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Home > Green News > Editorials > HOT Green Business Ideas

Gulf Oil Spill Solutions with Hair and Fungi

Turning oil contaminated hair booms into soil is part of a cradle to cradle solution to help clean up the shores of the Gulf of Mexico following the oil spill.

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Cleaning the Gulf oil spill will take many months and even years to remove residue from sand, rocks and yes, wildlife.

One solution that has been applied along California's coast is the use of hair and fur in mats and "booms" to collect the oil from the water, and then dispose of the contaminated hair in ecologically safe way. That's where fungi comes in.

Mushrooms / fungi are nature's transformation masters -- their growth process sends powerful chemicals into the materials to break them down into soil components.

"The roots of mushrooms, called mycelium, produce enzymes that unlock wood fibers, which are composed of strings of carbon-hydrogen molecules in the form of cellulose and lignin. Similarly oil and most petroleum products are held together by these same molecular bonds. The mushroom mycelium breaks these bonds, and then re-constructs the oil into carbohydrates, fungal sugars, that make up the mushroom's physical structures."

Matter of Trust, a San Francisco ecological recycling organization and Paul Stamets of teamed up to research and test a method to dispose of the oil booms used for removing the oil from the water. They found a method that converts the oily hair into soil.

How You Can Help with Hair, Pantyhose and Manpower

Citizens are pitching in across the country by getting their own hair and their pets buzz-cut and saving the "clean hair" for transport to the Gulf states where beach cleanup will be required.

Go to Matter Of Trust and REGISTER to participate in this hair, hose and manpower drive. Hair salons, alpaca owners, llama owners, pet grooming shops, and neighborhoods are getting together to help collect clean hair and fur, help donate for shipment funds, and provide manpower to stuff the hair into booms.

This is a great grass roots way you can help... it won't handle 500 barrels a day... but it will help clean up the beaches, the wildlife, and sensitive wetlands, etc. Every animal saved is a step in the green direction!

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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| gulf oil | oil spill | matter of trust |

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