The Social Club Grooming Company Adventure

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This is a working page for the Social Club Grooming Company, Sebastian Jackson.

Topics for deep exploration

The Social Club Grooming Company is a hair/massage salon located on the Wayne State campus. Sebastian's goal is to turn his business into a triple bottom line sustainable business, and to engage his clients/students in growing their awareness of their impact on the environment and their community.

The topics we will research are:

  • Water
  • Waste
  • Energy
  • Toxicity/Health/Products
  • Learning Community

June 5, 2012

The "Social" in Social Club has a dual meaning:

* It is a place for people to come and interact with other members of the community

* It represents and example of social responsibility: Sebastian says, "Everything we do we want to do in a socially responsible way."

Sebastian is a senior at WSU - worked at the salon for about 3 years, then the business closed down and he eventually bought it and took over. Currently there are 7 employees with 6 more to be hired in the fall.

He wants the physical building to be more sustainable as well as their business practices (ex: they are composting the men's hair and using women's hair (which is normally treated) in oil spill collection process.

3D Continuous improvement process: The business has been up and running now for the past 5 weeks. But a business is more than just profit - where is the community and the planet in all of this?

Sustainability is a systems change ("there is no away"): There is a change process and a human process that need to be made organically and naturally. It takes more time than we would normally expect.

Work Cycle

Work Cycle (diagram at right): In every 2 month time period, we will take one small change from the beginning conception to implementation. Although this process may seem slow, actually bringing about these changes within a working community takes time and is a lot of work - in reality, 2 months is very fast.

Research Topics

Scheduled Topics (diagram at right):

June/July: Hair August/September: Recycling October/November: Product Toxicity

Next week: Amount of hair - treated vs. not treated, How much is needed, is all hair the same? Are some types of treatment eco-friendly? Are they all toxic? Options for the reuse of hair: local options? or does the hair have to travel - storage and shipment? Is hair storage a health problem?

June - July 2012 Project: Waste Hair

Human Hair Background

The Basics - Hair 101

Research topics on treated vs. untreated hair

Hair is unique to mammals and is quite complex. Some key facts are:

  • A total of around 150,000 follicles on the human head.
  • The rate or speed of hair growth is about 0.5 inches per month, or about 6 inches per year.
  • An important biomaterial primarily composed of protein, notably keratin.
  • Hair fibers have a structure consisting of several layers. Starting from the outside:
    • the cuticle which consists of several layers of flat, thin cells laid out overlapping one another as roof shingles,
    • the cortex, which contains the keratin bundles in cell structures that remain roughly rod-like; and in some cases,
    • the medulla, a disorganized and open area at the fiber's center.[3]
  • important because hair found on the head serves as primary sources of heat insulation and cooling (when sweat evaporates from soaked hair) as well as protection from ultra-violet radiation exposure.
  • The growth of hair in the follicles occurs in cycles. In each cycle, afollicle goes through a growth phase, transition phase and resting phase. 50 to 100 hairs a day fall-off naturally.

Chemical and biological factors of human hair

Hair Raising Stats

Hair collected over one month at Social Club
  • 278 customers for one month
    • 200 - 238 haircuts
    • 3 lb 5oz cut hair / volume 9"x 15" x 12" = 1 cu ft uncompressed
    • Splitting hairs
      • Treated vs. Non-treated (men's)
      • Clean vs. not washed hair


Ideas for reuse/recycling of hair

Questions: How can we complete the circle with hair? What is it made of and how can it be reused/recycled? Does it make a difference if the hair is clean (shampooed) or dirty? What do we mean by treated or untreated hair?

Ideas for recycling/reuse:

Note: Matter of Trust not taking hair anymore.

