January 13, 2009

Uses of hair clippings-Best out of Waste

hair clippings-usesWhat do you do of those hair clippings after you cut your hair? Some salons collect this unwanted pile of hair and send it for making wigs. But most of the time it is just tossed in the trashcan without giving a thought to the fact that it can be put to some use. Few months ago, The Daily Mail cited that researchers from North Carolina had discovered a way of extracting keratin from human hair and turning it into a gel to repair damaged nerves. For laymen, a way of recycling this unwanted spawn of follicles/human hair clippings is to sprinkle them around your garden; this deters snails, slugs and other unwanted pests from your vegetables/flowers as these creatures don’t like anything pricking their tender undercarriages. If you have birds nesting in your garden, you can leave this hair for them to use as a building material. Same goes for pet hair. And if you stuff hair in pincushions, the natural oil will stop the metal needles from rusting.

An article from msnbc mentions that a weird and huge, weird banner using 420 pounds of human hair has been created by a Chinese artist Wenda Gu and this massive banner (80-foot-by-13-foot) has been put up at Dartmouth College's Baker-Berry Library for display. For this purpose hair was collected over several months from 42,000 haircuts of Dartmouth students, faculty, staff and local residents in Hanover. These locks were then dyed and shaped into paper-thin panels held together by a film of Elmer's glue and tied together with twine to get this amazing piece of art. The article further states that viewers at first didn't understand that it was made of hair; when they did, they were completely awestruck and simply drooled over it. Here’s another such inimitable piece of art – a dog made of dog hair clippings (see pic) which was submitted in the Waste as Art Community Art Competition & Exhibition 2007. This project undertaken by the Hunter Waste Education Group, Australia every year promotes the waste-to-resource concept by encouraging the use of waste products and materials in the creation of art.

As it came to the notice of one Mr Phil McCrory, a hair stylist from Alabama that hair, any hair, including processed hair, sponges and soaks up oil better than fur, he collected hair clippings from his salon and invented a hairmat that has other uses as well. These hairmats have been found to be extremely efficient at soaking up oil spills in harbors and the toxic drips in garage pans under leaky cars. Once wrung out, the mats can be reused 30 to 100 times, after which they're broken down organically using mushroom spores, making them environmentally superior to petroleum-based spill products such as polypropylene pads. Plus, 98 percent of the oil sopped up by the mats can be recovered, says the Planet Green website. Incidentally, the company Matter of Trust has been collaborating with thousands of salons throughout the US and abroad, to donate their hair clippings for this worthy cause.

Some studies have also found that human hair, when combined with additional compost, is an additional nutrient source for crops. Furthermore, as hair is a slow nitrogen release, hairmats are great for spreading in gardens. In fact, SmartGrow hairmats claim to achieve lush, healthy plant growth while reducing the time you spend watering, fertilizing and weeding. Available in several convenient sizes and which work equally well with all types of plants, indoors or outdoors, these mats are contain 15% nitrogen and other micronutrients natural to the hair and are 100% biodegradable and help retain moisture. However, spreading hair clippings on a lawn in summer might not be good idea and will just result in a big mess says the productivity site ehow. Since hair is lighter than grass it will blow away in even a slight breeze and your lawn will resemble a barber shop floor that has been hit with a leaf blower, it adds.

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  1. Anonymous3:46 PM

    hair clippings, human or otherwise, can be used to deter snails from your prize winning vegetables.

    sprinkle a barrier of hair around your plot and they’ve prefer not to cross it.

    the hair breaks down and provides nutrients for the soil too.

    not so good in windy weather though

  2. A company in the US uses hair clippings to make mats that absorb oil: good for oil spills and also for motor oil drips!

  3. Nidhi4:30 PM

    Great post!

  4. Namitha9:41 AM

    This is really interesting for everyone!!
    Many thanks


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