ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Environmental Benefits of Human Hair

Updated on March 13, 2008

Many environmental agencies focus on reusing surplus materials, those often considered waste, whether they are natural or manmade. You may be surprised, but human hair is a natural resource that can provide many environmentally friendly purposes. There are now companies and non-profit organizations selling and using human hair mats for gardening and cleaning up oil spills.

How It All Started

While watching the effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989, hairdresser Phil McCrory was struck by otters shown who covered in oil while the water around them was clean. McCrory realized that hair collects oil, which is why we use shampoo to wash the oil out of our hair (water alone won’t do it). After that, he began making hair mats for gardeners to use.

Hair is a natural resource of which there is a huge surplus of. In the United States alone, there are around 300,000 hair salons. Each salon produces a pound of hair each day, so it is out there and available for use.

Hair Mats for Gardening

Hair mats are wonderful for gardeners, offering a ton of environmentally friendly benefits. The mats slow down evaporation, so gardeners can reduce their water use to half the amount they would use without the mats. The hair naturally keeps weeds down, so there is no need for herbicides in the garden. Fertilizer isn’t necessary either because hair naturally releases nitrogen, which promotes growth in plants.

Not only is it good for the environment, but hair also costs gardeners less money.

Hair Mats for Oil Spills

Hair soaks up oil, so using hair mats in areas where there have been oil spills really helps clean up the mess. Shorelines can be cleaned up using these hair mats. Imagine how oily your hair gets after not washing it for a couple of days—it basically soaks up and absorbs oil, and the oil won’t come out until you wash it with shampoo. This means that you can use hair mats in bodies of water to soak up the oil. This is beneficial for the environment, cleaning up the harmful oil, but also helps water animals and plants who are affected by oil spills.

Hair mats are slowly gaining recognition for their many environmental uses around the world. They are currently produced more in China, but slowly gaining popularity in the United States.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      wow!that's wonderful!I'm conducting a research about benifits from human hair, and it helps a lot...

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Today I was getting a hair cut. The barber was throwing the clippings and got curious. Well here I got some inspiration to use them. Thanx.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      i find that very interesting cause i am a hairstylist. i have been one for 18 years and did not know that hair could be used for that reason.we throw away lots of hair every week and in the past i have wondered myself if there were any uses for the hair. i have always been told that it was good to put in the garden.

    • Uva profile image

      Uva Be Dolezal 

      9 years ago from Washington State, searching for home town.

      Good to know, I was wondering about if hair from the bathroom can be composted. It sure seems that if there isn't a lot of soap gunk in it that into the compost is a good idea.

    • Whitney05 profile image


      10 years ago from Georgia

      Wow this just sounds gross. Ha

    • cgull8m profile image


      10 years ago from North Carolina

      Thats is awesome news I work in the textile area, I always wanted to make a nonwoven mat with fibers locked by itself. Glad to see there are many uses for it. If you know where they sell them please add it, will be nice to check it out for gardening.

    • sdorrian profile image


      10 years ago from Chicago

      Fascinating! Who knew there were so many uses for hair? I though it was mostly good for clogging my shower drain. LOL


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)