Big Hairy Nylons Help Save the Ocean

The oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico is on my mind.  For over 3 weeks, an estimated 200,000 gallons of oil are leaking into the water.  Daily.  I think of the fish, the fowl, the fishermen, and how tragic this is for our eco-system.  There are over 400 wildlife species being threatened by this disaster, including whales, tuna, shrimp, birds, and even land animals.

picture of hair booms

Nylon Hair Booms: Photo courtesy of www.matteroftrust.org

As of the writing of this blog, there is still oil tumbling into the ocean.  Scientists and concerned citizens have been offering solutions to the problem, ranging from non-functional to somewhat helpful. Even as the leakage still exists, many people are focusing on how to clean up the mess left behind.  This solution is one of my favorites.

Recycled nylons and hair.

I recently read an article on the BBC website that interviewed Lisa Gautier, co-founder of Matter of Trust, an ecological public charity, who is coordinating the effort of collecting hundreds of thousands of pounds of hair daily.  This hair then gets stuffed into recycled nylon tights to create gigantic booms (or “hairy sausages”) that soak up the oil as it comes ashore.  Hair is very efficient as a magnet for oil.  Gautier explains that each follicle of hair has an enormous surface area that the oil sticks to.  This is why we shampoo our heads.

Much of the hair is being donated from hair salons, although it is also coming from dog groomers, alpaca and sheep farmers, and horse owners.  Social media outlets are being used to get the word out, and Facebook is providing constant updates on this endeavor.  This technique is being backed by the world’s second largest oil boom manufacturer, Applied Fabric Technologies.

So far, it has been a global effort, with hair coming from France, England, Spain, Brazil, Australia, Canada, and the US, and new shipments are coming in daily.  An army of volunteers are assembling these booms and getting them out to clean-up crews.

See how it works (and read some scary statistics):

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwQOD_Ir2vQ]

To me this is brilliant.  Why throw away what can be used to help clean up one of the biggest messes in our ocean? I recently sent the list of donation instructions to three of my friends who own hair salons. One of my friends is a school teacher, and is making this a school project!

In my humble opinion, there should be NO hair thrown away anymore.   It should all go towards this effort.  If we ever want to clean up the damage we’re doing to the ocean, we need to pitch in and fix the mistakes we make.

For more information see:

www.matteroftrust.org

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8674539.stm

http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/gulf-of-mexico-oil-spill

Big Hairy Nylons Save the Ocean

The oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico is on my mind.  For over 3 weeks, over 200,000 gallons of oil are leaking into the water.  Daily.   I think of the fish, the fowl, the fishermen, and how tragic this is.

Scientists and concerned citizens have been offering solutions to the problem, ranging from helpful to questionable.  But this solution is one of my favorites.

Nylons and hair.

I recently read an article on the BBC website that interviewed Lisa Gautier, co-founder of Matter of Trust, an ecological public charity, who is coordinating the effort of collecting hundreds of thousands of pounds of hair daily.  This hair then gets stuffed into recycled nylon tights to create gigantic booms (or “hairy sausages”) that soak up the oil as it comes ashore.  Hair is very efficient as a magnet for oil.  Gautier explains that each follicle of hair has an enormous surface area that the oil sticks to.  This is why we shampoo our heads.

Much of the hair is being donated from hair salons, although it is also coming from dog groomers, alpaca and sheep farmers, and horse owners.  Social media outlets are being used to get the word out, and Facebook is providing constant updates on this endeavor.  This technique is being backed by the world’s second largest oil boom manufacturer, Applied Fabric Technologies.

So far, it has been a global effort, with hair coming from France, England, Spain, Brazil, Australia, Canada, and the US, and new shipments are coming in daily.  An army of volunteers are assembling these booms and getting them out to clean-up crews.

To me this is brilliant.  Why throw away what can be used to help clean up one of the biggest messes in our ocean? I recently sent the list of donation instructions to three of my friends who own hair salons. One of my friends is a school teacher, and is making this a school project!

In my humble opinion, there should be NO hair thrown away anymore.   It should all go towards this effort.  If we ever want to clean up the damage we’re doing to the ocean, we need to pitch in and fix the mistakes we make.

For more information see www.matteroftrust.org.

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Katie Hill

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4 thoughts on “Big Hairy Nylons Help Save the Ocean

  1. Katie,
    Excellent post! And scary dilemma!! Agree, if hair can help, by all means. A local kennel club is collecting hair and I have two big dogs that were recently groomed (by moi) so time to empty the shop vac and drop off at the club. Heard on NPR this morning that there is no way they can have too many booms made for the Gulf region.

  2. Great post Mrs. Hill. Maybe we can use hair balls from puppy and kitty? Then we’ll have eco-friendly pets!

  3. Kari- Way to participate with your tons of dog hair! I figure it’s the least we can do. Every day the mess seems worse, and I like feeling like I can help.

    Nick- If the pets keep shedding, they will be able to donate an ENTIRE boom:)

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