Local salon discovers innovative way to dispose of hair waste

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A local hair salon has come up with an innovative way to make use of waste hair - by composting it.

Ronan Stewart and Connor Grant of Roco hair salon have been collecting waste hair for several months, and will this week hand it over to local gardener Gareth Austin to use for compost.

It is the first step for the salon in becoming a B-Corp, adding another string to its eco-ethos bow.

Speaking to the ‘Journal,’ co-owner of Roco Ronan Stewart said it’s about taking their ethos to the next level.

B Corps are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

“We would be certified for being totally ethically in all ways, be it staff, the way the company is run.

“It’s something we’re striving for, and there’s only a few Irish companies who are, and there’s no hair salons doing it yet.

“We have been gathering hair, because it’s a waste to dump the hair. We found out it was decompostable, but there was no way of doing it because of the fibre in the hair. We looked into different ways of doing it,” said Ronan.

After a lot of research, the team at Roco spoke with local gardener Gareth Austin, who said he believed there was definitely some way to compost hair.

“Gareth runs a horticulture scheme in Letterkenny, and said he can compost the hair.

“Johnny (Heaney of the Limeleaf Cafe) has bags of coffee every week, and Gareth said he will take all of the coffee and the hair.

“Gareth is going to take it and reuse it.

“We’re going to be using it to grow more plants, including air pollution plants in and around the salon and cafe.

“Hopefully using the coffee and the hair, we’re going to start growing plants that we can use around the salon now.

“Johnny is going to start growing herbs as well using the compost,” said Ronan.

Local Horticulturist Gareth Austin said: “Although sounding strange, old hair is a fabulous addition to any soil, offering nearly 20 times the potential fertility of using Manures, and by adding the spent coffee grounds into the compost bins this will help to enhance the worm numbers in the soils, this being vital for soil health.

“I’m delighted that Ronan and Johnny are taking a strategic step to reduce their business carbon footprint by making better use of their waste, and I’m delighted to be the recipient of it!”

It is almost a case of going full circle for items that were thought of as just waste, being able to be reused in the salon.

“We’re hoping to build a roof garden on the car park as well to grow herbs for the cafe, subject to a few things being agreed.

“We’re working together on a lot of things with Johnny in the cafe as well. We’re trying to become as sustainable as we can, and we’re trying to encourage other businesses to do it too,” he added.