Hair could be answer to Gulf oil spill

CHARLESTON, SC - By Sheldon Dutes  bio | email | Twitter

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Your next trip to the barber shop or hair salon could help the oil spill in the Gulf Coast. According to Matter Of Trust, a 501 non-profit, the hair can be used to absorb oily or greasy surfaces.

Jennifer Robinson-Maschke, a stylist at Salon 61 in West Ashley, SC, was inspired to get involved in the donation program after talking with a friend who lives along the Gulf Coast.

"I wanted to help. So, I googled ways to help and the Matter Of Trust non-profit web site popped up," said Robinson-Maschke.

If it's clipped, snipped or shaved, the non-profit wants it. Matter Of Trust encourages barber shops, salons and even pet groomers to donate their left over hair clumps to help clean up the oil spill in the Gulf Coast.

So far, they've collected more than 400,000 pounds of donated hair.

"Everybody needs a haircut. Everyone gets their hair cut. It just seems like something really simple that will make a big impact," Robinson-Maschke said.

I was a little skeptical about the whole process and conducted my own experiment of sorts. According to Matter of Trust's web site, the donated hair will be stuffed into nylon stockings or made into mats before being plunged into the disaster region.

I stuffed a clump of hair into a nylon stocking and dropped it into a container with water and oil. After approximately five minutes, the hair clump had actually absorbed most of the oil in the container.

According to Robinson-Maschke, the donation process is simple.

"All we do is sweep it up, put it in a plastic garbage bag and ship it to Matter Of Trust and they use it to help with the oil," she added.

Salon 61 has a large packing box tucked away near the shampoo sinks, which they hope to have full before they make their donation.

Salon customers like Jack Walker say they're proud to be part of the salon's ambitious efforts.

"I was born and raised on the Gulf Coast and my entire family lives there now. A lot of my friends own water related businesses and they're very concerned. Anything I can do to help is great," Walker said.

Robinson-Maschke says it's all about paying it forward.

"Our staff has been blessed and we're doing our part to help others in need. This could have easily been Charleston," she said.

For more information on hair donations click here.

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