Salons donate hair for Gulf cleanup

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By The Staff

As part of a new initiative, anyone can have a hand in cleaning up the oil spill on the Gulf Coast by simply getting a haircut.

After the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last month, many organizations and corporations jumped to action in an effort to minimize damage. Perhaps one of the most creative responses was that led by the Matter of Trust Organization, a group that seeks to educate people and improve the environment.

After the oil spill, Matter of Trust responded by beginning a Natural Fiber Recycling Program. According to Matter of Trust, natural fibers such as hair and fur are effective in collecting and absorbing oil. The organization is asking for donations of hair, wool, fur and nylon to be sent to the Gulf.

Kentucky’s State Beauty Supply in Elizabethtown was recently contacted about the program by their home offices in Tulsa, Okla. Representative for State Beauty Supply, Melba Kindervater, said that this is a way for hair salons to lend a hand.

“Matter of Trust is collecting hair … worldwide. They have people donating hair and they’re making mats and sponges to soak up the oil,” Kindervater said.

Kindervater said the Elizabethtown branch of State Beauty Supply is in very early stages of the process. The Beauty Supply has registered as volunteers with Matter of Trust and plans to send out its first shipment of collected hair soon. The store serves 68 salons across 12 different counties and hopes to get each of them involved in collecting and donating hair.

“We’re going to send a letter out to our salons telling them to collect hair and have them send it to us,” Kindervater said.

From there, Beauty Supply will send the hair in one large shipment to the Gulf Coast, where it will reach the hands of workers from Matter of Trust. This way, Kindervater said, even smaller salons that may not collect as much hair will feel that they are a contributing part.

Jason Larimore, a cosmetologist for Great Clips hair salon in Elizabethtown, recently donated his own hair to the cause. He has become passionate about the issue and encourages others to follow in his footsteps. He believes that this program is a great way for individuals to help solve a large-scale problem.

Larimore said that Great Clips will be taking part in the State Beauty Supply’s initiative to collect hair, and he feels that the public’s reaction will be positive. In fact, Larimore hopes to begin a program that will allow customers who donate their hair to receive free or discounted services.

“I have to take immediate action. It’s the only way to get the oil spill up. We have to make haste decisions now,” Larimore said.

For more information about the Natural Fiber Recycling Program, visit www.matteroftrust.org.