The problem with foil

Published by Denise Baden 29/03/2018

The problem with foil
By Danielle Mills

There still is no magic solution to the issue of recycling foil – or if I’m wrong, email us on

At the moment in the UK the vast majority of our councils won’t collect dirty foil to recycle. In order for salons to recycle foil here they would need to rinse the colour off before disposing of it which isn’t really a viable option for many salons as the majority of a junior’s time would be spent rinsing foil because they go through so much.

Potential long term solutions could be:

1. The councils agree to collect dirty foil for recycling

2. Using a different material to colour hair that is sustainable and replaces foil, much like Easydry have done with towels.

3. Or there is an opportunity to set up a business to address this issue. For example in Australia a company called Refoil collect foil from salons and recycle it to make foil for the hairdressing industry. They put a lot of resources into educating learners in colleges.

On a more positive note, as trends have changed and moved towards more natural looking colour I would imagine that foil usage has dropped as balyage/babylights and root shadowing are key colour trends that either don’t require any foil, or very minimal amounts when compared to traditional highlights. Cotton wool and spatulas are used more often with these colour techniques, spatulas tend to be made out of plastic but are reusable. Promoting different trends and equipment that reduce foil usage could help to raise awareness amongst learners and inform them of alternatives but most hairdressing qualifications require you to pass a full head and, a half head of highlights that would either rely on foil or Easimeche (made from plastic) so you would still struggle to offer a viable solution for this waste stream.