Anchorage salon finds new use for human hair
Turning human hair into something humanitarian -- that's the goal at an Anchorage hair salon that's now part of an international recycling program.
Since September, Salon Davicini, in midtown, has been shipping the hair it cuts to Canada. There, it's turned into booms used to contain oil spills.
"This has been a game-changer for us, this literally brings the circle whole for us. We're bringing in organic products, we're recycling it all, our footprint is very very small," said salon owner Jen Bersch, who says she's always been concerned about how much salons waste.
As a whole, Bersch says the industry throws away about 421,000 pounds of hair every day. Because it's slow to biodegrade, it normally sits in landfills for years.
Now that Bersch has found a found a way to give it a second life, she's hoping to set a trend for more than just hair.
"We really do not need to be filling our landfills with anything more that is just going to sit there," Bersch added.
From clippings to chemicals, Bersch says Greencircle Salons lets her recycle almost everything. And the booms are just the beginning.
"They've started making a hard plastic out of hair, so our bins will now come made out of this hair plastic -- and that’s really super exciting because nobody’s doing that," Bersch said.
It's a cause she and her customers can feel good about.
"I think that's pretty cool that there's, I guess, life after hair death," chuckled Jackie Johnson, one of the salon's clients.
Whether it's long, short, light or dark -- regardless of its natural color, Bersch is making sure all the hair in her salon goes green.
The Anchorage native says she's only able to participate in Greencircle Salons' program with the help of a local beauty product supplier -- who stores and ships all of the hair, which adds up quickly. Bersch estimates her salon cuts between 5 and 10 pounds of hair a day -- several thousand a year.
Because of the additional shipping costs incurred to take part in the program, Bersch has made client participation voluntary. She asks for a $2 processing fee from those who want to recycle their locks.