  • Wigs: Child's wig takes 12-25 ponytails (10-12 in) to make one wig (Sebastian estimates about 5% of the hair can be used for this)
  • Plant food Smartgrow mulch / fertilizer
  • Weed repellent
  • Rodent/deer repellent
  • Jewelry and apparel
  • Extracting L-cysteine from the hair to be used in commercial bread production or nutritional vitamin supplement. Helps soft tissue recovery post surgery
  • For bird nests
  • Absorb oil spills/leaks (hair booms can be wrung out and re-used)
  • Paintbrushes
  • Insulation?
  • Heating/ventilation filters
  • Furniture stuffing
  • Compost (companies will sterilize hair before using it)

Rodent/Deer Repellent: Deer and other rodents don't like smell of humans, so use of hair clippings to keep them away from gardens is commonly used. Some disagreement as to its effectiveness - perhaps deer are getting used to being around humans and are not as repelled by their smell.

  • Hair can either be hung in mesh bags around perimeter (or socks or stockings) or placed loose on the ground around the plants.
  • This seems to be most effective in protecting the less preferred plants
  • Hair should be dirty, not shampooed
  • U of Conn study showed that human hair was about 34% effective as a deer repellent
  • Deer do not like the smell of deodorant soap, so sometimes soap shavings can be mixed with hair, put in a mesh bag and hung around perimeter of garden.

Sorting out the best ideas for reuse/recycling of hair - composting wins!

After reviewing several options for recycling/reusing the hair clippings for The Social Club, it became clear very quickly that using the hair for composting would be the best option. In addition, it fits the 3D model of sustainable business practices:

  • Economically feasible as there is little to no cost involved
  • Environment: using the hair to create compost for gardens leaves no waste by returning the hair to the earth to support new plant growth
  • Community: composting helps to support the community organization, "People for Palmer Park" where the compost will be used in the replanting of the park.


  • Composting untreated hair is safe and effective
  • The safety of composting treated hair is questionable:
  • It takes one to two years for hair to break down completely in compost or soil
  • As it decomposes, hair releases nitrogen, an essential plant macro-nutrient
  • Hair can also be added directly to soil, but it's suggested that it be chopped up and incorporated so that it doesn't mat
  • Hair could be collected in totes and then transported directly to the composting facility or to a transfer area once a month
  • In terms of volume of material, hair should be less than 10% of the total volume so that the carbon to nitrogen ratio of the composting process remains in balance
  • The carbon to nitrogen ratio of human hair is estimated at 3:1. This is more than 3 times the amount of nitrogen in manure by weight. Reference is the University of Arkansas Extension Service.

Compost Cycle

Proposed composting procedure:

  1. Social Club collects untreated hair (not treated with dyes or perms) separately in a dedicated plastic tote.
  2. Social Club brings full tote to the Green Garage once per month, exchanging it for an empty tote.
  3. Kirsten takes the full tote to MCBW the morning of the day it's to be transported to Palmer Park.
  4. Dan drives the full tote out and empties it at Palmer Park.
  5. Kirsten retrieves the empty tote later in the day.
  6. Green Garage stores the empty tote on the shelf in the annex recycling center until the next full tote is brought over from Social Club.

Options for composting

A bit of research still needs to be done regarding treated vs. untreated hair and whether or not treated hair will be able to be used in compost safely. Also, a couple of options for composting come to mind:

  • Detroit Dirt
  • People for Palmer Park
  • Earthworks

Looking at treated hair: color, relaxer, perm

There are 3 types of color:

  • Demi: lasts only until next washing
  • Semi: will come out after about 10 washes
  • Permanent color: stays in permanently

Social Club uses 3 brands of relaxers:

  • Paul Mitchell
  • Olive Oil
  • E Motions

Perms (permanent wave products) are not in fashion and are done only rarely at Social Club.

Field Trip to The Social Club

Notes from week of July 30:

Collecting hair:

Hair was collected into treated and untreated bins.

Palmer Park composting project is not a long-term solution - only ok'd for 3 years; look to Detroit Dirt for longer-term?

Broom is color-coded (for treated hair) and matches color-coded bin. Stylists have begun to change their habits by sorting collected hair into appropriate bins.

Community information will begin to go up on entryway wall next week.

Sebastian to get another bin for untreated hair that can be left at the GG.

