Ashland salon joins hair collection effort to help remove oil spills threatening Gulf of Mexico

Next time you get a haircut, don't be afraid to have your stylist take more than just a little off the top.

Many salons across the country are donating hair clippings to an organization that uses them to fill oil spill booms and mats to help contain and clean up oil spills such as the one threatening the Gulf of Mexico.

"It's one way to make use of hair that otherwise we would throw away," said hairdresser Renee Fox-Roe of Waterstone Salon.

Fox-Roe has been a hairdresser for 42 years, nine of those in Ashland. She's the manager of the Waterstone, which opened two months ago at 14 S. First St.

Fox-Roe on Tuesday shipped a large box of hair to a Florida collection site organized by the group Matters of Trust.

"That was only a couple of weeks of hair, but it was all we had and the deadline was Tuesday to get it there by Friday," she said.

Waterstone makes many efforts to be as "green" as possible, Fox-Roe said.

"We recycle everything we can, re-use whatever we can and all our products are biodegradable or reusable," she said.

Fox-Roe heard of the Matters of Trust program through a hair product supplier.

"I looked it up and thought, this is a really cool thing," she said.

Matter of Trust was founded as a nonprofit in 1999 by Patrice Olivier Gautier, a vice president with Apple Inc., and his wife, Lisa Craig Gautier. The organization finds places in society where unwanted surplus — usually man-made — accumulates, such as hair on the floor of a salon, and gets that surplus to a group or industry that can use it.

By Tuesday, 400,000 pounds of hair were on the way to addresses along the Gulf Coast where groups of people were set to use it to fill oil spill booms and hair mats, according to the Matter of Trust Web site, matteroftrust.org

"Immediately when I saw the oil spill I thought, 'Oh my gosh, we've got to collect some hair,'" Fox-Roe said.

Myles Murphy is an editor and reporter with the Daily Tidings. Reach him at mmurphy@dailytidings.com.

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