Two zebra-patterned brooms sit in the corner of Marcie Hartung’s Wink Salon in Jeannette, ready to sweep up clippings for a can labeled “Hair for oil project — no garbage.”The specially marked trash can has been propped on a stool for two weeks, ever since Hartung began participating in a program that uses hair clippings to create booms and mats to soak up spilled oil.She will send the hair to Matter of Trust, a San Francisco-based organization that has collected hair and fur from salons, groomers and farms across the country since 2000.

Hartung said she heard of the organization before the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

“I wanted to do it a long time ago, and this last incident just pushed me into it,” she said.

On April 20, BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded off the coast of Louisiana, killing 11 workers and rupturing an underwater pipe that is spewing millions of gallons of crude oil into the gulf.

Hair is adsorbent, which means oil clings to it — not absorbent, which means it soaks it up — and shampoo is designed to wash away those oils.

From the salons, hair is sent to warehouses in locations near the gulf and stuffed into recycled pantyhose to form the booms. Matter of Trust hopes to string the booms together to help capture oil reaching the shores of Louisiana and other states on the Gulf of Mexico.

Hartung said she has collected two garbage bags of hair in two weeks and plans to continue the project indefinitely.

According to the website for Matter of Trust, about 2,600 oil spills occur each year.

The organization estimates that each of more than 300,000 salons in the United States collect about one pound of hair each day.

As Hartung cut client Sheila Cherry’s hair Wednesday, the Manor resident said she is glad to contribute even a small amount of hair.

“This horrible disaster is occurring, and you feel like you can’t do anything about it,” Cherry said. “It’s a little dent, and it makes you feel like you’re doing something worthwhile.”

Hartung said she hopes to get other salons in the area to donate hair to the organization.

Another client, Leanna Benedetti of Hempfield, said Hartung’s attitude is sure to inspire involvement.

“If anybody can muster support, it’s Marcie, because she’s enthusiastic,” Benedetti said. “Even if it’s not in our back yard, it’s too close for us not to be involved.”

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