Saturday, May 22, 2010

I'm making a hair appointment.

It's pretty much summertime, right? And seeing as I haven't had a trip to a salon since early in my second trimester, and my almost-seventh-month-old baby has taken to literally pulling my hair out (it's no fault of his really-- my long locks are everywhere even in a ponytail at this point), it's time. For new hair.

I'd love to say that the above is the actual impetus for making this hair appointment, but it's not. I'm going to make a hair appointment for an entirely different reason:

The BP Oil Disaster.

At this point, most people know about the devastating amount of oil spewing into the ocean toward the coast of the southeastern United States, and most people are aware of how terribly long the clean-up process will be. It's hard for any authority or specialist to truly assess the damage or quantity of materials needed to rectify or protect the coast right now because the oil "spill" is still going. You can watch it live here.

What does my hair cut have to do with the oil spill?
You can use hair to help contain and collect oil! I never knew this until one of my sisters mentioned it to me, and wow, how cool it was to discover just how this process happens. And I have to say, when disaster strikes, you can sometimes feel so small. Doing something little like donating some or a lot of hair to help can be quite empowering. (That feeling of empowerment is a big part of why I donated milk for Haiti, too.) With summer hair cuts on the horizon, I think this would be a great way to do good as a family, too-- a totally teachable green effort moment for kids and parents alike.

Matters of Trust

I went the old-fashioned way and googled "oil spill hair," and my search results brought me to Matters of Trust, an organization dedicated to reallocating unneeded resources from businesses, individuals, etc., for creative reuse. Matters of Trust runs a specific program dedicated to collecting human and animal hair to create hair mats and booms to collect oil. Oil spills are not a new problem, and statistics show that millions of gallons of oil spill ever year-- in other words, donating my hair to help collect oil is something I could have already been doing, and it is something I can continue to do in the future.

Here is a Matters of Trust video illustrating how the hair gathers oil...

Amazing, right? It makes sense-- our hair is heavily able to carry oil; we shampoo our hair for this very reason. So why not send off that shampooed, oil-ready hair to help out right now? You can help protect wildlife, rectify a disaster, assist the fragile Louisiana economy, etc. etc.

Here are the directions on how to collect your hair for Matters of Trust:

1. You have to register with Matters of Trust and mark that you are interested in participating in their hair mats for oil program. Do this here.

2. Matters of Trust will e-mail you information on the process and the address to ship your hair. Follow your e-mailed directions! (I am currently waiting on mine.)

3. Collect your hair.

- Line the box with a plastic garbage bag so hair (and fur, fleece, feathers) can't slip out

- Ideally, donate shampooed hair, but it doesn't have to be. Just don't include filthy hair / fur that has stuff stuck to it.

- Any length is fine. (I think I might snip a tiny piece of my baby's hair just so I can tell him later he sent his hair to the oil spill. I think that would be cool.)

- Every type of hair is fine (straight, curly, all colors, dyed, permed, straightened...) but only HEAD hair, please! Yes, dread locks are okay to send - although we find they have fungus inside when cut open - so please separate in their own bag and mark "DREADS". They are handled separately. :)

- Sweep in all clippings, JUST HAIR, but please NO OTHER GARBAGE (gum, metal clips, paper cups, wrappers...)

- Remember volunteers (sometimes young students) have to stuff this hair into booms and don't want to feel garbage or anything sharp

- Tie the top of the bag and tape the box shut

- We also accept washed, used (even with runs) nylon stocking donations in a separate bag, please.

- We also accept fur and other "natural fibers" waste wool, alpaca fleece, horse hair, feathers... again, please, no other garbage or contaminants in with the hair/fur/ fleece fibers... (a handful total per bag of hay and seeds are ok, but no garbage and, of course, absolutely no poo!) Thanks!


- Mail boxes in to the address(es) we provide you by email AFTER you sign up (free and fast).

And that's all, folks! As always, I'll keep you posted on the process.


  1. Gullo's in Medford is actually collecting all of their hair right now and donating it! Cuts down on extra waste in packaging! Also...I've heard that they haven't started using this in the BP oil disaster, but they do use it in much smaller oil spills. Don't know why they're not using it, but several other brilliant people are also coming up with ideas to collect the oil, and BP is having no part in actually rectifying their stupid mistakes.

  2. What a great idea and unlike locks for love, I could do it with any hair cut, not just a major one. I think I just might join in!

  3. Cool! I heard about this last week while listening to a listener sponsored radio show on KPFA.org. I wasn't sure if this was an avenue that was actually being considered though. Thanks for sharing - and kudos to you for your efforts. Peace. :)