Oil spill cleanup hair donation

Visiting your hair salon or barber shop in the next couple of days? You can ask them to help in the Gulf of Mexico BP oil leak disaster cleanup effort by donating hair clippings. Yes, hair.

Matter of Trust’s Hair Mat Oil Spill Program is asking barbers and hairdressers to send hair clippings to the group who will use the hair to fashion sausage shaped hair “booms”. The booms are then tied together and used to contain oil slicks.

According to the group, there are over 370,000 hair salons in the US, collecting an average of 1 pound of hair a day! What usually enters the waste stream can make a lot of oil booms to help the Gulf oil slick crisis.

Matter of Trust has been receiving hair not just from the USA, but from from all corners of the world, including Australia. Trucking companies are donating their services and along the Gulf Coast new harbor depots are being temporarily donated to this cause.

The effectiveness of hair in mopping up oil spills was discovered in 1989 by Phillip McCrory – not a scientist, but a hair stylist. He was inspired to try hair after witnessing the terrible effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. His back yard wading pool experiment change the way oil spills have been tackled since – it seems that hair is much more effective than many other synthetic and natural substances.

Even if you aren’t going in for a cut in the very near future, perhaps you could call or email your hairdresser/barber to let them know about the initiative. The organization is also accepting waste wool and fur from pet grooming services and also nylons/panty-hose/stockings to be used to make oil boom casings.

You can learn more about the Hair Mat Oil Spill Program here.

I just emailed the folks who cut my hair, so hopefully perhaps a bit more in the way of Aussie hair clippings may be headed to the Gulf soon. If you get your hairdresser or barber involved, please feel free to give them recognition using the comments feature below.


Effects of oil spills