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Some York residents' hair is now being used to keep oil spills from spreading. This is just part of a movement by salons to become more environmentally friendly.

Talus-A Therapeutic Salon, in Springettsbury Township, officially became the first York County member of Green Circle Salons on June 1, according to manager Jody Ashley. Green Circle Salons, based in Toronto, sets standards for its members across North America that include a focus on recycling, sustainability and more environmentally friendly products, according to the organization's website.

Green initiatives: Talus is one of 25 Green Circle Salons in the region and 130 in the U.S., a number that's double what it was in January, according to regional director Amy Goei. Goei attributed recent growth to several conferences where the organization was able to speak directly to large groups of salon owners. Talus first heard about the organization at a conference in May, Ashley said.

Aside from now sending excess hair to areas with oil spills, Talus' green initiative includes recycling of hair care products and coloring, Ashley said.

"Typically, (with hair), we'd just throw it away or (with color), it was just thrown down the drain," she said. "Our goal is to become totally eco-friendly."

More work and cost: Ashley said the changes have made for a lot more work for the company's stylists, but they've been receptive because they know it's for a good cause.

"They were all on board," she said. "It's just about getting the routine down."

Goei said experts in the salon industry were so focused on their craft that they needed an organization like Green Circle to make recycling easier for them.

"What we do is another full-time job," Goei said. "It's a huge responsibility that (stylists) just don't have time to do completely on their own."

The changes also have led to a nominal $2 "eco fee" to cover the cost of shipping hair and recycled products back to the factory, Ashley said, but customers haven't complained.

Industry problem: Glen Oropeza, a York-based stylist who works at a salon in Maryland, said most hair care brands don't worry about environmental impact.

"We're in an industry of vanity," he said. "It's very easy to create products that work without worrying about the impact it will have on the environment."

Oropeza, who also does freelance work in York, uses Aveda products, which he said were among the most sustainable and eco-friendly in the business.

— Reach David Weissman at dweissman@yorkdispatch.com.

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