Barbers, hair stylists, pet groomers and farmers are among the many small businesses across the country helping to fight the unprecedented oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Believe it or not, human and animal hair can be transformed into mats that are used to soak up oil. One pound of discarded hair can soak up a quart of oil in 60 seconds.
Matter of Trust is a non-profit organization driving this unique effort. The organization is collaborating with thousands of salons throughout the U.S. and abroad that are donating their hair clippings.
A salon owner and entrepreneur from Alabama, Phil McCrory, is the brain child behind the use of hair to absorb oil. According to the organization, McCrory was watching news coverage on the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill and he noticed the fur on the Alaskan otters completely soaked with oil. He began testing how much oil he could collect with the hair clippings from his salon. Ultimately, his experiment led to the invention of the hairmat — a device that uses nylons stuffed with the hair. (keep this in mind for oil leaks in your garage.)
If you’d like to get your small business involved, you can register on the Matter of Trust web site prior to sending any hair. After registering, the organization asks you to follow these directions.
– set aside a designated box
– line it with a plastic garbage bag
place clean hair into the bag
- all types are accepted whether
straight, curly, colored
– tie top of the bag and tape the box shut
mark box debris free hair / fur or nylons