I’m on a product review hiatus while moving into a new salon. I plan to start buying more trial packs and finding more workshops once I’m settled in there.

In the meantime, let’s have fun figuring out how to do stuff in our salon to be more socially responsible and pleasing to some of our largest generation client age groups, although some polled care more about it than others.

Recycling is important to me because my parents built the house they were going to retire in during the late 1980’s, then had to sell it because a tri-county dump was zoned to open down the street from their house. so I’ve been hellbent on recycling ever since.

Clients, you can benefit from this post too with things you can do at home to make your house more eco-friendly.

And I don’t mean doing nutbag stuff like composting diapers and not wearing deodorant. That level of eco-catlady status we’re steering clear of. I mean things that are easy and are on your regular routine for doing things anyway.

When we choose to opt for socially responsible practices and products, eventually our entire culture changes and it becomes the norm.

Ok so since waterless manicures and pedicures are better for you for a number of reasons, they are the ones I will use in this example to see what we do and do not have to toss out with the trash.

What steps do you do to figure out what you actually have to throw out?

  1. Make a list of all the stuff you use for services, including containers for supplies that eventually empty.
  2. Find out what you can have taken to be recycled for free by your county
  3. Find out what you can drop off to be recycled for free
  4. Find out what’s left from what your county will take and find a company that will take some more items for a fee.
  5. Put the remaining items after all that in the trash.

So, how exactly do you find out what can be recycled, and what has to go into the trash? This is how I found out, and you can apply this to anything you do that involves putting anything into the garbage. You’ll be surprised how much doesn’t have to get tossed, or be a pain in the ass to recycle.

These are the items I need for my highest priced service planned for my down the long road salon, the Exclusive Pedicure  at $80 for 90 minutes of service. This is the service that would use everything in my imagined arsenal:

Let’s not forget the containers for the supplies, since that will eventually happen during a service:

  • Cardboard boxes supplies were shipped in
  • Bubble wrap supplies were shipped in
  • Receipts sent with my supplies that I scanned in or have electronically when I  ordered them
  • The gallon container of acetone whenever that empties
  • Bottle that holds the foam cleanser whenever that empties
  • Bottle that holds the cuticle remover lotion whenever that empties
  • Bottle that holds the callus remover solution whenever that empties
  • Nail polish bottles whenever they empty
  • Nail bonder bottle whenever they empty
  • Brush on nail gel bottles whenever they emptyThat’s a lot of crap that can go into the trash everyday. Mother of God!

Ok so after making the list of stuff to dump for a service, I checked what my county would pick up from my work and recycle for free. Hello, service for all those taxes I pay? You betcha.

Here’s what they pick up, which is common throughout the States:


PAPER newspaper, craft paper, shredded paper, phone books, paperback books, magazines

PLASTIC #1–#7 plastics, detergent & cleaning containers, milk jugs, soda bottles, water bottles

CARDBOARD paper towel cores, cereal boxes, cardboard boxes

ALUMINUM beverage cans, backing tins, food cans

OTHER METAL steel food containers

GLASS clear glass, green glass, brown glass



  • aerosol cans
  • aluminum foil
  • batteries
  • diapers
  • light bulbs
  • needles or syringe
  • mirrors or ceramics
  • paint
  • sanitary products
  • scrap metal
  • stickers and address labels
  • styrofoam and paper to-go containers
  • tissue, paper towels or napkins

Looking at this, these items from my list will be taken at the curb to be recycled: 

Cardboard boxes

Bubble wrap

Receipts sent with my supplies that I scanned in or have electronically from ordering them (after shredding it)

The gallon container of acetone

Bottle that holds the cuticle remover lotion whenever that empties

Bottle that holds the callus remover solution whenever that empties

1 oz disposable containers with lids

Soap container for sanitizing the metal tools whenever that empties

Envelopes for the autoclave

Workstation disinfection spray bottle whenever that empties

Nail bonder bottle whenever they empty

Nail polish bottles whenever they empty

Brush on nail gel bottles whenever they empty

Items still left over that I can’t recycle with the county for my services:

  • Towels
  • Nitrate gloves
  • Washcloths
  • Nail wipes
  • Nail file (disposable)
  • Cuticle nippers
  • Cuticle pusher (steel)
  • Nail Clippers
  • Foot file stick on pads
  • Paraffin wax
  • Gallon plastic bags for the paraffin
  • LED lamp
  • Paraffin gauze strips

So now what?

This is where most people want something easy to do and not get cat-lady crazy about it. I am one of those people. I have shit to do, but I don’t want to be a jerk and dump things that I know full and well that are recyclable.

I learned from this website that the paraffin plastic bags can be taken with your grocery store plastic bags in those bins you can find at your grocery store. You can find the drop locations by zip code. Since I have two little kids, I go to the grocery store every couple days anyway. I really, really hate using plastic stuff so I was very happy to learn this!

For the very rare times that I would want to recycle my LED lamp, my county will take them too, but at a drop off location. This is like a once a year or so thing, so I think I can swing that.

I did a few searches and found companies here and here that will take the rest of this stuff for a fee except for sharps or flammable items. It includes shipping; all you do is put in the stuff that they’ll take and send it off, and then get another box to fill. This seems worth it because the items left to send are really small, so the box would take a while to fill up. It’ll take a long time for the hand towels and washcloths to wear out too instead of using paper towels, which no one takes

The service said they will take these items for me:

  • Nitrate gloves
  • Towels
  • Washcloths
  • Nail file (disposable)
  • Foot file stick on pads
  • Paraffin wax
  • Paraffin gauze strips

This leaves these three items:

  • Nail wipes
  • Cuticle pusher (steel)
  • Cuticle nippers
  • Nail Clippers

That really isn’t bad! Honestly the last three aren’t thrown out each service. There are local knife sharpening services available, but I don’t think they do tiny blades like the ones on nippers and clippers.

Here’s a company that sells pushers/nippers/clippers, and whenever they get dull you just send them back to be resharpened, so I think after my current sets kick the bucket I’ll get those. Mehaz has won multiple professional awards as well; when I buy some I’ll review them for you.

What have you done to have your salon become more eco-friendly?