Every choice we make has an impact. A growing number of hair salons and dog groomers in the Illawarra are choosing to operate in a way that significantly reduces their waste, raises money to feed the needy and creates jobs for people with disabilities? By becoming part of a huge social enterprise called Sustainable Salons, these Illawarra businesses are leading the way when it comes to sustainability and giving back to the community.

What is a Sustainable Salon?

Sustainable Salons Australia is a network of businesses who are diverting 95% of their waste material to recycled or repurposed solutions. Hair of a suitable length is collected to be made in to wigs for people with alopecia and undergoing cancer treatment. Shorter hair is collected from the salon floor and made into hair booms used to tackle oil spills both on land and at sea. In 2020, an oil spill from a ship in Mauritius saw locals cutting off their own hair to create oil booms in order to minimise the ecological impact of the spill. Human hair absorbs oil, but not water, so is an effective tool in clean up efforts.

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Did you know that Australian hair salons contribute around 1 million kgs of aluminium foil to landfill each year? Sustainable Salons collect foil, paper waste and plastic from products they use, which is then diverted away from landfill through a myriad of programs:

  • Metal waste is sold for recycling into new packaging materials and the plastics are upcycled in to products such as sunglasses;
  • The sorting and recycling process provides jobs for people including refugees and those living with a disability;
  • Proceeds from the sale of recyclable materials go to programs such as OzHarvest to provide meals for those who need it.
    It really is a win-win system!


Over the past few years, Australians have become increasingly aware of how small actions by individuals can make a big impact when it comes to the environment. Schools encourage parents to pack lunchboxes with reusable containers instead of plastic wrap, local cafes offer incentives for those who bring their own coffee cup and businesses are leaning towards sustainable packaging choices. Here in the Illawarra, local clubs are covering their roofs in solar panels, Wollongong City Council has launched their FOGO bin program to redirect organic waste and social enterprises such as Green Connect are tackling unemployment whilst answering the call for locally grown produce with their urban farm.

A simple choice you can make that benefits the world around you is to choose a Sustainable Salon for your next hair appointment. There are several Illawarra hair salons who have joined the program and some beauty salons have also formed part of the Sustainable Salons network.

Sustainable Salons pet Grooming in the Illawarra

Recently, D’ogh & CO. in Unanderra became the first pet groomer in the Illawarra to jump on the Sustainable Salons movement. I asked Taylor Stewart, the owner of Dogh & CO. to talk about the process of becoming a Sustainable Salon.

“Dogh & CO. came to life in March of 2021, My goal when creating my business model was that I wanted to have a stress-free environment for the pups that come in and to also be a practising sustainable salon. We are a one-on one groomer meaning that we have private appointments for each dog to create the best environment possible. We cater to dogs all shapes and sizes.


The grooming industry can be extremely wasteful and we did not want to follow along that path so we were already a low waste salon. We teamed up with Sustainable Salons in July to help reduce our waste that ends up in landfill. 90% of all waste that is created here at DOGH & CO. is reused and recycled through Sustainable Salons.


Our favourite part of joining the Sustainable Salon movement is knowing that we are making a real effort to reduce our waste and to help contribute to a more sustainable world for my daughter to grow up in. We hope to inspire other groomers to follow our journey to becoming a Sustainable Salon.”

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Finding Sustainable Salons in Wollongong:

The list of Illawarra hair and beauty businesses joining the Sustainable Salons movement is growing. You can support a Sustainable Salon at the following locations:

  • Elysha Lee Hair (Bulli)

  • D’vine Skin & Body (Thirroul)

  • Charli & Kate Hair Company (Wollongong)

  • Unity Hair (Wollongong)

  • J & Co Hair (Wollongong)

  • The Fox & The Hair (Wollongong)

  • The Hair Lounge (Wollongong)

  • Salon Kaia (Wollongong)

  • The Lock & Brush (Wollongong)

  • The Mane Base (Wollongong)

  • Haylo Hair & Beauty (Wollongong

  • The Facialist (Keiraville)

  • Lox on the Avenue (Mt Ousley)

  • Carly Rhodes Hair (Balgownie)

  • Hair It Is (Balgownie)

  • Tuscany Hair & Beauty (Cordeaux Heights)

  • The Primrose on Tannery (Unanderra)

  • Queenie & Me (Calderwood)

  • Charli & Kate (Shellharbour)

  • Washington Hair House (Shellharbour)

  • Zephyr Hair Co (Kiama)