CLEARFIELD---You can do your part to help with the cleanup efforts in the Gulf just by getting a haircut.
Melinda Hughes-Wert is the President of Nature Abounds, an environmental non-profit organization in Clearfield. When the BP oil disaster began last month, she wanted to do whatever she could to help, but what she did is something simple that we can all do…she got a haircut.
Hughes-Wert had very long hair until a few days ago. She got about 14 inches of her locks chopped off to add to a “hair boom,” which are used in the Gulf to soak up oil.
The hair is stuffed into nylon and floats in the water, and Vice President of Nature Abounds, James Wert, says they work much better than synthetic booms.
“Synthetic booms are absorbent, so it soaks it up. Well, when you soak something up and go to pick it up, it drips out,” Wert said, “The other way around with the hair, it actually sticks to the hair. You pull it up, clean water runs off, done.”
SmartStyle Stylist, Amanda Albert cut Hughes-Wert’s hair, and said she hopes more customers will consider donating their clippings.
“It’s a great program because that is something that almost everybody does anyway, so if somebody felt they could help out that way, it’s not anything out of the way really,” Albert said.
Hughes-Wert says there are a lot of things we can do locally to lessen our dependence on oil and help with efforts in the Gulf.
“If you start thinking about some of the different things that you do, you can make little changes here and there,” Hughes-Wert said, “Watch what you buy, and that’s the biggest thing you can do right now. Walk when you can. Sometimes around here it’s not as easy, but walk when you can. Like here in town, you can walk to the post office or the library.”
James Wert said the oil in the “hair booms” is broken down into compost using worms and mushrooms, so nothing is burned off into the atmosphere.
And it’s not just human hair in the booms, they’re also looking for donations of pet hair. Wert says the average salon sweeps up about a pound of hair every day, which can soak up a quart of oil, so salons and pet groomers can really make a big difference in the Gulf cleanup.
Hughes Wert added that the average person doesn’t realize how many petroleum products are in their household, including anything made of plastic. She suggests buying recyclable plastics, and those made with post-consumer materials.
She also said many organizations are asking for supplies for the cleanup that most people have around the house.