'Hairlift' Donations Help Fight Oil Slick

Salons, groomers donate hair, fur for booms
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2010 3:16 AM CDT
Brenda Mendez, owner of Pet Pals Grooming Salon in Racine, Wis., grooms Bubu, a male toy poodle. Mendez is donating fur from her grooming business to help clean up the Gulf spill.   (AP Photo/Journal Times, Scott Anderson)

(Newser) – The biggest "hairlift" in history is helping fight the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Donations of hair, fur, and wool are being gathered by salons, pet groomers, and farmers around the world to be stuffed into nylon tights, creating highly absorbent booms. Matter of Trust, the charity organizing the effort, says 370,000 hair salons are taking part and nearly half a million pounds of hair and fur are arriving each day, the BBC reports.

The booms—dubbed "hairy sausages" by the founder of the San Francisco-based charity—are laid along beaches to soak up oil. "It doesn't get more renewable than this,” she told the Toronto Star. “We think it's a safe, non-toxic way to do the cleanup." The effort has been joined by sheep and llama farmers from as far away as Brazil and Australia.

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