Green Options › Articles › Recycling Human Hair To Make Eco Friendly Products

Recycling Human Hair To Make Eco Friendly Products

Could you imagine cleaning up a pound of hair every day? Well that’s what more than 300,000 hair salons in the U.S. do at least once a day before closing time. The stylists carefully sweep up your old hair and throw it in the trash, leaving it destined for the dump.

Instead of taking the excess hair to the dump, some eco entrepreneurs have come up with ways to recycle old hair into eco friendly products. It may sound a bit strange, but there are some very cool things that hair can create. Here are a few:

Oil Spill Hair Mat

Most people who follow the green movement can recall 1989’s Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. It is considered one of the worst man-caused environmental disasters in North American history, spilling over 10.8 million gallons of oil into the Alaskan sea. In fact, Alabama hair stylist Phil McCrory watched on television as it was happening, and it was what he saw on the oil-soaked animals that gave him an idea.

McCrory noticed how the fur on otters helped to trap the oil, so he came up with the idea to use human hair to clean up oil spills. He showed his idea to NASA and the rest is hair history! His idea helped inspire the OttiMat, which soaks up about 7.8 gallons of oil in less than 3 minutes. It can also be wrung out and reused more than 100 times.  Here’s a demonstration:


McCrory’s invention inspired the charity organization Matter of Trust to create the Hair for Oil Spills Program, which takes hair donations from salons and turns the hair into oil spill mats.

Woven Hair Jewelry

The Victorian Hairwork Society Website was created for people who are interested in creating art out of hair. Check out the 1881 Woven Hair Ring.

Stiletto Chair

Created by ex-hairstylist to the stars Ronald Thompson, this unique “Stiletto Chair” was conjured up when Thompson was cleaning up hair clippings on the set of Batman Begins! He realized how sturdy a piece of hair was as opposed to fiberglass, and decided to create an eco friendly alternative to traditional fiberglass molds.

Thompson created the Stiletto Chair, which is waterproof, fire resistant, and totally amazing. Although it costs $15,000, he does hope to develop less expensive models.

Human Hair Dress

Croatian designers at Artidjana Company used 165 feet of blond hair to make a dress that was showcased at a fashion show!

Dartmouth Banner

Using 420 pounds of human hair from Dartmouth students, faculty, staff and other members of the Hanover community, artist Wenda Gu created a human hair banner that hangs in the college’s Baker-Berry Library. It is a part of Gu’s “united nations” project that began in 1993.

The trimmings from 42,000 haircuts were sent to a studio in China, where they were dyed, glued and shaped with twine to form the banner.

See, recycling hair is a great way to make eco friendly products, and unless human evolution dramatically changes, hair will be around for us to use forever!



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Green Options › Articles › Recycling Human Hair To Make Eco Friendly Products