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San Diego Salon Donates Hair For Gulf Cleanup

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Aired 5/14/10

Hair salons around the world are sweeping up hair from their floors and sending it to soak up oil from the spill in the Gulf of Mexico. A San Diego salon is also pitching in to help.

Hair salons around the world are sweeping up hair from their floors and sending it to soak up oil from the spill in the Gulf of Mexico. A San Diego salon is also pitching in to help.

Zino Bongiovanni, owner of Zino’s International Hair Designers in San Diego, plans to fill several 45 gallon trash bags with hair.  He stuffs the hair in nylons, which are used to create booms to soak up oil.
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Above: Zino Bongiovanni, owner of Zino’s International Hair Designers in San Diego, plans to fill several 45 gallon trash bags with hair. He stuffs the hair in nylons, which are used to create booms to soak up oil.

Zino Bongiovanni owns Zino’s International Hair Designers in San Diego. Hair collected in a trash container will be donated to the Hair for Oil Spills program.
Enlarge this image

Above: Zino Bongiovanni owns Zino’s International Hair Designers in San Diego. Hair collected in a trash container will be donated to the Hair for Oil Spills program.

The Deepwater Horizon rig has been leaking thousands of barrels of oil into the Gulf daily since a deadly explosion April 20, 2010.

A California-based group, Matter of Trust, has organized the collection of human hair from 90,000 salons and barber shops across the country.

The hair will be stuffed into nylon bags and sent to the Gulf of Mexico to help clean up beaches and wetlands affected by the massive oil spill.

"They boom it out in the water and it just, like a magnet it attracts the oil," said Zino Bongiovanni, owner of Zino's International Hair Designers in San Diego. "And they actually can wring it out and reuse it, so it never goes to waste."

The Mission Valley salon is collecting clients freshly cut hair for use in soaking up the oil from the spill in the Gulf.

"The foundation (Matter of Trust) and they're collecting it in big huge boxes full daily," said Bongiovanni. "Five-hundred thousand pounds, it's unbelievable to think about that much hair."

He said the salon's goal is to send 10 huge bags full of hair.

"This is a 45-gallon bag of trash here," said Bongiovanni, pointing to a large trash can lined with a plastic garbage bag. "I bet you we could fill this up every two days."

Clients, including Debbie Myles of San Diego, support the effort.

"I think that's pretty cool, think that's really neat," said Myles.

Nylons filled with hair and feathers or "booms" have been shown to safely and effectively soak up oil in past ocean spills.

The hair-as-an-oil-absorbent concept was first popularized in 1989 when an Alabama hairdresser experimented with human hair as an oil sponge after watching volunteers on TV attempt to clean oil from the fur of sea otters following the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

A Matter of Trust co-founder told NPR that more people have signed up for hair collection recently than in the past six years because they want to help in the Gulf cleanup effort.

If you would like to donate to the effort, here's how:

Matter of Trust needs:

• Clean hair from human heads -- can be straight, curly, dyed, permed, straightened.

• Every type of fur, horse hair, wool waste and feather is fine.

• Washed nylon stockings (even with runs).

To send donations:

• Make certain there is no garbage -- metal or paper -- included with the hair/fur.

• Place items in separate plastic garbage bags, then put inside of separate boxes labeled 'debris-free hair/fur' or 'nylons.'

• Check the website for Matter of Trust to find out where to ship the boxes.

Comments

Avatar for user 'michel'

michel | May 14, 2010 at 8:56 a.m. ― 4 years, 4 months ago

Why not use hay or dried straw? It is far more abundant and easier to collect. It will absorb and suck the oil out of the water. This seems to be a legitimate method: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5SxX2...

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