Hair clippings once headed for the trash at Fresno-area salons could be used to help clean up the massive oil spill on the Gulf Coast.
Hair collects and holds oil -- and it can be used in mats and tube-shaped "booms" made with nylon stockings, which are deployed to remove oil from coastal waters. Salons are mailing boxes of hair to a nonprofit organization that makes the mats and booms.
The Amenities Aveda spa and salons in Fig Garden Village and River Park, Planet Hair in Fresno and Zarcone Salon in Clovis are all collecting the hair, along with other salons.
"When we found out that hair clippings of all things -- which we have every day at our disposal -- help clean that up, of course we jumped on board," said Kim Hembree, owner of both Amenities salons.
Each salon fills up a 32-gallon trash bag with hair each day, she said.
San Francisco-based Matter of Trust was making materials to clean up oil spills before the April 20 explosion caused an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil a day to pour into Gulf waters.
The group stuffs hair into old nylons to make the booms. It also is accepting donations of old nylons.
Matter of Trust said in a news release Friday that oil company BP is not accepting donations, but Matter of Trust is stockpiling hair along the coast anyway in case the company needs it.
The Milan Institute, a cosmetology school in Clovis, is collecting hair from salons until Tuesday. After that, salons must mail the hair themselves.
The school has received a few phone calls from veterinarians and dog-grooming businesses also considering donating hair, said career services coordinator Kelly Haws.
Matter of Trust is accepting direct donations from salons if they register on its Web site, www.matteroftrust.org.
Customers interested in donating their hair are asked to call their local salons.