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Human hair is organic matter, and in our experience, most types of organic matter have a TON of uses. Hair is gentle on the planet and more sustainable than you could ever imagine – it just keeps on growing!
The good news is it’s not just the hair nerds at Sustainable Salons that care about this stuff – your clients do too.
Synthetic booms and chemical dispersants cause damaging long term side effects on the environment.
Hair booms however, are an organic alternative that’s even more effective at soaking up oil. A standard boom can soak up to 4L of oil and can even be drained and reused up to two more times. Talk about the power of hair!
To make a hair boom, a filter stocking is stretched over a piece of pipe, then hair and fur is stuffed into it. Once it’s packed in we simply tie it up then BOOM you’ve got a hair boom!
And there you have it, hair and fur that’s been swept up by our members get a second life.
Thanks to our salon members, Sustainable Salons supplied Rebecca Pagnucco (pictured with Sustainable Salons Co-Founder Paul Frasca) with all the recycled hair clippings she could possibly need for her Masters research at the University of Technology Sydney...and it was all worth it! Her final results showed that "not only is hair capable of adsorbing oil at high rates, but hair is also relatively more efficient at adsorbing oil than other materials."
Research Paper: Comparative efficacy of hair and commercial sorbents used in crude oil remediation (2017)
Rebecca now works as a Principal Policy Officer for the NSW Environmental Protection Agency
In July 2021, an oil tanker on its way to the mines spilt 33,000L of oil into the Kirkalocka creek.
Thanks to the hair collected from all our members, we were able to dispatch 1000 hair booms to help soak it all up!
In July 2020, a ship ran aground on a reef in Mauritius, sparking an ecological disaster.
Sustainable Salons worked with the ground teams in Mauritius to help advise how to deploy hair booms.
We provide hair booms to companies to soak up leakages from machines during manufacturing.
We also work with local Sydney councils to supply hair booms for water entrapments.
At the moment, flexible OLED displays are manufactured using sophisticated synthetic chemistry and heavy metals that are harvested from the earth. This means the devices become toxic pollutants when discarded.
We want to help change that.
Sustainable Salons has partnered with QUT and Griffith University to research how human hair can help create more environmentally sustainable OLED displays at a much lower cost. The research also involved how once processed, recycled hair can help stabilise solar panels so they’re more effective and last longer!
Sustainable Salons has been supporting Amandeep Singh Pannu, from Queensland University of Technology (QUT), in his amazing research on how human hair can be used instead of heavy metals in flexible OLED displays and solar panels. Sounds crazy right? Well it’s all possible thanks to hair being 45% carbon. Amandeep and his team developed “high performance, high luminescent carbon dots from the abundantly available biowaste of human hairs.”
Research Paper: Biowaste-Derived, Self-Organized Arrays of High-Performance 2D Carbon Emitters for Organic Light-Emitting Diodes (2020)
They created a process where hair is heated to extreme temperatures so only carbon dots are left. Special agents are then added to make them luminescent!
Across Australia & New Zealand more than half a million kilos of hair ends up in landfill each year. If there’s one thing we’ve learnt, it’s that hair being an organic resource deserves a place back on planet earth.
Sustainable Salons partnered with industry leaders, enrich360 and ACE Solutions, to unearth the full potential of recycled hair as an additive material in fertiliser. The results exceeded expectations finding that “human hair is a safe and pathogen-free compost material. The balanced level of micro & macro nutrients supports beneficial bacteria and enhances yield.”
Yep, hair holds valuable nutrients like amino acids, nitrogen, calcium and iron that supercharges soil into a high grade fertiliser!