Gulf Oil Spill: How You Can Help

Gulf Oil Spill: How You Can Help

Sarah Firshein
May 11, 2010

Oil, oil everywhere—news of the aftermath of the explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon rig is spreading as fast as the contaminant itself, and one San Francisco organization is doing its part to help. Matter Of Trust, an organization founded in the late '90s by husband-and-wife team Lisa and Patrice Gautier, is devoted to making use of manmade and natural excess. More on their, uh, hair-raising efforts in the Gulf after the jump.

According to the Los Angeles Times Greenspace blog, an estimated 3.5 million gallons of oil has flowed into the Gulf since the original explosion in mid-April. So Matter Of Trust proposed a material to help soak up excess oil along beaches of affected areas: hair.

Deemed an "International Natural Fiber Recycling Movement," the Hairs for Oil Spills initiative asks for worldwide donations of hair, fur and waste wool (from, say, beauty salons), which volunteers then stuff into donated nylon stockings by hand or a mechanized PVC tube and mail to warehouses in the Gulf region. These booms, as they're called, resemble overstuffed sausages—all the better to soak up pools of oil. At press time, hundreds of thousands of pounds of hair and nylons have arrived from every American state, Canada, the UK, France, Spain, Germany and Brazil. And salons and volunteers in the Gulf region are now hosting regular boom-making parties, appropriately termed "Boom BQs." It's no wonder the Matter Of Trust headquarters (actually the Gautiers' dining room) boasts a large, hand-scrawled sign that says: "The Hairy Situation Room."

(Images: Matter Of Trust)

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