Rinse, trim, recycle

Seela Larabee

Photo By serena cervantes

Seela Larabee doesn’t own any ordinary salon; she’s a stylist with eco-style. At SeelaDavid Salon, hair clippings as well as foil used to color and highlight hair are recycled. Larabee also encourages customers to bring in their old nylons; pairs with runs and holes accepted, as long as they’re washed. Located at 2044 Palm Ave., across from S&S Produce, Larabee’s salon is cute and inviting—not just for those seeking a haircut or a manicure, but for Chicoans who are environmentally conscious.

So what’s this green concept all about?

We strive to make a difference—every cut, every color, every time. A lot of people want to donate their hair to make a difference, but they can’t donate their hair without growing it out for two or three years for Locks of Love. I found a nonprofit organization called Matter of Trust, and they take all hair clippings. It doesn’t matter what size or condition they’re in—all of it. And they make it into special hair mats.

The hair mats are used to clean up oil spills, and the animals affected by them, all over the world. The hair mats can be washed and reused up to 100 times. The hair mats are also a great source of protein for soils; they reduce water evaporation by 50 percent, and they reduce the need for chemical herbicides and fertilizers.

We also use a ton of aluminum foil. Aluminum is a precious resource and it’s 100 percent recyclable. Most recyclers won’t take it because of the chemical hair color in them, but we did find a company, local, that was willing to take them as-is and recycle them. It’s Chico Scrap Metal.

Anything else you recycle?

I also have a paper shredder behind me. Every piece of paper goes into the shredder and gets recycled—cardboard, plastic, everything that we can recycle. Some weeks we don’t even take out our trashcan—we don’t have any trash; we just take out our recycle bin.

We also accept donations of clean nylons. What they [Matter of Trust] do is they double them up and they shove them with hair, and they can surround an oil spill in the ocean and keep it from going any further.

What motivated you to do this?

Last summer my daughter wanted a new bike, one of those beach cruisers, but she already had a 10-speed. So I told her, “Well, save your money … you probably need about $100.” She was kind of upset, but she got busy and started thinking, “I’m going to recycle cans.” She started going around all over the neighborhood and gathering up people’s cans, and that summer she had enough money to buy her bike. I was really proud of her.

When we first decided to buy the salon, I was like, What’s going to get people to want to come to me? There are 200 salons in town; what’s going to make one stand out from another one? I was taking out my daughter’s recycling and it hit me: I need to go greenthis is Chico we’re talking about.