August - Sept. Project: Recycling

Social Club Recycling List

This week, Sebastian began examining trash bins:

  • Has mostly plastic (28 bottles in 15 days coming from staff) and paper towels. State requires drinking water, so they plan on replacing water bottles with a water cooler.
  • Paper towels come from the rest room.
  • No styrofoam, bubble wrap or cardboard boxes
  • Plastic packaging came from hair packs (extensions).
  • A lot of magazines (some brought in by customers)
  • A lot of junk mail.
  • Not much office paper
  • Neck strips (paper - 60/week/barber) might have some alcohol on them, but can go into recycling.
  • 2 aerosol cans
  • Foil (used in coloring hair)

Here is a link to our reducing/reusing/recycling spreadsheet

Plastics reduce/reuse/recycle chart


  • plastics are sorted by their number
  • then plastic is shredded
  • then melted into plastic pellets
  • there are food grade and non-food grade plastics
  • plastics can be made into a variety of products: no. 1 can be made into thread, #5 into plastic furniture, e.g.

Plastics designations:

  • no. 1, plastic bottles, they are diff from the caps (bottles are no. 1, caps are no. 5)
  • no. 2, shampoo bottles
  • no. 3 PVC, most places don't recycle this
  • no. 4, low density polyethylene LDPE, in cling wraps, grocery bags (very thin)
  • no. 5, polypropylene - bottle caps, yogurt cups, diapers
  • no. 6, polystyrene - styrofoam, coffee cups, take out boxes, popcorn, etc. most places don't recycle this, Recycle Here takes it, though.
  • no. 7, miscellaneous, mostly poly carbonate, poly lactic acid, made from corn (MI Green Safe Products), baby bottles, food containers, medical storage containers.

Ellen to forward document link on this information.


  • Aluminum one of the highest embodied energy products, takes a lot of energy to produce it (like cement, drywall, etc)
  • Aluminum foil is completely recyclable since it is made of aluminum. Sebastian to call company who makes the foil to see if it is really recyclable.
  • A lot of foil from the salon has color product on it - if it goes to metal recycling, might want to rinse it off, but because of the process used to recycle metals, the chemicals should be OK. Matt (Recycle Here!) will just want to protect his sorters so that the chemical doesn't get on them.
  • Best if it is kept separate to simplify collection.
  • Sebastian to measure foil usage. Aluminum has a high resale value. Maybe they could sell it??

Plastic Water Bottles

Planet compostable cup

Sebastian's goal is to reduce use of plastic water bottles in the salon. Options:

Then he might use commercially compostable paper cups from Michigan Green Safe Products

Bottle Caps:

  • Reduce the number of bottles by using larger bottles
  • Give to Arts and Scraps for reuse
  • Recycle Here will take them for recycling


  • Will City Recycling pay for aluminum? Kirsten to follow up. Doesn't need to be cleaned because metal is recycled at high heat. What about the weight of the gooey product that is left on it?
  • Is the foil actually aluminum? Sebastian to check into this.
  • City Recycling would take it with some product on it. They won't pay much for it but it saves the aluminum from the landfill. If it's too much work to get it to City Recycling, Recycle Here will take it.

Going Paperless

Paperless Strategy

  • Eliminate the paper at the source
  • If it comes in paper form get it digitized asap
  • Store important digitized documents in a place where it can be accessed anywhere by any authorized person and is backed up automatically.

Stop Junk Mail

  • Quantity
    • You are likely receiving hundreds of pounds of junk mail per year (each individual receives on average 41 pounds)
  • Benefits
    • Save some of the 100 million trees that are used to make junk mail...each year!
    • Avoid paying for all the handling and disposal / recycling...1,000's of pounds for small businesses.
    • Save the time people spend perusing junk's costly unfocused noise....physical Spam
  • How to Stop
    • STEP #1 Collect all the junk mail
      • Set up a junk mail "Unsubscribe" box to put the junk mail
      • Just tear off the back page of the catalog, with customer can recycle the rest of the catalog
    • STEP #2 Unsubscribe
      • Sign up on the overall Stop Junk Mail Sites
      • Unsubscribe from individual pieces of junk mail
        • Call or search online (using Google) to find out how to unsubscribe
        • We use the company name, words "catalog" and "unsubscribe" in our Google searches
        • Tell the company you also want to be off their "rental list" ...or do not sell list.

