VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Masks, gloves and disinfecting wipes have all been a part of the battle against coronavirus.
For many homes and businesses, that means more waste.
But at AOC Salon’s locations in Norfolk and Virginia Beach, it has meant reaffirming a commitment to environmentalism.
“Trying to think further than right in front of us is always been a very big passion of AOC Salon and the staff here,” said owner Dalbe Markman.
Becoming a Green Circle salon means that personal protective equipment, hair foils and even hair itself are shipped off and repurposed, instead of going to a landfill.
Markman had been looking into the program before the coronavirus pandemic shut the salons down.
“My husband and I went back and forth, should we continue with this movement?” she said. “Then, it was just clear as day when we started seeing photographs of masks on the ground.”
PPE is incinerated and used to make filler for asphalt and other construction materials, according to Green Circle’s website.
Foils used for dying hair can be melted down and repurposed to make bicycles and auto parts, while the dye itself is turned into fuel and clean water.
Staff have posted signs around the salons and photos on social media to let clients know about the new program.
“Clients have been more excited about it than I even expected them to be,” Markman said. “Our trash is now going to something good. That feels good.”
Markman acknowledges the program comes with a cost, at a time that small businesses are already feeling strapped.
“I personally think it’s well worth the investment,” she said. “We have to keep doing the right thing, no matter what’s going on.”
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