Who: Matter of Trust
What: Campaign to recycle hair, fur and fleece into oil spillage containment mats and booms
About: Matter of Trust is an ecological non-profit that focuses on surplus and needs, natural surplus and eco-education.
They established the Clean Wave program to promote large-scale waste fiber recycling. They use clippings of hair from salons, fur from pet groomers, fleece and feathers from farmers, and even laundry lint. The felted recycled fiber mats they make go to public works departments for use in storm drains and waterways. They also coordinate with emergency clean water efforts to supply stuffed sausage-shaped booms that can sandbag and protect beaches and coves.
In 2010, Matter of Trust initiated a huge mobilization to gather hair and waste fibers for the BP Deepwater Horizon Gulf Coast Spill. Nineteen warehouses, spread from Florida through Texas, received donations from every zip code in North America and 30 other countries.
The Problem: There are over 2,600 recorded oil spills a year on average, allowing over 2.6 billion liters (700 million US gallons) of oil to seep into the ocean. Time is crucial when dilution is an issue – in an ocean, oil spreads fast. Hair, fur, fleece and feathers float and soak up oil extremely quickly. So quickly that it is dangerous for wildlife to be near an oil spill, as their fur and feathers get coated in oil before they can escape.
The Solution: There are also over 370,000 hair salons and 200,000 pet groomers in the USA alone. They each cut on average one kilogram (two pounds) of hair/fur per day. These fibers can be felted into mats or stuffed into recycled sacks or tights (pantyhose) in order to make environmentally friendly booms which soak up oil.
In 2017, the Matter of Trust Eco-Industrial Hub was opened in the heart of San Francisco which gets 16 million tourists a year. The model factory site was created to make hair mats and have exhibits on clean air, water, energy and ideal materials. They plan to support other hubs throughout the US and beyond so that donors have many places to send fibers and the shipping costs and carbon footprint can be much lower. The goal is to promote local waste fiber collection and felting wherever there are harbors, ports, bays or simply storm drains. They’d like to think collecting waste fibers from salons and groomers could be the new “paper route-like after school job.”
Take action for the ocean today
Visit Matter Of Trust to help today:
- Donate to the Clean Wave program: All these supplies can be used to clean up emergency oil spills:
- Loose hair and fur clippings.
- Fleece and wool of any grade.
- Laundry lint
- Old woollen socks, etc…
- Rope (⅛-¼ inch thickness)
- Burlap Sacks
- Nylon Stocking Legs
- Shrimp Bags
- Spread the word: The next time you (or your pet) is getting a haircut, mention the Clean Wave program and encourage them to get involved.
- Visit Matter of Trust’s Eco-Industrial Hub in San Francisco: Free education and exhibits on recycling, clean water, and composting with handouts, lesson plans, demo videos, DIY kits, and science fair assistance.
Be inspired: Discover more ways to take action for the ocean.
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