RoCo lead by example in promoting principles of recycling

Connor Grant and Ronan Stewart, founders of RoCo whose salon now includesa Brew Bar. PIcture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 06.06.16
Connor Grant and Ronan Stewart, founders of RoCo whose salon now includesa Brew Bar. PIcture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 06.06.16

Derry City and Strabane District Council are supporting Recycle Week this week by hosting a number of events to encourage the public to make a conscious effort to reduce, reuse and recycle.

It is an opportunity for the public to learn more about waste management but also about the financial and environmental benefits of applying the principles of recycling.

RoCo Hair Salon on Derry Quay have taken the lead in promoting those principles by developing the idea of an ‘Eco Salon’, catering for the needs of people who are passionate about the environment and applying those principles to every aspect of their business.

“We pride ourselves at RoCo for our strong ethos to help the environment and do what we can every day to protect it,” explained co-owner Ronan Stewart.

“We try our best to educate our staff, clients, friends and family on simple things they can do to help the environment and reduce, reuse and recycle and we carry that ethos through all aspects of our salon.

“We encourage our staff put their waste in the appropriate bins and they do that now without even thinking, we have a young team at RoCo, the average age is 20, and hopefully they will take those habits forward with them as adults.”

RoCo’s relocation to the quay in 2015, after a fire at the Mandarin Palace restaurant forced them to close their Strand Road premises, allowed them to make a conscious effort to apply their recycling principles to almost every physical aspect of the construction of their new salon.

“We have done a lot in order to reduce, reuse and recycle everything from the light fittings to the stations even from the floor to the product shelving,” Ronan continued.

“When we left our original premises due to the fire, we knew that no corners would be cut to ensure our new salon met every high standard we set for ourselves but we wanted to carry our salon ethos throughout the design.

“Our work stations were created using old windows and railway stations and the excess wood was used for our product shelving.

“The trolleys we use were created using an old gym floor from a local primary school and the light fittings were salvaged from an old building and fitted with energy efficient LED lights.

“Our gas and energy supply comes from Energia, an Irish energy company dedicated to creating renewable and sustainable energy resources.

“Our experience has been that the initial financial outlay of installing energy efficient infrastructure has quickly paid for itself through the cost savings we have made which we continue to benefit from.

“My advice to other business is that it is too easy not to be energy efficient given the money you save.”

In the day to day running of the salon, RoCo make sure their line of products are made using natural ingredients wherever possible.

The products are packaged in fully recycled PET plastic, they encourage customers to recycle by offering a 33% discount if they take a refill option and they print their own stamps on loyalty cards.

Their next recycling goal is to eradicate their use of one use plastic such as capes, caps and reusable gloves, the salon have cut down its use by 80% in the last six months and, with the help of Zero-Waste Derry, they aim to be 100% one use plastic free by 2018.

Council have organised a number of events to mark Recycling Week starting with ‘What Goes In My Bin?’ information events at the Guildhall and Alley Theatre on Monday, September 25.

On Tuesday, a ‘Recycling and Reducing Your Household Budget’ seminar will be held at the Pennyburn Recycling Centre before the same event takes place at Strahan’s Road Recycling Centre in Strabane on Wednesday.

On Thursday members of Council’s Waste and Recycling Team will be answering the public’s questions line on Twitter from 7.30pm, to get involved use the hash tag #AskRecycleWk.

For more information about your local recycling scheme, including details of what can and can’t be recycled from around the house, visit www.derrystrabane.com/recycleweek.