Hair clippings can be a valuable addition to a number of planet-positive processes and so it is incredibly important to make sure it is not just thrown away with the rubbish. Read our article How hair can be made useful again to learn more. In this article, you will learn about all of the ways Green Salon Collective transforms hair waste into unique products that are beneficial to the environment and our industry!

When salons use GSC to dispose of their hair waste they can be assured that it will be “recycled”, or rather reclaimed as a valuable material for a number of products as you will see below. We provide bins with which to separate hair from all other waste streams. This ensures that things like contaminants do not leach onto hair making it less useful or non-compostable.

Hair booms. We all know that hair absorbs oil--we’ve all had oily hair at some point! It was this realisation that led to the concept of hair booms. It was an American hairdresser, Phil McCoy, who in the 1990s came up with the idea of using hair to stop the spread of oil in the sea.

“Phil had been washing an oily head of hair while watching CNN coverage of otters covered in petrol during the famous Exxon Valdez accident in Alaska. It occurred to him that he was cutting fiber that could be used to soak up oil spills.” (Quote from Matter of Trust.)

A hair boom is made from hair cuttings of any length or colour that are tightly packed into cotton or nylon tubes. When placed in either water or on the shores of beaches, these booms will stop oil (e.g. from an oil spill) from spreading, saving wildlife and the natural landscape.

Some of the hair we collect will be turned into hair booms. We do not outsource the making of this product. This is an in-house recipe and we will be the first provider of hair booms in the UK.

Fun fact: We are applying for approval with the Marine Management Organisation.

Hair mats. These can be used in a similar way to the booms. They can be used on land, parks, gardens and even your street or driveway. Hair mats can be used for oil or water and we have already seen great results when used by plumbers, mechanics and in local parks.

Composting. Hair is rich in nitrogen and so is a great addition to compost. GSC has working relationships with an industrial sized composting facility here in the UK as well as with local farmers and gardeners who are happy to accept the material. Thus, that which your clients leave behind can be used to grow better tomatoes and mangetout and coriander.

This article was written for Green Salon Collective by MeetthefiveRs

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References and further reading

MeetthefiveRs’ article, Green Salon Collective: Circular disposal solutions for salon waste

Little Princess Trust’s website

Banbury Postiche Wigs UK website

Bloomsbury Wigs Hair Harvest website

Cancer Research UK’s article, Hair donation and wigs

Electrek’s article, How Mauritians are using human hair to try to curb the giant oil spill

Matter of Trust’s Clean Wave Program

Science Alert’s article, Could Human Hair Be Used to Clean Up Oil Spills?

Science Daily’s article, NASA Tests Hair-Raising Technique To Clean Up Oil Spills

Cover photo by mostafa meraji on Unsplash

Stephanie Hodgson

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