Great Clips staff gathers, donates hair clippings to soak oil in Gulf disaster

July 1, 2010

By Tim Pfarr

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Hair. It grows. It gets long and unruly. It gets chopped off. It gets thrown in the trash.

However, the staff at Great Clips in Newcastle is collecting hair cut off during haircuts, rounding it up and shipping it to the Gulf of Mexico to help soak up oil from the recent oil spill.

“We want to help out in any way we can,” said Heather Allen, manager of Newcastle Great Clips, in the Coal Creek Shopping Center.

Great Clips employees are collecting hair clippings in their breakroom to send to the Gulf of Mexico to help soak up oil from the recent spill. These are the third and fourth boxes, and both will weigh more than 10 pounds by the time they are shipped. By Tim Pfarr

The idea of sending hair came about in the beginning of May, when employee Blanca Carrillo left a flyer for the nonprofit organization Matter of Trust in Allen’s office. Matter of Trust, which helps reallocate manmade and natural surpluses, was embarking on a campaign to collect hair clippings, fur clippings, fleece, feathers and nylons that would otherwise go to waste to help soak up oil from the spill.

The seven-person staff banded together to create an account with Matter of Trust’s Excess Access program, which was working on the campaign, and the employees began storing hair in the branch’s break room.

The group sent its first box of hair — a 10-pound box — at the beginning of June and a second, 13-pound box, June 10. They are now filling up a third and fourth box, and they are waiting to receive an address where they can send the hair.

Excess Access had the group send the first box to Mobile, Ala., and the second box to Fairhope, Ala., on the east side of Mobile Bay on the Gulf Coast.

Employees take turns paying to ship the hair, which costs more than $20.

“We cut enough hair here, we might as well send it someplace other than in the garbage,” employee Ashley Appleyard said.

Customers were supportive of this effort as well.

“I think it’s a great idea if it works,” said Kristy Szablya, of Newport Hills, as she waited for her haircut.

She was not aware members of the staff were shipping hair clippings.

“I think I might get an extra short cut,” she said.

Newcastle resident Bob Hanson was also unaware of the staff’s efforts.

“It sounds like a great use of a product that’s just going down the drain,” he said.

Allen said the branch has made hair donations before through the Locks of Love program, where customers have 10 inches of hair cut off to make wigs for people undergoing chemotherapy.

“We’ve done Locks of Love, but we’ve never done anything like sending boxes of hair,” Allen said.

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