Elan Hair Design - The UK’s most eco-friendly hair salon

The Asda Environmental Leadership Award, Finalist, 2016

Élan Hair Design transformed their salon into an award-winning eco-friendly business by investing in new technologies and devising new waste management systems.

Good for the environment

  • Élan Hair Design now runs on 100% renewable energy and has cut water consumption by 82%.
  • The business has cut its carbon emissions by 94% and reduced the amount of waste it diverts to landfill by 95%.

Good for business

  • Élan has seen a consistent rise in customer numbers since the completion of the first phase of its project in 2012.
  • The company has been nominated for more than 70 awards and won 21, in recognition of its contribution to a more sustainable society.

Élan Hair Design logo.

Overview

After attending a seminar on LED lighting, the owners of Élan Hair Design decided to transform their business to become more eco-friendly, targeting two key environmental issues: waste management and carbon production. 

Élan completed a £250,000 refurbishment of its premises including:

  • Photovoltaic solar panels generating electricity.

  • Solar panels to provide energy for hot water.

  • LED lighting which uses 80% less electricity and lasts for 10 years.

The company also devised new systems for waste management within the salon:

  • Segregating clean recycling materials from general waste, including contaminated packaging, gloves and specialist materials. 

  • Responsibly disposing of all paper, plastic, glass, aluminium, cardboard, batteries and waste electrical goods.

  • Recycling aluminium foils and colour tubes, both of which are deemed harmful to the environment. 

  • Biodegradable waste (including hair clippings) are sent to be spread as compost on local farmers’ fields.

Staff at Élan weigh the salon’s monthly waste to record how much in each category has been produced and take usage readings for electricity consumption on a weekly basis. 

The business has reduced its annual electricity bill from £6,100 to £625 and now saves £1,168 annually as a result of reducing its water consumption.  These savings have allowed the business to grow and achieve record turnover.

Involving staff in green business development and eco-friendly partnerships

Élan Hair Design recognises that staff engagement is key to the success of its environmental programme. Regular green meetings are held to discuss progress towards the salon's goals, and the staff team are actively involved in finding solutions or better ways of working, using green suggestion cards to share new ideas.

As well as engaging staff Élan works closely with external stakeholders to extend their green project, using suppliers which provide eco-friendly products and materials from shampoo and cosmetics to biodegradable towels and capes. The salon has also built partnerships with local recycling and waste management firms. 

Sharing green expertise

As a result of their success, Élan’s owners were invited to deliver a presentation at a Europe-wide conference. Green EcoNet, held in Brussels, brought together policymakers and small and medium-sized businesses in order to support the transition towards the green economy.

Recently the salon also took part in a social research project organised by Social Value Lab which  looked at ways in which businesses in Scotland can contribute to a fairer and more sustainable nation. Élan was used as a case study in the detailed report. 

What Élan Hair Design's Director said:

“We set out on our journey to transform our salon making it more eco-friendly in 2012 and have not looked back. The changes we have made have obviously helped to contribute to a more sustainable society but have also helped our business to grow and have propelled us to become an environmental leader within our sector and geographical region.” - Lorna Milton, director of Élan Hair Design.