Paperless Transactions

Third Party Institutions
  • Opt in to paperless statements, invoices,
    • Banks
    • Utilities
    • Suppliers
      • Request all be sent to "invoice" email (Shoeboxed or separate gmail account)
  • Opt in to Autopay services
  • Opt in to your bank's online banking
    • They provide the envelops and stamps
Credit Card Processing
  • Paperless Credit Card Processing for Merchant and Customer
  • Could move to iPhone or iTouch using

Reduce Printing

Why print?
  • Try not printing anything
  • Create pdf's from Word Docs and send them via email
Reduce / Reuse Ink
  • Set printers preferences
    • Use "Draft" print option
    • Use "Grayscale" color
  • Get cartridges refilled
    • Cartridge World on Woodward 31502 Woodward Ave, Royal Oak, MI 48073: Phone:(248) 556-8020
    • Costco now does ink refilling for $7.99 - $9.99 per cartridge...more info here.
Reduce Paper
  • reuse envelopes Businesses send you
  • Use once used paper... turn over and print on other side
  • Save envelops businesses send you and reuse them

Digital Document Management

  • Try a Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner...your life will never be the same. SmartVault is integrated with ScanSnap.
    • Don't need floor space
    • Won't be lost in water and fire damage
    • Access from anywhere
Digital Cloud-based Storage
  • Replace paper filing with Dropbox or Shoeboxed
    • This allows controlled sharing
    • These are automatically backed up
PDF Viewers / Editors
  • Free Options
    • PDF - X Change Viewer...get cnet info and download here.
      • Very fast
      • Also has pdf editing tools

Eliminating Paper Towels

  • One recommended dryer to consider American Dryer
    • 3X Faster than conventional hand dryers
    • Dries hands completely in 10-15 Seconds
    • Uses 80% less energy than conventional dryers
    • Save 95% vs. paper towel costs
    • Greenspec® Listed, LEED® Credits
    • it's available here in Rochester Hills Green Electrical Supply

Leading Change

The learning curve for adopting change

Techniques for introducing change into a work environment (in this instance, considering the switch from water bottles to refrigerated tap water and compostable cups): (see change chart)

Change is not one thing, but a process.

  • Awareness: There will be people who are unaware of the issue with water bottles, perhaps even of the fact that there is a fridge at Social Club. As a leader, it is your job is to make it easy to do the right thing, harder to do the wrong thing. Help people to become aware of the issue (bottled water) even before you have an answer to the problem. You're just preparing them to change and you're answering the big "WHY" question. You can say, "In our business, we are socially responsible; that's part of our mission." Also, the big "WHAT" question: "Here's a plastic bottle - our goal is that we don't have any of these going into the trash."
  • Understanding: The "HOW" and the little "whats." How are we going to eliminate the bottled water? Why do we have to move the refrigerator? Why do we need to get growlers and compostable cups? What about the food we store in the fridge? You don't have all the answers, but you're bringing people along with you on the journey.
  • Trial: Make this trial as small as possible, because it should be well thought out and easy to do. "Let's try this out for one week. If there are any complaints, I want to be the first person to hear about it." You could use board or sheet of paper that people could write on to voice opinions, concerns or complaints. People tend to bail out during this trial process. Make sure to let people know that during this trial process, there will be problems, because there always are in anytime you try to effect change and try something new. Let them know that they can tell you right away about any problems they encounter.
  • Habit adoption: Over time, the trial becomes a new habit. Be sure to have feedback loops. Also time for continuous change and improvement. As you work with a new habit, you'll discover that something can be tweaked and improved upon.

Other things to think about:

  • Not everyone in Sebastian's business will be in the same part of this process at the same time. Some will still be in the awareness phase, others in adoption phase.
  • You don't want to be doing this as the only leader. Bring Steven or others along to be change leaders. The early adopters within your organization can be change leaders. They can help to create the social pattern that facilitates change.

