Greener Hairdressing – Martin Thomas

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The thing is, I’m a dad to four young people and, whilst they may not be meek, they are going to inherit the planet

Martin

Martin is proprietor of Thomas Roskilly, the Andover hairdresser. It is housed on the upper floor of the magnificent cruck-framed The Angel Inn, built in the 15th century by Winchester College, which owned the land. In one sense, Thomas Roskilly could hardly be more green: the trees which frame it have given nearly 600 years of secondary use, a claim which few can rival.

photograph by Martin Thomas

But hairdressing in general is not a particularly green enterprise, with its chemical waste and single-use of plastics. Martin writes:

The idea of all this plastic floating around the earth and its oceans simply made me feel that I needed to do my bit. Apart from the need to protect clients’ clothes from spillage, for which reusable gowns are normally used, with the arrival of the Covid pandemic it became necessary to introduce single-use gowns to avoid the spread of infection.

I tried, but failed, to find paper alternatives and decided the only cost-effective solution was plastic gowns.

When I had sourced the gowns and ordered 3,000 of them, which in a busy salon were not going to last that long, the size of the impact this was going to have environmentally became all too apparent. Our salon alone would use up to 15,000 per year.

Martin Thomas

So I had the idea of involving our clients in an attempt to get our green credentials back on track. It was unorthodox, and although it took a little time for some of our clients to agree to adopt our communal recycling, others were enthusiastic and readily agreed to buy their gowns from us in a cotton version, take them home to be laundered and bring them back for each use.

On top of the already pared-down service we can give at the moment (no coffee/tea, wine/beer, magazines or newspapers for example) asking a tenner for a gown and two towels

Martin Thomas

What I find really inspirational about this story is that it is not just about one proprietor of a hairdressing salon taking action on his own but acting as a community leader. With the best of justifications (Covid 19), he is leading his clients to living more lightly on the earth and may well cause them to reflect on their overall green attitudes.

Bravo Martin!