What do commercial compost specialists think about adding hair waste to their process?

What do commercial compost specialists think about adding hair waste to their process?

Green Salon Collective members have been sending in their hair waste for over a year now. We appreciate that this hasn’t been exactly straightforward and that it requires training and effort. Rest assured, your efforts have not gone unnoticed. Having put in all that work, it’s high time you learned about the impact you’ve made and the importance of sending this overlooked biodegradable waste to us in the first place.

Most of the hair waste you send us becomes compost which is then used in local agriculture and horticulture. Last month, we reached out to our UK-based composting partner in order to better understand how they integrated our hair waste into their process and whether they were satisfied with the additional feedstock. Stephanie Hodgson and research partner Sanne Visser met with the site’s Environmental Compliance Manager who oversees the entire composting process.

Five pallets of accumulated hair waste have so far been received by the composting facility and every single strand has already become compost or mulch. Hair is mixed together with other commercial as well as household biodegradable waste and everything is stacked and aerated in an in-vessel composting system with a separate maturation phase. The entire process takes only five to six weeks.

Theirs is an accelerated process. Unlike home composting, for example, our partners feed all biodegradable waste into enclosed, heated chambers. Close monitoring of pH, moisture and microbial action and regular testing by certified third party labs result in a product that reduces the need for natural or synthetic fertilizers.

We wanted to make sure that an influx of hair was not an issue for their current capabilities and that the resulting compost was of the same high quality as before. It is well known that hair can take a notoriously long time to break down but we were assured that the hair broke down well and that inspections of the final product showed no visible signs of hair. The facility as well as their customers were satisfied with the compost.

Finding alternative solutions for biodegradable waste is a huge challenge and we are thrilled to report how successful this solution has proved to be. Composting is an excellent way to close the loop on hair waste, not least because it helps to create a valuable resource to support local agriculture and horticulture all the while enhancing British soils. 

THANK YOU for putting the effort in each one of your businesses to separate hair from all other waste streams. Sending Green Salon Collective your hair waste is really making a difference. You are contributing to British farming! How incredible!!

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