Plastic Free July: Making the commitment

Nicole Hewitt, owner of Salon of Chi in Henley-on-Thames, has committed wholeheartedly to eliminating plastic in her salon wherever possible. She shares her three key pieces of advice on how to begin to reduce plastics

Nicole Hewitt

“My journey started in Jamaica, in 2011,” says Nicole Hewitt, owner of Salon of Chi, while discussing the ways her salon is championing a more eco-friendly approach in light of Plastic Free July. “I was walking along the beach and happened to come across a bottle in the sand – a bottle from the very brand we stocked in our salon. It was almost like the ocean was talking to me. I started to research plastic waste, and became more and more motivated to make changes in my business.”


Find your motivation

“Start to look at your business with fresh eyes. We’d been using Easi Meche, which had little plastic sleeves, so we switched back to foil. Those Lotus biscuits, which  come in little plastic packets, got changed for a biscuit tin with bamboo tongs. Plastic pens were swapped out for bamboo ones… there were so many things once we started looking.

We have a team meeting every four weeks, for half a day. Because we’ve taken the time to invest in our team and their understanding of why we’re doing this, they tend to respond really well and engage.” 

Review your business regularly

“This is where your team can really help – everything we do, we think ‘is this the best way to do it?’ We switched to using Oway, because everything is packaged in either glass or aluminum, so it’s all recyclable. I won’t take anything new on now that’s packaged in plastic, if there’s an alternative. Green Salon Collective have been a lifesaver; they do so much that my local recycling collection won’t do. Understanding your plastics is another important step in the chain.

I’ve also been working with a local activist in Henley, and we’ve got involved with Surfers Against Sewage, which is a brilliant organisation – all about helping you reduce plastics. Their local representatives can visit your business to help advise and suggest changes you can be making.”

Find alternatives for what you can change

“Choose plant-based plastics, anything that doesn’t come from oil. Even with all the PPE we needed, we chose a plant-based plastic option. Watch out for disposables, anything single-use. Disposable gloves, for example – we just wash out and re-use until they break. It all makes a difference.”

For Plastic Free July, we’ve also rounded up some easy sustainable swaps for the salon [LINK].

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