Belfast Salon Puts Split Ends to Good Use 

The average hair salon produces about a pound of hair clippings every day. Normally, it’s just thrown away. But there is someone out there who wants to put those wasted ends to work.”It’s becoming quite the topic of conversation around town, and I’m glad to be a part of it,” says Carole Young. She was getting her hair cut at the Lisa Nichols Salon in Belfast Thursday.In doing so, Young was also donating her hair, which — believe it or not — will be used to help clean up oil spills.”Who knew!” says salon owner Lisa Nichols. “It was a hairdresser who found this out. They were watching the Exxon Valdez oil spill and he thought, ‘Hey, you know, hair is very absorbent, it’s like a magnet to oil.'”A non-profit in California, called Matter of Trust, recycles the hair into mats, which are then used to soak up the oil from spills.”I thought it was a great idea,” says stylist Kelsey Payson. They’ve been sweeping up and saving their clean hair clippings for the past month and a half.”So now we have two big garbage bags filled, and in the next week or so, we’ll send out our first shipment,” Nichols says.In an industry known for its harsh chemicals, Nichols says her salon was already trying to be more environmentally-friendly when her distributor told her about the hair mat project.”So the hair clippings goes right along with making the changes we want to make to grow forward,” she says. “I have children and I care about the environment and their future so I thought, anything we can do to help make sure there’s clean water and a safe world for them.”Nichols says customers are surprised at first, but pleased. “They love it,” she says.”I think of those pictures of the seagulls and things with the oil all over them, and it’s pretty sad. If there’s anything we can do to save those animals – it’d be pretty terrific,” Young says.Any salon can donate to the hair mat project. You can find more on the website