Our ecological public charity concentrates on
Manmade Surplus, Natural Abundance,
Clean Wave – Donate Hair, Fur, Fleece
You shampoo because hair collects oil! Hair, fur, fleece clippings, and feathers soak up oils from the skin, air pollution, ocean oil spills…
Matter of Trust established the Clean Wave program to collect hair clippings and other waste fiber donations. We produce hair mats and “booms” (sausage shape), and coordinate with large-scale public efforts to clean contaminated water ways and storm drains. This program provides the public with safe, non-hazardous, hands-on, volunteer empowering solutions, and green jobs to help combat major oil spills and common motor oil contamination of waterways.
Check out the press coverage of Clean Wave, including articles from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal: Recent Press
How to get involved:
If you are interested in donating fibers to our Clean Wave program, first sign up on our free gift/wish matching system Excess Access: (even for a one time donation) under Recyclables (hair). You will be contacted to send directly to a spill depot, a classroom or our nearest mat felting site.
For Clean Wave FAQ and information on donating, please click here.
In 1999, Lisa Gautier, Matter of Trust founder and President, began a partnership with Phil McCrory, a hair stylist and inventor from Alabama. Years earlier, Phil had conceptualized using donated human hair clippings to soak up oil spills while he was washing an oily head of hair and simultaneously watching CNN coverage of otters covered in oil during the Exxon Valdez oil spill. There are over 370,000 hair salons in the US and over 200,000 pet groomers, they each cut about 2 pounds (1 kilo) of hair / fur per day. These fibers can be felted into mats or stuffed into recycled pantyhose to make environmentally friendly “booms” and “waddles” which soak up oil.
On November 7, 2007 a cargo ship named Cosco-Busan accidentally hit the San Francisco Bay Bridge and spilled 58,000 gallons of Bunker C fuel. Within 48 hours, Matter of Trust coordinated efforts with hundreds of volunteers to place booms and mats along San Francisco’s Ocean Beach.
Because we were on the beaches of San Francisco we were uniquely situated to sort the clean up materials debris and conduct an experiment remediating the oily hair waste from the Cosco Busan spill. At the Presidio National Park, we were able to begin by treating the oily mats using oyster mushrooms, then thermophilic composting, and finally vermiculture (worms) to turn the hazardous, bunker fuel waste into healthy compost over 18 months (see study here: Hair Mat Remediation Study). Composting is a viable alternative to conventional methods used for disposal of oil spill waste (for more information on composting visit our Global Compost Project). Haz Mat teams are legally responsible for oil spill waste disposal, which is typically incinerated or buried in lined landfills marked “hazardous waste.”
In 2010, Matter of Trust initiated a huge mobilization to gather waste fibers and make hair booms for the BP Deepwater Horizon Gulf Coast Spill. 19 Warehouses – spread along the Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida coastlines – received hair, fur, fleece, and nylons from donors of every zip code in North America and 30 other countries. Thousands of volunteers signed up to make booms and help the Gulf Coast. Many hosted “cut-a-thons,” “shave-a-thons” and “Boom B Qs” to collect donations and stuff nylons. These booms were mostly used in Alabama and Florida. Huge thanks Amanda Bacon, Yente Sehman, Barbara Johnson, Daisy Suduran, New Orleans Ritz Carlton Salon, Ingrid Setzer, Hanes Inc., and many more! Visit these links for more information and photos.
In 2013, Matter of Trust opened their Eco-Center in San Francisco, California and expanded the Clean Wave exhibit and lesson plans.
In 2014, Matter of Trust partnered with Inlet Guard and FeltCrafts. InletGuard works with storm drains and did a pilot study in Garland, Texas where they tested using hair mats to soak up motor oil and collect small debris from street runoff by placing them in storm drain cages. With FeltCrafts in New Mexico, the Clean Wave program is currently felting donated loose waste fibers and funding research to design and manufacture more affordable, needle punch felting machines for local employment initiatives and small businesses. Collecting waste fibers could be the new “paper route after school job.”
Our goal is to divert waste fibers into useful stockpiles, create replicable, sustainable green jobs, and manufacture renewable material products that clean our waterways.
EPA letter to Phil McCrory Oil Spill Hair Mat inventor