SEMINOLE – A pair of Pinellas County businesses have joined in the battle to halt spilled oil in the Gulf of Mexico before it has a chance to reach the beaches and other environmentally-sensitive areas.
The Man Trap of Seminole, 13177 Park Blvd., and Doggy Doos Pet Salon and Boutique, 7231 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, are donating hair and fur clippings, respectively, to the Hair For Oil Spills program by San Francisco-based Matter of Trust, an ecological public charity formed in 1998.
Matter of Trust collects the hair donations at various warehouse locations around the nation and sends it to needlepunch factories where the hair is transformed into hair mats. From there the hair mats are stuffed into recycled nylon stockings to make booms that are used to help contain and soak up oil spills.
Businesses locally are sending their hair donations to a warehouse in Venice.
“I heard about it on the news,” said Nina Bond, office manager at Man Trap. “I did a little research on the Internet and decided if there was something we could contribute it would be a good thing for our beaches.”
James White, owner of Doggy Doos Pet Salon, was researching ways to help out with the oil spill and found Matter of Trust.
“I imagine once people find out about this, they’ll want to be a part of it,” White said. “We collect two to three pounds of fur (clippings) per day. We’ve got probably 20 pounds that we’ll stuff in a box and ship.”
White, who lives in Causeway Isles near Treasure Island, said he and his wife felt the need to help in whatever manner they could and the Matter of Trust oil spill program fit the bill.
Bond said she hopes all area hair salons get involved in the program.
“If other salons in the area do it, we could combine it and split up the cost of shipping,” she said.
Bond said a neighboring CVS Pharmacy is donating boxes for the shipments.
Carol Proulx, manager of the Man Trap, said the 31-year-old business has always been civic oriented and involved in efforts for charitable causes, like American Cancer Society’s Locks of Love program, but admitted “this is kind of unusual for us.” Under normal circumstances, the salon staff would be sweeping up the clippings and throwing them away.
Hairdresser Rolande Krehbiel said the staff is happy to participate because “it’s always exciting to be involved in something like this.”
Matter of Trust founders got the hair mat idea from the Ottimat, a similar hair mat invented by Phil McCrory, a hairstylist in Huntsville, Ala.
Using hair mats for bioremediation of oil spills uses the hair constructively while reducing the amount of landfill waste, McCrory wrote in a recent online news article.
Human hair doesn’t absorb oil but clings to it. Hair mats can be reused.
For additional information on Matter of Trust or to make a hair donation, visit www.matteroftrust.org, e-mail email@example.com, or call 415-242-6041.
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