When oily hair is a good thing
Salon collects clippings for oil-absorbing booms
BY MANDY MILES Citizen Staff
Haircuts can help the oil spill, and at least one Key West salon is now saving its oil-absorbing clippings.
Julia Jabour, owner of Infinity Salon, 126 Simonton St., will send her clippings to Matter of Trust, a nonprofit organization that makes oil-absorbing booms by stuffing clean human hair and animal fur into recycled pantyhose to create oil booms that help contain a spill. The hair and fur from pet groomers also is woven into absorbent mats for beach cleanups in the wake of an oil spill.
Alabama hair stylist Phil McCrory discovered the helpful properties of hair while watching news coverage of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989. He noted that people use shampoo to rid their hair of excess oil that collects at the follicle. McCrory then tested the absorbent properties of hair by pouring motor oil in his son’s splash pool and mopping it up with hair stuffed into a pair of his wife’s pantyhose.
The experiment worked and a new recycling method was born.
The charity now accepts donations from hair salons and pet groomers all over the world, and has received nearly half a million pounds of hair and fur since the April 20 oil-well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico that now potentially threatens the Florida Keys.
“We’re in a position now, as a salon, to help,” said Jabour. “It’s time for the Keys to come together; and this is a small opportunity for salons to pick up the hair they cut and donate it to collect oil.” Jabour said she is offering half-price discounts for “large donations” of hair. “And for men, every little bit helps,” she said.
Infinity employees are saving the hair clippings in plastic-lined boxes and will send their donations to Matter of Trust. Jabour said she plans to save the hair from now on, even when the current oil spill crisis is over. Matter of Trust warehouses the donated hair and manufactures mats and booms in preparation for the next spill. For more information, visit http://www.matteroftrust.org or call Infinity Salon at 305-296-6767.
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