Hair clippings could help coast avert an oil spill disaster - - The News for South Mississippi

Hair clippings could help coast avert an oil spill disaster


By Danielle Thomas – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - If you need a little trim, but have been putting off going to the barber, now there is a way to look good and help with the Gulf oil clean up. A California based non-profit organization turns donated hair clippings and nylon stockings into booms capable of soaking up oil. 

Local salons are jumping on board. The owners say people can donate their hair and not feel helpless. Tanya Spencer often goes to Just Your Style salon in Gulfport for a shampoo and cut.

As the water flowed through her hair, she thought about the oil spill threatening the Gulf waters her parents depend on to make a living.

"They've actually been shrimping for about 35 years, so this is really affecting them because that's their sole income," said Spencer. "We really can't do anything to help them. We don't know what to do."

Stories like Spencer's led Salon owner Tracy Panter to jump at the chance to collect hair clippings and used hosiery for Matter of Trust.

"What Matter of Trust does is they actually take the hair and weave it into mats that are very effective actually picking up and collecting the oil," said Panter. "The stockings are actually stuffed with the hair and they're actually made for containment booms to keep the oil slick from spreading. "

Chuck Kelly also runs a salon in Gulfport. He said he knows the frustration of wanting to help protect the coast but feeling helpless.

"We don't own boats. We can't get involved that way, but this is our home," said Kelly. "We're all fighters. We've all proven that. We've been through so much."

Kelly said customers are so eager to help they're letting stylists snip a little more.

"They're thrilled! We've had clients cut more hair than they wanted to. We've actually had a few pony tails hit the floor," Kelly said. "They've been very excited because in a way they feel the same thing. They're involved. They're having an impact or having some involvement when otherwise they might not be able to. "

Both salon owners are urging other salons to begin collecting hair clippings. It doesn't matter the length, but they must be clean. Chuck Kelly says he is willing to ship donations that salons bring to his business.

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