above: picture of volunteers cleaning up oil from a beach
below: picture of oil clinging to a hair mat(images from Matter of Trust website)
Who knew that hair was the best material for picking up oil from oil spills? Matter of Trust is a non-profit organization in San Francisco, headed by Lisa Gautier, that weaves all types of hair into mats that can be used to efficiently clean up oil spills. Originally the mats were developed in the 1990's by Philip McCrory. One pound of hair can pick up a quart of oil, then be wrung out and used again and again. They've also used hair to fill old nylons to surround the oil spills and prevent them from expanding further on the beaches. What better use for Newfie hair considering the inevitable amount we get every year.
But I believe the program is on hold from the article I read and the fact that I haven't heard back about an email I sent. Apparently due to the recession the textile factories that make the mats are out of business and Lisa has not found a replacement yet, but according to the website they are looking for a new warehouse to store all the hair in. Hopefully they will be up and running soon and the Newfie hair donations can start rolling in!