Your tresses or even your dog’s fur could help mop up the catastrophic oil mess in the Gulf of Mexico.
Multiple hair salons and pet grooming studios across Southwest Florida are joining a nationwide effort to collect the clippings to make booms that will absorb oil spilling into the Gulf.
Matter of Trust, a nonprofit recycling operation based in San Francisco, started an Internet campaign to gather the locks soon after the Deepwater Horizon spill.
The group has already collected about 500,000 pounds of hair, fur and wool from around the country, according to its website.
Volunteers stuff the hair into pantyhose and then wrap the pieces together with plastic mesh to create long, floating absorbent booms.
Matter of Trust came about after a hair stylist from Alabama was watching television coverage of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill and then studied how hair could sponge or mat up oil.
Yellow Strawberry, which has salons in Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch, and its partner, Fashion Focus Academy on Gulf Gate Drive, began collecting and donating the cut hair that falls on their floors last week.
Richard Weintraub, a salon co-owner, said they have already collected nearly 80 pounds of hair from the three sites.
“We’re actually telling clients that within three weeks parts of them will be floating in the Gulf,” he said.
Some non-clients have even been dropping off their hair or pet hair at Yellow Strawberry, he said.
“Donating hair is an easy way to help for those who cannot financially support the cleanup,” he said. “A haircut is something you’ll do every five to six weeks anyway.”
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