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article imageHelp with the Gulf oil spill by cutting your hair

By Stephanie Dearing     May 7, 2010 in Environment
This green and renewable method to combat the oil spill that is spreading across the Gulf of Mexico is donating your cut hair. Why? They can work on booms and floating mats to soak up the oil.
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill and its devastating consequences has horrified thousands upon thousands of people, many of whom are too far away from the Gulf to actively help with the clean-up efforts. But now there's a way everyone and their pet can help fight the oil spill.
Hair trimmings are being collected from salons across North America and being sent to the Gulf to aid in fighting the oil spill.
How do hair clippings help? This solution to fighting oil spills comes courtesy of an observant Alabama hair stylist named Phillip McCrory. McCrory noticed the fur on otters had absorbed oil after the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Intrigued, McCrory began to experiment with hair clippings to see how they could be used to fight oil spills, and he came up with booms and floating mats that effectively soak up the oil.
In fact, McCrory has patented the hair mat, and while they are manufactured in China, he has allowed Matter of Trust to launch a green employment program making the mats.
Matter of Trust, a non-profit environmental organization was founded in 1998. The organization mainly facilitates matching people with projects. The organization also takes hair clippings from both humans and animals -- so yes, even your pet or livestock can assist with fighting the oil spill -- turning them into booms to contain oil and mats to soak up oil. Matter of Trust said "Thousands of pounds of hair and nylons are coming in by UPS and FED EX from every State in the US and from Canada, Brazil, France, UK..." Those so inclined can also send in nylons, which are used to make the booms.
Matter of Trust describes the hair-to-boom program, saying "... Boom B Q's (boom making parties) are cropping up all over the Gulf and now in other states as well. The booms will be stored in donated temporary warehouse spaces all up and down the Gulf Coast. IF BP and UNIFIED COMMAND need more boom, the Gulf Coast residents, and the donors from all over, will have provided an unprecidented support, supply of materials and volunteer hours, for their assistance!
Matter of Trust does not condone untrained residents touching the oil! Leave that to the protected HazMat professionals. What we are all orchestrating is a NATIONAL FIBER RECYLING SYSTEM. Hair and Fur are more effective than deployed fiberglass and petroleum fiber based boom materials. The hope is that the industry engineers will take this up and run with it!
We do not believe that it makes sense to drill oil to make products that clean up oil spills, when we are throwing away hundreds of thousands of pounds of natural, renewable fiber each day that is far more effective and could easily be recycled and used for this purpose."
Which begs the question -- how effective is hair at absorbing crude oil?
MSNBC reported that McCrory's invention was tested by NASA, and the results -- yes, hair does work on sopping up crude oil. Not only do the hair booms work, but the environmentally-friendly oil spill clean up tool can also be re-used. McCrory told CNN in 1998 that one pound of hair could gather up a gallon of oil in about two minutes.
The best part about using hair? It's a renewable resource.
Hair mats have been used to help clean up oil spills in the Philippines and San Fransisco.
Petco, an American pet grooming company, announced Friday it began shipping pet hair to help with the Gulf of Mexico oil cleanup effort.
Hair is being collected from salons across North America, and beyond. Other salons are welcome to participate. Matter of Trust provides would-be donors with emailed information about the nearest place to donate hair, but to receive the information, people must SIGN UP.
More about Hair clippings, Gulf of Mexico, Oil spill, Matter trust, Booms
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