On the 18th of October 2023, Sustainable Salons team members William Choi and Anuj Dhawan attended The Circle Awards AUS & NZ 2022 Winner’s Announcement in the heart of Carriageworks Sydney at a sustainability-focused bar called Re:

A mix of excitement and nerves filled the air as the finalists gathered around the bar, talking shop about their contribution to the circular economy. From sustainable packaging, children’s stories, and refillable soda stations, to electric vehicles, reusable flowers, and inclusive mental health, the range of solutions to our modern problems was plenty, and everyone who had gathered that night not only talked the talk but truly walked the walk.

With the golden sun calmly setting in the distance, the crowd turned their attention to the Founder of The Circle Awards, Nick Hoskin who provided an inspiring speech about making a difference, and how, no matter what, everyone was a winner because everyone was collectively contributing to the betterment of the planet. Their impact, no matter how big or small directly contributed to the mission of sustainability, and that was the only thing that really mattered.

With no further adieu, the winners were being announced, and Anuj and William looked at each other in glee, their hearts racing at a hundred beats a minute. With three nominations across B2B, Material & Processes, and Shape Shifter, they had high hopes of winning at least one category to take back to the team and celebrate our milestone.

Re: Bar as the awards started to be announced

And the winner of B2B is…” said the MC with suspense while William and Anuj held each other, fingers crossed, “SUSTAINABLE SALONS!”.

They cheered in unison, as the audience roared into a thunderous clap, and William quickly took to the stage, congratulations from everyone around. He took the award, posed for the camera, and as quickly as he had come onto the stage, he was ushered off, even before a speech or thanks as the awards had to keep flowing.

William outside with the first award – Business-to-business

Anuj and William were more hyped than ever and awaited the next nomination.

And the winner of Materials & Processes is….SUSTAINABLE SALONS AGAIN!!”, the MC said in disbelief. The crowd roared once again, astounded by our unlikely second win. Anuj and William cheered again at the incredible moment we were both experiencing for the team, for their Sustainable Salons members, the ponytail donors, our partners, and all the conscious salon visitors that we represented. Anuj took to the stage this time around, and accepted the award in spectacular fashion flicking his hair while a smile as he posed for the cameras.

Anuj and William with second award – Materials & Processes

All the hard work that the company had put in over the last 7 years to be able to divert more than 1.2 million kgs of Salon resources away from landfill and put it back into the circular economy, creating meaningful jobs for the differently-abled, creating closed-loop products like oil spill adsorbing hair booms, feeding over 207,000 hungry mouths by donating all the proceeds made from our resource recovery efforts straight to OzHarvest and KiwiHarvest, and turning over 187,000 ponytail donations from donors all across Australia and NZ into medical wigs for those with medically induced hair loss, all came together in that singular moment of validation.

Validation from not only the hair and salon industry, but the entire circular economy as a whole, that the company was on the right track, and provided the fuel to motivate the team to continue to provide even more value to the world. The judges were all on the ground across the circular economy doing the work, and so their vote carried greater value to the win.

Satisfied with the two awards, Anuj and William eagerly awaited the announcement of the Shape Shifter award where our brilliant founders Paul Frasca and Ewelina Soroko were up for nomination.

And the winner of Shape Shifter is…Melissa Gilbert from UnitePlayPerform!”, the MC said as Anuj and William deflated their chests and congratulated Melissa for the amazing award she has just received. While they had hoped for a trifecta, they were grateful to have won two awards, let alone one, and with satisfaction and gratitude at front and centre, the two team leads felt at peace.

We have a final award called the Judges Choice award,” said the MC, “which any of the finalists here tonight has the chance to claim. But before we do that, our sponsor Polestar would like to say a few words…

It was the classic “‘revealed 30-seconds after this’ ad break” and Anuj and William had regained hope that Sustainable Salons could be the final winner.

The Polestar Strategic Advisor Andy Marks, came up to the podium, and clicked next on the screen hoping to see his speech, when instead the slide show revealed the winner…


Anuj and William looked at each other, and the entire crowd looked at them, in shock and in awe at this huge win, that had prematurely been revealed. Anuj and William did a victory dance on the spot as the speech continued until Sustainable Salons was finally revealed as the Judges Choice award recipient.

Anuj and William with all 3 Wins alongside The Circle Awards Founder Nick Hoskin

The rest of the night was filled with a never-ending chain of congratulations to Sustainable Salons and Sustainable Salons to all other winners and finalists, as Anuj and William became micro-celebrities for a fleeting moment in time. They found new potential partnerships with many attendees and felt hopeful that the future was truly bright.

3 HUGE awards in one night were truly a mind blowing milestone for the team who truly couldn’t have done it without the beautiful Sustainable Salons members, donors, conscious consumers, and partners who ensure that the mission to Make Sustainability Reality continues to live on every single day. So from the Sustainable Salons team, a BIG thank you to everyone that’s a part of our program. Whether you’ve been here since day one, or if you’ve just come on board, you are all a part of the collective impact of making sure we have a better tomorrow and helping the planet reach sustainability today and in years to come.