Dog Hair Soaks Up Gulf Oil Spill

Dog Hair Soaks Up Gulf Oil Spill
Charity turns fur into mats that help contain oil


Groom your dog, help with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill clean up? The idea isn't as far fetched as it seems.

Instead of simply staring in horror at coverage of the spreading slick, we're taking Grover to the groomers thanks to a Matter of Trust. The public charity is using both pet and people hair to make effective oil-adsorbent hair mats (in which the oil clings to the hair mat, as opposed to being absorbed by them) for use in oil spill containment booms.

The San Francisco-based organization, which has been championing environmental cases and repurposing surplus materials since 1998, is collecting pet fur and human hair from all over the US, Canada, Brazil, France, and the UK at special warehouses, where it is converted into oil spill clean-up mats, by stuffing the collected hair and fur into recycled nylons.

Phil McCrory, a hairstylist from Alabama, first made the Hair = Grease Magnet connection after watching coverage of the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. He tested his theory with clippings from his own salon and invented the hair mat (Way to go, Phil!). A gallon of oil will adhere to a little more than a pound of hair in just two minutes, McCrory told

The sad fact is there are 2,600 oil spills every year; that's 726 million gallons of oil polluting our waterways. (A shocking 50% of that spilled oil comes from illegal household dumping.) There are also 300,000 pounds of hair and fur that are cut daily in the US alone, which can now be put to good use. Check out for more information on how you can help (tell your groomer and stylist!) and download printable fliers to help spread the word. Then, sign up at to receive an email from Matter of Trust with information on where to send a shipment of fur, hair, and washed nylons.

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Dog of the Week!

Meet: Lily