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Home > Feature Articles > Fashion for Eco-friendly Design & Manufacturing

Donate Hair to Clean Up Oil Spills

Hair is THE most efficient material for absorbing oil -- that's why we have to wash it so often!

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Reuse of Hair Clippings for Oil Cleanup

Hair is THE most efficient material for absorbing oil -- that's why we have to wash it so often!

Mats of human (and pet) hair, which naturally acts as a sponge to absorb oil from air and water are being used with oil spills, plant nurseries and more.

In the recent Calfornia oil spill, the hair mats were used to soakup the oil, and then volunteers added mushrooms, which absorb the oil over a 12-week period to turn the hair mats into nontoxic compost.

Hair Salons Divert Hair Clippings for Recycling

Hair salons generously send their swept up hair clippings to a recycling depot in California provided by St. Vincent de Paul's. This partnership program combines reuse, micro-economy and ecological oil spill clean up. Salons have free access to the Excess Access database which catalogs the postage donations and emails receipts for the recycled hair donations.

There are over 370,000 hair salons in the US and each cut about one pound of hair a day! Matter of Trust does the outreach for the program through posters in salons and media PR. Posters also are also available that include information about how hair is also a slow protein release and excellent fertilizer for flower growers. For more information on hair as fertilizer please see Smart Grow.

Use Quality Hair Care Products before Donating Hair

Your donated hair needs to be clean! You might consider learning about toxic-free hair care products while you are learning about donating your hair for the oil spill cleanup... by reducing the petrochemicals in our shampoos, mouse, sprays and colors, you can reduce the need for all that deep sea drilling for oil!

Reducing the need for oil is the best strategy for reducing oil spills!

Your hair care product choices can make a difference. Organic shampoos and hair care is a good start. Ask your salon what products they carry that are toxin-free. One good way to reduce unwanted chemicals is the old rule, "if you can't pronounce it, you don't want it (on your skin...or hair)!"

Ask your hair salon to carry quality products that will protect your hair, and your scalp...and brain that is a fraction of an inch below your scalp! Your request for solutions makes a difference in what your hair stylist carries.


Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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