Gulf Oil Spill: Hair today, gone tomorrow?

by Brandon Richards bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC-TV) – As residents living along the Gulf shore are forced to stand by, paralyzed and powerless, as the oil slick creeps closer and closer to the coast, a possible solution to the crisis is on the minds of many---quite literally!

Turns out, a few snips of hair is a simple and easy way to help clean up oil spills.

San Francisco-based environmental public charity Matter of Trust has been using hair to help clean oil spills since 2000. Most of the oil spills the organization has helped clean up occurred along the San Francisco Bay.

The non-profit encourages salons and barber shops across the country to mail in hair that's normally thrown away. The hair is then collected and made into hair mats, which are then used to make booms. Booms are highly absorbent tools that help contain oil spills.

Matter of Trust is currently organizing in temporary warehouses along the Gulf Coast to help out with the oil spill. To donate hair, salon owners must first register using the organization's donor database, Excess Access. The organization will then contact salon owners through email, informing them on where they need to send their boxes of hair.

Hair Gallery salon owner Joann Rogers just learned about the program and plans on signing up as soon as possible.

"I thought it was a great idea," said Rogers. "We often wonder what to do with hair. We just throw away the hair everyday … and so to think that we can save it and it can save the Gulf would be wonderful."

Across town, barber Sandra Fontenot of Family Style and Salon also plans on participating. Sandra says it's the least she can do to help out her fellow Louisianans.

"If we can help, we need to do it," said Fontenot.

Both Rogers and Fontenot said they cut pounds and pounds of hair in their salons each week. According to Matter of Trust, one pound of hair can absorb one quart of oil.

In addition to hair, Matter of Trust also accepts donated nylon stockings, which are used along with hair to help make booms.

For more information about Matter of Trust, click here.

To sign up as a donor, click here.

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