What to do with individuals who resist this change and don't want to adopt it?

  • In general, in any change process, 1/3 of the group are with you, 1/3 will initially be unsupportive, 1/3 will be in the middle and won't want to commit right away.
  • Target all general communications to the middle group to help sway them toward adoption of the change. * What about the 1/3 who resist? Meet with them individually, one on one, privately. You say to them that as a community, you are moving forward - this is not up for debate. What is up for debate is how you do it, so you invite them to share any of their ideas. Ask them to explain to you what their concerns are so they are heard and they are understood. If person is unhappy because their idea has not been adopted, invite them to help work through the next change that you will be working on.
  • Be clear about the criteria that you are using to form your decisions.
  • Get people involved early on as part of your change team. Let them know that there is a way that they can provide input and that they will be heard.
  • If necessary, go slower so that people can get to the adoption phase. Don't introduce too many new ideas right away.

Remember: Sebastian is getting these people ready for the future in which these kinds of practices will be the norm. They are pioneers!

Idea: Put a change adoption chart in back room and post projects on it showing where they are in the process. This can also be a place for people to offer up ideas for things to consider. Have individuals as champions of other projects i.e. foil, water, etc., like Steven is champion of the Junk Mail project. People will be invested and excited about pushing things through the adoption phase.

Techniques for Adopting Change

Techniques for Adopting Change


  • Define the principles and values you will apply to the entire process
  • Dialogue
  • Observation
  • Numbers
  • Stories
  • Identifying the embedded leader - who in the group might have the potential to be a team leader? Who's is excited about this?
  • Prioritize (big "WHAT")
  • Bridge: Explain the big "WHY"


  • Listening
  • Measuring
  • Research
  • Explain
  • Process (lite) - high level process, planning stage
  • Responsibility (personal - what is that going to mean to me?)
  • Identifying relevant learning materials - books, websites, other resources, videos, examples of others doing something similar
  • Build your community for change (local business/people, finding skilled resources)
  • Prioritize again (little "whats")
  • Fact vs. fiction - sorting out assumptions

  • Bridge: SET YOUR GOALS


  • Think small (minimally viable task)
  • As is (where are we today?) vs. what will the "new" be?
  • Define scope
  • Involvement (how to involve team in the trial - inclusiveness)
  • Lesson learned loop - continuous improvement starts here
  • Measure and observe effects of trial process
  • Feedback - what are people saying about the change?
  • Responsibility - (What is required or expected of me?)
  • Model the new behavior
  • Set expectations - failure is ok, as long as it = learning
  • Safety review
  • Bridge: Stable process/stable results (predictable)


  • Celebrate success
  • Report results (transparency)
  • Responsibility (assign long-term responsibility for various tasks)
  • Checklists
  • Diagram the process (simple and on one page)
  • Share information
  • Opportunity for continuous improvement - version 2.0
  • Method/process for non-adopters
  • Share and empower others - show them what you're doing, what's happening now.
  • Minimum of 3 months consistently
  • Awareness of ripple effects.
  • Keep a list of 2.0 ideas

How to know when change has been fully adopted:

  • What level are you at? (do you have water available above 90% of the time? Complete one cycle and try to get it up to 98%)
  • Is the documentation of the process is down for everyone to be able to learn from?
  • Measurement - do you know how to talk about specifics related to your change?
  • Broader ownership of the change: Does it still happen if you're not there?
  • Stories of adoption - non-measureable parts of this. It is socially expected that people will act within this change.

Change adoption curve as of Nov. 2012:

Where we are on the change adoption curve!

Energy Usage

Electric bills come to Social Club from WSU. The bills have been incorrect, so Sebastian must contact Derek Donnellon (WSU) - 3 questions:

  1. Where is the meter located?
  2. What is it metering?
  3. How is the Social Club billed?

Trying to make sense of the utilities bills, Adrienne developed this spreadsheet to help us get a better picture of what is being billed.