It might be a bit disgusting for some to see hair being used other than its original purpose—to cover your head and make you pretty. But over the years, as more and more environmental challenges faced us, society eventually had to find ways how to reuse and recycle just about everything that are supposedly no longer of use to us.
Hair grows naturally. In this aspect alone, it wins every environmentalist hearts since it doesn’t try to take away anything from the environment. Growing out hair doesn’t require energy and waste no resources.
As the fastest growing tissue in the body (second only to bone marrow), hair is the most unspoiled and earth-friendly material we can recycle. On average, it grows half an inch per month. That is 35 meters of hair produced each day on an average adult scalp.
On the other hand, an average person cuts his/her hair three to five times a year (depending, of course, if you keep it long or short). But with the amount of hair thrown in trash bins and landfills each year, that could have already been reproduced into something usable and functional for a lot of people
Here are some interesting and social-conscious ways you can recycle your hair:
Give them to charities – cancer is probably health’s biggest enemy today. With the amount of carcinogenic materials that roam the earth’s surface, it’s no wonder that even the most obscure body part can get the big C. If you like giving to charities, you might want to start with collecting your hair (cut or fallen) and donating them to Locks of Love, Wigs for Kids and Beautiful Lengths; all of which are non-profit organizations that provide wigs for patients who have medical hair loss from any diagnosis.
Use them to absorb oil spills – in the Philippines in 2006, the Guimaras oil spill made headlines after an oil tanker sunk off its coast. Dubbed as the worst oil spill in Philippine history, it still has ongoing environmental effects until this day. During the recovery mission, massive amounts of hair were used to contain the oil spill. Hair is a natural absorber, and can be used with wool and fur clippings to produce oil spill booms, which collect the oil and then rung out and reused over and over again. What hair does is to collect the oil floating along the surface of the water. It might seem bizarre, but it does work.
Turn them into garden fertilizers – hair acts as fertilizer and weed deterrent. Because hair can retain moisture, it can enhance the plants’ growth through their unique design and proteins absorbed when they were still attached to a scalp. Hair is also one of the materials used to discourage deer and rabbits from feeding on plants in your garden.
Make jewelries and art structures out of them – this doesn’t sound something that everyone will be agreeable to, but it’s one of the most popular by-products of hairs. You can turn them into hair whips, bracelets, hair purse, hair clothes and hair sculptures.
You don’t even have to cut your hair to make a recycled product out of them. An average of 100 strands of hair falls each day. If you collect that, I’m sure you will be able to think of many ways how to recycle, say, 3000 strands of hair that you can collect in a month.
That’s quite a number of hair wigs, jewelries and fertilizers in a month!