Help with hair

Clippings being used to soak up oil.

photo courtesy of

The Gulf Coast oil spill has been called one of the United States’ worst environmental disasters in decades, and it continues to threaten the coasts of Louisiana and Florida. While BP is picking up the costs of the cleanup, nonprofit group Matter of Trust, based out of San Francisco, is doing its part to help the effort. The group is organizing what it calls an “international natural fiber recycling movement,” basically a massive collection of hair—both human and animal—that will be stuffed into nylons and placed in the water. As it turns out, hair is an excellent medium for oil absorption. All salons, veterinarians and farmers are encouraged to join the cause by collecting clippings and sending them to the Gulf. Individuals and schools can participate as well. Here’s how:

• Log onto and go to the “instructions page,” where you can sign up as a donor.

• Salons, vets and farmers, start collecting hair clippings. Schools and individuals, lobby your salon, vet or school to start a collection. Pre-made fliers can be found on the Matter of Trust site.

• Line a large cardboard box with a trash bag and fill it with hair—not trash.

• Mail the box to the address provided in your confirmation e-mail.

• New or clean, used nylons are also needed, so if you don’t have hair to donate, consider sending your old stockings.