A sustainable future lies in creatively innovative business practices

A sustainable future lies in creatively innovative business practices

When a business decides to go green, it has creative freedom for their choice of practices. Each practice is not only a duty to our planet, but also a powerful expression of the business’ uniqueness, and a memorable experience for customers. Whether you are grabbing lunch with friends (in a COVID-safe manner) or treating yourself to a new hairdo, these next two businesses have found innovative ways to rethink their daily waste. Firstly, Pillars Salon has an initiative of recycling hair and hair products for new purposes. Secondly, The Gray Olive Cafeteria is minimizing landfill waste with compostable and plant-made food containers, while serving food with an emphasis on local ingredients.


Pillars Salon

Janet, the owner of Pillars Salon, has revamped her recycling process through a program called “Green Circle Salon” for five years now. Every salon byproduct such as paper, plastic, hair foils, excess hair colour, and hair trimmings are safely collected and sent to Green Circle Salons to be repurposed. For example, the water from excess hair colour (collected in the bin pictured below) will be separated and safely returned to waterways. Additionally, Pillars Salon diverted 1,947 lbs. from the landfills and waterways last year alone!


Green Business Spotlight Pillars Salon


The green business practices at Pillars Salon include:

  • Conversion to LED lighting (replacing conventional lighting).
  • Using timed thermostats to reduce energy consumption.
  • Working with at least 75% locally-based vendors and suppliers for the salon.
  • Using cloth towels instead of paper towels.
  • Having products that are predominantly natural and/or chemical-free, such as Kevin Murphy’s renewable, sustainable and natural ingredients (some packaging is made from ocean waste plastic).
  • Being a Green Circle Salon, which means almost all the waste from excess colour, hair foil, and hair trimmings are properly recycled and repurposed.
  • Switching from paper booking to computer booking to save paper.


The Gray Olive Cafeteria

With the current health orders preventing indoor dining, supporting local restaurants with takeout has become is a common occurrence. Increasingly, you can buy take-out from eateries committed to using earth-friendly containers. Brian from The Gray Olive Cafeteria gives back to nature by using drink cups made from plants! These cups have their own sustainable life cycle. Fertilizer helps the plants grow, and then the 100% biodegradable cups turn into fertilizer themselves. Every takeout container at The Gray Olive is compostable, which diverts waste from ending up in the landfill.
Who knew you could drink a plant-based oat milk iced coffee (pictured below) in a plant-based cup?


Green Business Spotlight The Gray Olive Cafeteria


Together with compostable containers, The Gray Olive Cafeteria is also:

  • Using LED lighting.
  • Running timed thermostats to reduce energy consumption.
  • Using at least 75% locally-based vendors and suppliers.
  • Cooking with mostly organic or local food ingredients.
  • Having incentives for customers to bring their own cups and/or containers.
  • Using compostable or biodegradable takeout containers or bags (not degradable plastic)  to eliminate single-use plastics.
  • Using environmentally-friendly straws.



By supporting businesses that use creative, innovative, and sustainable business practices, the planet benefits from their efforts. Stay tuned for more innovative businesses that are awaiting the Green Business Spotlight. Follow along on Instagram and Facebook for more features and tidbits!




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