Hair can save the world

Poza Salon donates its hair clippings to; where hair is recycled into mats that naturally collect oil spills from oceans.


Why hair?

You shampoo your hair because it gets greasy. Hair is very efficient at collecting oil out of the air, off surfaces like your skin and out of the water, even petroleum oil. Hair is adsorbent (as in “clings to” unlike absorbent which is to “soak up.”) There are over 370,000 hair salons in the US and each collects about 1 pound of hair a day. Right now, most of that goes into the waste stream, but it should all be made into hair mats.”
image Hair is Hydrophobic- Abnormally afraid of water (soaking up less then 1 % water and 99% oil)
Every 1 pound of hair soaks up 1 quart of oil

Demo in pictures

1Quart of oil, 1 square foot of hair mat

image After 42 seconds…

image After 67 seconds 1 quart of used motor oil has been recovered…

image A hair mat absorbs 100 times it’s own weight and can be reused 15 or more times…

How often do oil spills occur? Every year 100 million US gallons of oil spill. This is equal to 100 school gymnasiums: The biggest spill ever occurred during the 1991 Persian Gulf War when about 240 million gallons spilled from oil terminals and tankers off the coast of Saudi Arabia. The second biggest spill occurred over a ten-month period (June 1979 – February 1980) when 140 million gallons spilled at the “Ixtoc I “well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico near Ciudad del Carmen, Mexico. However, all the oil spilled during the Persian Gulf spill is only about 1/3 of what the US uses in one day! The Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska was approximately 11 million gallons. That spill was only about the 35th largest in the world, though it was the largest in the US. It came from a huge supertanker that was about the size of 15 gyms in length X 4 gyms wide X 2 gyms deep (which held 66 million gallons). Why does all that oil spill? We use a lot of oil and it needs to be transported. The US uses 710 million gallons per day. In fact, every 22 minutes, the US uses up what spilled in the Exxon Valdez spill. The world uses 2.73 billion gallons (2,730 gyms full) per day. Every day 31.5 billion gallons of oil are at sea being transported. But not all spills come from tankers. Some comes from storage tanks, pipelines, oil wells and vessels cleaning out tanks. How does it spill? Accidents: often through carelessness Sometimes unavoidable events: weather, earthquakes Intentional spills: terrorists, war, vandals, dumping What happens to oil when it spills? Oil generally floats because it is lighter than water. Though 30-40% evaporates in the first 24-48 hours; these are the most poisonous (toxic) portions, as well as the portions that are the most soluble, and flammable. Oil tends to float and spread out into a very thin film on the water surface…usually only about 0.1 mm thick…then spreads even thinner to a sheen, which is one tenth or one one-hundredth of this. Sheens are often seen as rainbow-like or silvery in puddles in parking lots. What are the environmental impacts? Moreover, who is affected? image Oil can have a significant impact on marine larvae, birds, otters, bears, fish and the humans that consume affected fish. Birds that get oil on feathers cannot fly and cannot get to food and fresh water. It also collapses the air space between feathers that keep birds warm and buoyant. Ingesting oil by cleaning themselves or eating oil-contaminated food can cause reproductive disorders, red blood cell deficiency (anemia), and pneumonia. With Otters, the oil also collapses the air space in between the fur making hard for them to maintain body temperature. Humans are affected by eating oil-contaminated plants and animals Oil contains cancer inducing PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) Poza Salon urges everyone to participate. Please visit and register to do your part!