COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – BP has accepted a boom made from human hair collected from Columbia salons to help with the oil spill clean up, the environmental group Matter of Trust announced Wednesday.

More than a dozen Midlands salons have already pledged donations to the Collins & Lacy “Hair-to-Spare” campaign to help the cleanup efforts in the Gulf Coast. This is the first citywide campaign to collect hair for the oil spill.

Between now and next Tuesday, Collins & Lacy is encouraging all Midlands hair salons to fill designated garbage bags with hair clippings. The clippings can be stuffed into booms and sent to help absorb an estimated five million gallons of leaked oil in the Gulf Coast.

On Tuesday, May 25, salons are encouraged to bring the bags of hair to 1330 Lady Street, the designated drop-off site in Columbia. From 5:00pm–7:30pm, contributors will be able to drive up and drop off the bags of hair, which Collins & Lacy will then package and ship to Matter of Trust.

“South Carolinians always step up when help is needed,” said Gray Culbreath, managing partner of Collins & Lacy. “Even though we are miles away, this is one way we can lend a hand. Collins & Lacy wants to make it as easy as possible for salons to get hair to the Gulf. That’s why we’re offering to collect it and ship it on behalf of the citizens of the Midlands.”

Hair efficiently adheres to oil, which is why hair gets greasy, according to officials with Matter of Trust. The non-profit organization for the past 10 years has been making hair booms, which are nylon stockings stuffed with human hair and trimmed animal fur.

“Booms will lie along the beach, the waves will come up, and they’ll go through the hair and the nylon,” said Lisa Gautier, co-founder of Matter of Trust. “And the hair will grab the oil and then the wave goes back out and it’s cleaner.”

Here are the guidelines for salons wanting to contribute to Hair-to-Spare:

  • Set aside a designated box.
  • Line the box with a plastic garbage bag so hair cannot escape.
  • Any length is fine.
  • Every type of hair is fine (straight, curly, dyed)
  • Put the hair clippings in the designated bag, but be sure not to include other garbage, such as bobby pins, foils or wrappers.
  • Tie the top of the bag with several rubber bands to ensure it is sealed.
  • Nylon stocking donations are also accepted. The nylons can be washed, used or contain runs. The nylons will need to be kept in a separate bag.