Waste, in any industry, is something that is hard to control,especially now that society has and is still experiencing a global pandemic. We have begun to rely heavily on single-use products and packaging to verify something’s cleanliness. The beauty industry is no exception. The industry produces hundreds of thousands of pounds of waste every single day. Knowing the benefits of both single and multi-use implements is of paramount importance when deciding what to stock in the treatment room. Also, it’s important to choose vendor partnerships carefully as they can have a huge impact on the contribution to industry waste. The simplest thing you can do to reduce waste within the industry is to care and to be aware.
TO DISINFECT OR THROW AWAY
If you thought the concept of single-use versus multi-use was common sense, think again. Oftentimes, clients are simply unaware of the heavy responsibility that is infection control and how important it is to know when to disinfect and when to discard. The easiest way to identify if an implement or tool is single-use, is its ability to be disinfected. If it is porous, like a cellulose sponge, odds are it will be a one-time use as you cannot effectively disinfect every pore of the sponge. On the other hand, supplies that are rigid or hard without pores, often, can be disinfected either by submersion or by being sprayed with an Environmental Protection Agency-registered disinfectant. Which means that, once the tool is cleaned and disinfected, it can be used on multiple clients –hence the term multi-use. A set of eyebrow tweezers, for example, are typically made of stainless steel and can be easily and effectively disinfected. Choosing when to use single-use and when to use multi-use is primarily up to your comfort and practicality. Be sure that you take as many factors into consideration as is necessary to be content with the decision.
The factors that contribute to the choice of implements can be plentiful. Likely, choosing to use sponges for rinsing during a facial over towels or vice versacan have a list of hundreds of pros and cons. These are including, but not limited to the price of either, laundering the towels, constant purchasing of sponges, willing effort to procure and maintain either, space needed for storage, and so forth. Another facet of consideration is the ability to up-cycle or reduce the potential waste all together. To give an example, instead of tossing sponges into the trash right after use, offer them to the client to take home and continue to use for about a week. Additionally, empty wax cans can be cleaned and used as reusable warming cans for hard wax pellets or beads. Lastly, be conscious of volume. How much you buy of anything can have a direct effect on waste. For instance, if you buy surplus product that expires prior to retail or treatment use, you’re definitely contributing to the industry’s volume of waste. Instead, it’s always solid advice to purchase what you know you will use, then to overbuy and have to waste. Whichever you choose, be sure that you are comfortable with your choices and be sure they can align with your personal and professional philosophies.
Additionally, careful consideration should be taken when choosing vendor partners. Their philosophy on sustainability and reducing waste should be at the forefront of what they do. If it’s important to you, it should also be important to them. A couple ways that companies can contribute to this effort starts during the manufacturing process. Utilizing sustainable ingredients in bio-degradable bottles and packaging can have not only a huge impact on the environment but also the bottom line. Using less cellophane to wrap product boxes and opting for recyclable packing materials are just some of the ways these companies can reduce costs (and waste) that they can then pass on to you through their wholesale pricing. Be aware of their efforts and ask questions regarding their social responsibility platforms. Then, you can use this information to weigh the options of partners and brands that feature a philosophy that is like your own.
Deciding which tools, implements, and supplies to use in the treatment room is no easy task. There are copious amounts of information to compare that may make the task seem daunting. Take everything you care about into consideration regarding the impact on the environment and let that be your guide. Whether single-use or multi-use, vendors that use packing peanuts or recycled paper, you must be content with whatever you choose. Reduce, reuse, or recycle it. As always, stay safe, stay informed, and wash your hands.
Brittany Facio is a Phoenix-based educator-turned-business development manager, she is passionate about how proper aesthetics education and sophisticated protocol implementation can create business-changing revenue. As a business development manager, she is responsible for not only educating her clients on skin care products and protocols, both on an individual basis and in regional training seminars, but also for providing marketing, merchandising, and branding assistance to generate leads and capture a new audience. When she is not working, Facio can be found enjoying play time with her family and Havanese rescue, Spruce, trying a new dinner recipe, and binge-watching comedies on Netflix.