Recycling Hair to Protect Marine Life

Hairmat Inventor Phil McCrory with Matter of Trust Founder & Director Lisa Gautier

Last year there were over 2,600 oil spills worldwide. Not all of them made headlines, but all of them had an effect on the environment. Hair loss recycling organisation, Matter of Trust, based in San Francisco, California, has been recycling hair for seven years. The not-for-profit group collaborates with salons in USA and abroad to make use of their cuttings and then converts the hair into Hairmats that can be used to soak up oil from spillages.

Hair stylist Phil McCrory, from Alabama, first discovered how hair could help the environment in this way while watching the news coverage on the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. He noticed that the fur on the Alaskan otters was soaked with oil but the waters around them was completely clean. He started testing how much oil he could collect with hair clippings from his salon, which led him to invent the Hairmat which, as well as being reusable, also has other sustainable uses it provides a slow protein release which works as a natural fertilizer.

Recycled Hair Can Be Used To Make Hairmats - Used To Soak Up Oil Spills & As FertilizersHair dressers collect on average about one pound a day of hair clippings. It takes a pound of hair to make a Hairmat that’s a foot square and half an inch thick. This can soak up a ‘quart’ of oil in one minute & can be wrung out and used a 100 times, as long as there’s no sand in it.

Matter of Trust will take any type of hair: straight, curly, permed, straightened, dyed, processed… but their website states, ‘HEAD hair only hair please’.

When you don’t wash your hair, what happens? It gets oily quite quickly. This is because it collects oil from the air, your skin and water, so it makes the perfect natural alternative to synthetic oil spill products. (Hair is adsorbent which means oil ‘clings to’ it, rather than ‘absorbent’ which means ‘soaks up’) As well as human hair, fur, horse and waste wool can be used. Human hair is better if it is shampooed but pet hair does not have to be washed (though not filthy).

Volunteers on Ocean Beach, San Francisco, Laying Hairmats to Soak Up Oil SpillsPOTENTIAL
It could save marine life which is exposed to oil spills, and encourages people to take an active role in recycling. The potential is huge with over 300, 000 salons in the USA, and countless more worldwide, each collecting one pound of hair a day - ie. a lot of Hairmats. Pet salons can be a big help too by donating their daily clippings.

There are certain conditions that lead to sudden hair loss in humans such as the autoimmune disease alopecia areata. While in up to 70% of cases the hair can grow back on its own, in some cases it can lead to alopecia totalis (no hair on the scalp) or alopecia universalis (complete hair loss on the scalp and body) - in which case you may wish to consider hair donation to an organisation such as Matter of Trust ( If you are suffering from alopecia areata there are proven hair loss treatments available that may help prevent further hair loss and restore your locks.  

Here at the Belgravia Centre we have a team of experts with over thirty years combined experience in treating a wide range of hair loss conditions in men and women. If you would like a free consultation, please call 020 7730 6666 or message the clinic. Alternatively, you can complete an online diagnostic form and a treatment advisor will contact you to discuss your case in more detail.

More Information:
Alopecia Areata: A Summary of Treatment Options
Alopecia Areata Treatment Success - Total Regrowth
Alopecia Areata Treatment Success: "The big patch of hair loss has gone and I've got my confidence back"

Interesting Articles:
Fundraising for Alopecia: Climbing Mount Elbrus
Wikipedia says there's no known treatment for Alopecia Areata, is that right?
Dealing with Alopecia Totalis and Universalis

Copy of New Street Ground Floor Reception 1 no pink nail polish

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