HairMats: Not Just Another Hair-Raising Stunt – Giving U™

Victims of an oil spill

Victims of an oil spill

September 8, 2009 – California, USA

I wanted to cut my hair for a few months now but I’ve held off until I had at least the 10” needed so I could donate my cut hair to Locks of Love. As I visited the site in preparation for my shearing, I read that the organization doesn’t take bleached hair, which includes hair with highlights (um, who doesn’t have highlights?). Bummer.

So I started researching alternatives for my chopped off ponytail and discovered Matter of Trust and their “Hair for Oil Spills Program.” Intriguing…  

Matter of Trust is a nonprofit organization that works with thousands of salons throughout the U.S. and abroad to collect hair clippings. These clippings are then used to help soak up oil spilled by wayward tankers. Just so you know, in 2008, there were more than 2,600 oil spills around the world. While they weren’t all high profile, most had a negative impact on the environment.

Hairmats before & after (with mushrooms to help them  decompose)

Hairmats before & after (with mushrooms to help them decompose)

Phil McCrory, a hair stylist from Alabama, first discovered how hair can help the environment when watching CNN coverage on the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. Phil noticed the fur on the Alaskan otters completely soaked up the oil. He began testing how much oil he could collect with the hair clipping from his salon. The result was a new invention: the “hairmat.” [/caption]

The U.S. has more than 300,000 hair salons and each cuts an average of a pound of hair per day.  So if you’re a stylist or own a salon – pay attention! You can also participate as individuals or pet owners. Check out the Matter of Trust web site to find out how to donate your (or your pet’s) hair.


Some “Hairy” Facts

 Every year, an estimated 706 million gallons of oil leak into our oceans:

  • • By far the greatest source of spilled oil is households.
  • • Used motor oil accounts for 363 million gallons dumped in our oceans!
  • • 50% of Americans change their own motor oil, but only 1/3 of that oil is collected and recycled.
  • • Routine ship maintenance and washing shipping containers accounts for 137 million gallons of oil in our oceans.
  • • Air pollution contributes 92 million gallons.
  • • Natural seepage of oil bubbling up from the sea bottom contributes 62 million gallons
  • • Large spill accidents add an additional 37 million gallons.
  • • Offshore drilling deposits more than 15 million gallons of oil waste into our seas.

Volunteers using hairmats to clean up Ocean Beach, CA

Volunteers using hairmats to clean up Ocean Beach, CA

To read more about oil spills and their affect on the environment, and other ways to keep our oceans healthy, check out these web sites:

Save the Bay  (San Francisco Bay Area)
  Sign up to volunteer and
become a member today
                                                  — I did!

This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 9th, 2009 and is filed under Hot Orgs.

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