Special Programs FAQs
Do I have to post Hair / fur / fleece / feathers or nylon / burlap donations?
Yes, it's the only way we know about your surplus. You post your donation under Reclyables (hair, nylons, fleece, aluminum...) and you will get a receipt. This is especially useful for fleece donations!
For emergency oil spills, when shipping boxes of natural fibers, you can also post your postage under Funding / Postage for a receipt. Check with your accountant, it may make more sense for businesses to expense rather than donate the postage.
What happens to the oily waste afterwards?
Conventionally all oil spill waste is incinerated or landfilled in specialized, lined hazardous material waste sites.
Please note: For the Gulf Oil spill, due to the synthetic toxic components in the dispersants only a very few small composting studies at universities can be conducted. BP told us all Gulf Spill waste was landfilled mostly in Florida and Mississippi.
2009 - Matter of Trust was the fiscal sponsor for Thomas Azwell & Ryan Carney's treatability study of hazardous waste oil collected by hair, fur and fleece clippings.
This study was in partnership with Professor Norman Terry's Lab at UC Berkeley and thanks to a grant from Patagonia. Matter of Trust was very excited about the results. First, the mats were detoxified by thermophilic compost using huge amounts of green waste and elbow grease.
Finally, the mass was reduced by thousands of worms. Worms are bio-indicators and they know when the waste is ready to be eaten by them. The results are a rich worm castings fertilizer. Bacteria in the decomposing green waste (leaves, old produce, mushrooms...) and in the tummies of the worms work very hard to detoxify the oil and additives. It took at least a year, but eventually it was reverted to a useful freeway grade fertilizer. In fact, you can buy Worm Poop fertilizer on our Online Store.
This project was a hands on study to create an efficient closed loop system for oil spill clean up. See Photos
What is a hair mat and boom?
"Booms" look like big tubes and they surround and soak up oil spills. Our "booms" look like hairy sausages, to be honest. Recycled clippings of loose hair, dog fur, waste alpaca fleece etc. are stuffed into recycled nylon stockings, and wrapped in donated, recycled coffe bean burlap bags to make "booms" that also efficiently contain and soak up oil spills.
The hair boom was invented by hair stylist Phil McCrory who also invented the hair mat. His company www.Ottimat.com purchases hair in China and makes mats in China. These are industrial sizes and quantities. Mats are made like a rug or doormat, it goes through a binding process much like the fabric material, felt.
Ottimat has given permission for Matter of Trust to make hair booms for donation during the Gulf oil spill crisis. These volunteer made hair, fur, fleece booms do NOT meet the industrial specifications of the Otti Mat.
What type of hair works?
All kinds of real hair, fur, fleece and feathers soak up oil very fast and efficiently. Please No Synthetic extensions, furs, fibers - these are made from oil and other chemicals and harmful to release back into the environment.
Be a part of the school science projects for oil spill hair boom demos. Alerts on this program go out to all fiber donors in our database near schools when their doing the projects.
Thanks! Please sign up to help this mobilization! The next generation working at oil companies will have grown up doing "hair soaks up oil spills" day like "dissect a frog" day in school.
Hair donors - we strongly recommend that long ponytails be separated and donated instead to our wonderful friends at:
Pantine Beautiful Lengths
Please check with their sites for their specific requirements. Most stylists are already keeping an eye out for them.
How do I sort/package fiber / nylons / burlap donations?
The best way to send hair is in a recycled shampoo box lined with a large plastic plastic bag. We notify all particpants (see Instructions) of the nearest available warehouse space via email.
Please make sure all hair is separated from any debris.
Please Note: any boxes that have any sharp or splinter debris or more than 1 handful of garbage will have to be dumped. We often have young student volunteers and cannot risk anyone getting hurt.
See more Gulf Boom FAQ