with it," McCall-Gayer said. "I thought it would be hard, but they really adapted."
Water's Edge moved to its current location about a decade ago, and the building has special meaning to McCall-Gayer, who grew up nearby and came to the circa 1826 home often to visit a dear friend.
She said coming full circle and having the business at the former home means a lot. And doing all the business can to protect the planet is an added benefit.
"It will save us all in the long run," McCall-Gayer said.
Theresa Miele has worked at Water's Edge in customer service since 2001 and said the Green Circle effort is one way the staff can do something important.
"I think it's fantastic," she said. "Every little bit adds up."