Condo Blues: I Donated My Hair to Clean Up the Gulf Cost Oil Spill

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I Donated My Hair to Clean Up the Gulf Cost Oil Spill

When I grew my hair long I had every intention of cutting it off and donating my hair to Locks of Love, an organization that makes wigs for kids who have lost their hair.

I never managed to meet all of requirements when it came time to cut my hair.  I didn’t want to just send it in anyway because children's wig charities have to throw away thousands of unusable donated ponytails each year.

Not enough hair for a child's wig, but enough hair to donate to clean up an oil spill

Instead, I decided to donate my hair to Matter of Trust for them to weave into hair mats that are used to mop up oil spills.


Hair attracts oil and repeals water. They weave it into hair mats or stuff it into old nylons to make boons that are used to clean up oil spills. The good thing about using hair is that they can rinse the mats or boons and reuse them. Makes sense once you see an otter’s fur covered in oil.

Donating my hair to clean up an oil spill might be the most crunchy hippie treehugger thing that I’ve ever done. However, I think it’s important given the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. And besides, what I am going to do with my hair once it’s off my head anyway? I could recycle my hair by putting it in compost bin or I could sprinkle my hair in my flower bed to deter deer from eating my plants. However Blitzkrieg keeps the compost bin filled with dirty fur and I don’t have a deer problem.

What I do have, along with all of my American readers, is a horrific oil spill problem in the Gulf of Mexico. Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner! They get to recycle my hair.

It’s kinda like my Gift of the Magi to the environment.

I imagine that even the most hardened not so hippie treehugger person watches the news about the oil spill and sees the thousands of people who depend upon the ocean for their livelihoods and wishes that they could do something to help. You can. Get a hair cut. Get your kids hair cut. Heck, take your dog to the groomer and get their fur cut and donate the clippings.

Here are the guidelines if you’d like to donate your hair or old nylons to be made into hair mats and boons to clean up oil spills. Obviously there is a great immediate need to help contain the Gulf Coast oil spill. Matter of Trust takes hair donations on an on-going basis, not just in times of emergency.

You can do a one time donation of your own hair or you can get a hair salon or dog groomer involved and make on going donations. The company that makes the hair mats also sells them to organic farmers to use to suppress weeds in their fields as an alternative to harmful chemical fertilizers.

Here are the hair donation guide lines.

  1. Your hair must be shampooed and dry. 
  2. Any length of hair and every type of head hair is fine (straight, curly, all colors, dyed, permed, straightened) 
  3. Every type of dog fur/waste wool is fine as long as it is clean. 
  4. Your donation does not have to be bundled in a ponytail or braid. Just sweep in all clippings, without other trash such as gum, metal clips, etc. and put it in a plastic bag inside a box for shipping. 
  5. They also accept washed, used/with runs nylon stocking donations to make the boons. You can put these donations in a separate bag in the same box with your hair donation. 
  6. They also accept other natural fibers such as horse hair, dog fur, feathers, and waste wool.
When I got my hair cut, I told my hairdresser that I wanted to save the clippings to donate to Matter of Trust. She didn’t think it was weird but I get my hair cut in one of the crunchier parts of the city. She only asked if she had to bundle my hair into a pony tail and cut it off – the answer is no. 

My hairdresser washed and cut my hair as usual. When she was finished she swept up the hair clippings and put them into the empty bread bag I brought with me for that purpose.

I signed up with Matter of Trust. They emailed me the address where I should mail my donated hair. Since there is an emergency oil spill clean up they are sending hair donations to be made into boons to multiple points along the Gulf Coast. If you donate now you will most likely get a different address than I did.

I trooped down to the Post Office and mailed my package. Easy!

In case you’re wondering, here’s the new ‘do.

Have you ever donated your hair to a worthy cause? Have you even considered it?

Update 5/5/10: I got an email from Matter of Trust (I'm on their mailing list now because of my donation) that said that Hanes is donating a bunch of nylons to be stuffed with donated hair and made into oil soaking bones to help clean up the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill. Very cool. Neither organization is  paying me to mention this. I saw it and thought you might want to know.

This is my post for the Green Moms Carnival, which is all about transportation hosted by Big Green Purse  Monday, May 10, 2010.