Dawn Giovannucci often wonders how she can help. This time, she’s doing her part by holding on to something she usually throws away. Ms. Giovannucci, owner of a local dog spa, is collecting the hair and fur that falls to the floor after she grooms a canine, boxing it up and sending it to a warehouse.
By Priyanka Dayal TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
Dawn Giovannucci often wonders how she can help. This time, she’s doing her part by holding on to something she usually throws away.
Ms. Giovannucci, owner of a Northboro dog spa, is collecting the hair and fur that falls to the floor after she grooms a canine, boxing it up and sending it to a warehouse. There, volunteers will use the fibers to make hair booms, which will be sent to the Gulf of Mexico to help soak up some of the crude oil that has been gushing from an underwater well since April 20.
It’s part of an effort led by Matter of Trust, a San Francisco-based ecological public charity. The group is asking people around the country to donate fur, wool, hair clippings — from pets and humans — and pantyhose. When the fibers are stuffed into nylon stockings, made into so-called booms, they can quickly soak up oil.
Just like hair on human heads collects oil, reminding us to shampoo, hair absorbs dark, dense crude oil. Still skeptical? Look for Matter of Trust’s demonstration videos on youtube.com. The organization has been using this method to help clean up oil spills since 1998, according to its website.
The nonprofit has collected donations from all 50 states, from hair salons, barber shops and wool farmers. Hundreds of thousands of pounds of hair and lots of pantyhose have been donated. (Pantyhose can be donated even if they have small runs or tears.)
When the materials reach the many temporary warehouses along the Gulf Coast, volunteers turn them into absorbent booms.
Ms. Giovannucci, owner of A Diamond in the Ruff, a grooming salon and day care facility for dogs, heard about the charity on a doggie day care online chat group. She signed up immediately.
“After the dogs are bathed, we use the clipper on them, and a lot of (the hair and fur) falls on the table,” she said. “I’ve always thought there’s probably something you can do with all this hair.”
Ms. Giovannucci, whose salon grooms up to 10 dogs a day, is collecting about one large box of hair per week and shipping it to a warehouse. UPS picks up the boxes at no charge, she said. She is paying only for postage.
“I’m going to keep doing it until they don’t need it anymore,” she said. “I’m going to tell all my friends about it.”
Oil company British Petroleum is overseeing the cleanup of the massive spill off the coast of Louisiana. BP has tried different ways to stop the leak, but so far most attempts have been mostly ineffective.
Some experts have said the size of the spill may be much larger than the previous estimate of more than 5,000 barrels (or more than 200,000 gallons) per day.
President Barack Obama has called the spill a “potentially unprecedented environmental disaster.”
To help the cleanup effort with hair booms, visit Matter of Trust’s online database, www.excessaccess.com.