Most of us try to be eco-conscious to some extent, whether by recycling, using energy-efficient light bulbs or composting garbage instead of tossing it in the trash. With a little thought and effort, a grooming salon also can reduce its carbon footprint by using eco-friendly equipment and products, and following earth-friendly practices.
One of the best ways groomers can reduce their impact on the ecosystem, however, is to manage the use of shampoo and water, our most used resources. Some businesses have systems in place to collect, filter and use rainwater for bathing, but for those unable to go quite that far, there are still excellent equipment choices available.
Using a bathing system is probably the easiest and most cost-effective way to go green, and it helps groomers save money and time, as well. Any type of bathing system uses less water and shampoo than hand-washing with squeeze bottles of shampoo. For example, recirculating bathing systems—in which shampoo is added to water in the tub, sucked into a pump and applied through a hose applicator—saves on shampoo, water and time.
Prima Bathing Systems, of Hubbard, Ore., offers yet another type of bathing system for salons to consider. According to owner Gary Falkenberg, this is the greenest bathing system on the market.
“All of what goes down the drain has to be processed in sewage plants or septic tanks, so reducing waste is a worthwhile goal,” he says. Prima claims average shampoo use is reduced by up to 84 percent and water use by more than half—averaging one gallon per minute instead of four to five gallons per minute.
Energy savings can be found in other areas, as well. Dri-Eaz is one of many companies making cage dryers that do not have heating elements. These dryers use less amps, reducing the electric bill. They are effective and safer for dogs, as well. Dri-Eaz also sells dehumidifiers, which speed drying by removing moisture from the air and make the salon much more comfortable to work in.
Salons can also reduce their carbon footprints by using “green” grooming and cleaning products. One company, Activeion, for example, has created a handheld system that turns tap water into an effective cleaner. Meanwhile, shampoos that are low-sudsing or septic-approved add less detergent to the environment.
Joe Zuccarello, national accounts manager for Tropiclean Products, is proud that the company’s shampoos use a formula that doesn’t require artificial sudsing agents, and all Tropiclean’s packaging is made from post-consumer recycled material. “What gets the dogs clean is a coconut-based cleansing agent,” Zuccarello says.
Michelle Lampron, head groomer for Planet Dog—a manufacturer of eco-friendly dog toys, collars, and leads that also has a grooming salon at its headquarters in Portland, Maine—tries to be as green as possible. Lampron recommends using a recirculating bathing system, but also suggests reading shampoo labels carefully and asking manufacturers what each ingredient does. As an eco-friendly company, Planet Dog tries to be aware of energy use wherever possible, as well. “We use all-natural detergent to wash the towels, and clean with an all-natural, locally made cleanser that includes vinegar,” says Lampron.
Val Penstone, training director for Best Friends Pet Care, in Norwalk, Conn., which has facilities in 19 states, says something as simple as buying shampoo in five-gallon cubes instead of four separate containers can save a lot of energy as well as money, and creates less plastic waste.
Even if we all do just a few things—or only one—our efforts will make a difference in caring for this world. Letting our customers know that we care about our world, their pet, and our impact on both can only be good business.
Carol Visser is a Nationally Certified Master Groomer and Certified Pet Dog Trainer. Formerly a pet product expert for PetEdge, she and her husband Glenn now own Two Canines Pet Services in Montville, Maine, which provides grooming, boarding, training and day care services to Waldo County.