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Banff hair salon cuts green path forward in Zero Waste Trailblazer awards

“Any chance that we have where we can make a different choice where it is more environmentally responsible, we try to do that,” said Pam Traut, owner of Beatnik Hair Salon.
Beatnik 2
Colourista Anne Steggalls of Beatnik Salon. EVAN BUHLER RMO PHOTO
BANFF – Beatnik Hair Salon is cutting a green path forward.

The local hair salon on Bear Street was one of eight organizations recently given a Trailblazer award in early March as part of the Town of Banff’s Zero Waste program, which aims at empowering businesses to help eliminate garbage going to landfill by the year 2050.

The owners strongly believe the beauty industry doesn’t need to be wasteful, and they are pioneering the way forward by showcasing creative alternatives for how a salon experience can be sustainable, including recycling hair.

“Any chance that we have where we can make a different choice where it is more environmentally responsible, we try to do that,” said Pam Traut, owner of Beatnik, which opened in Banff two-and-a-half years ago.

Beatnik’s zero waste efforts include a bulk refill shampoo station at five per cent less than the retail price, using 100 per cent compostable hair colour bowls, purchasing hair products with recycled ocean waste plastic packaging, and partnering with Green Circle Salons, which specializes in recycling any remaining salon waste, including hair.

Other sustainability efforts in the salon include "eco head" showerheads to reduce water usage and a towel sorting system that reduces energy consumption from laundry.

“From the get-go, we wanted to be more environmentally friendly and we’ve partnered with other organizations in the industry to help us,” Traut said.

“There isn’t a single part of the salon that isn’t untouched by one of our initiatives.”

The Town of Banff launched the Zero Waste Trail program in 2019 to help restaurants, hotels and other organizations reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. The municipality’s goal is to divert 1,500 tonnes of waste from landfill ever year – that’s enough to fill almost six football fields.

The other organizations to be recognized at the recent awards include the Banff Centre, Banff Park Lodge, Balkan Restaurant, Wild Flour Café, Moose Hotel and Pacini Restaurant, Fairmont Banff Springs and Park Distillery.

At least 65 per cent of Banff’s waste going to landfill comes from the commercial sector – and almost 50 per cent of that waste is food.

The eight organizations were selected based on 10 categories and 20 certification criteria relating to waste reduction and diversion practices, measured results, and related environmental protection initiatives.

Banff Mayor Karen Sorensen said she is grateful to these organizations for their work and dedication to reduce Banff’s impact on the environment – locally and globally.

“The world expects Banff to be a leader in environmental protection,” she said.

“These businesses are demonstrating that we can deliver if more organizations follow their leadership and commit to waste prevention, reduction and diversion strategies.”

The Zero Waste program invites businesses and institutions to register with the Town of Banff for a free consultation and assessment of procedures, training, and infrastructure and diversion measurements. Call the Town of Banff at 403-762-1132, or email [email protected] to do so.

As part of this program, businesses are provided advice, mentorship from other leading businesses, free signage and training resources, and suggestions for cost-saving strategies.

For a full rundown on the Trailblazer award winners, go to