POTSDAM — A hair salon owner on Maple Street in the village is looking for other area beauticians and barbers willing to collect customer trimmings as part of a national effort to use human hair to sop up the growing oil spill off the coast of Louisiana.

Sara J. Myers, owner of Lifestyles Salon, 53 Maple St., says there is nothing hair-brained about the idea.

“We’re not just doing hair, we’re doing our part to save the planet,” Ms. Myers said.

Ms. Myers said she started thinking about ways to be a good community citizen after reading an article several months ago in American Salon magazine. She said the trade journal posed a question to salon owners: “What are you doing to give back to the community?”

She said she already donates hair to the Locks of Love program that uses clippings to make wigs for cancer patients, and more recently realized that the oil spill off the Gulf Coast was another opportunity to make a difference.

“I found the organization Matter of Trust that is collecting hair … and it seemed like the perfect way to help out,” she said.

The Matter of Trust website, www.MatterOfTrust.org, claims the hair recycling idea follows in the footsteps of China’s 3,000-year-old system for reusing hair, fur and wool in the country.

Ms. Myers said here in the United States, hair is now being used to create oil booms that can encircle a spreading slick and soak it up before it reaches shore and creates more environmental damage.

She said thousands of years of human evolution has made human and animal hair the perfect environmentally-friendly oil-fighter.

“It’s organic, you’re putting it back into the earth and doing something good with it,” she said. “Hair naturally absorbs oil; that’s why we have to shampoo.”

Ms. Myers said she has already teamed up with Hairitage House, Massena, to begin collecting hair for the oil effort in Louisiana and wants to hear from others willing to donate.

She said more information on the local effort can be gleaned from her Lifestyles Salon Facebook page, or by calling her business directly at 265-5170.

Ms. Myers said she will pay for the cost of shipping hair donations to the Gulf Coast region.

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