“Hairy Innovations” What you can do with Human Hair!

“Hairy Innovations” What you can do with Human Hair!

By Hannah Craik | Salonvironment

Did you ever think your hair was anything more than a part of your look?

Your hair tells a personal story which could continue past your own biography. 

Hair is almost always swept into a bag and “thrown away”… meaning it sits in a landfill, not adding any positive value. However, how hair can be put to better use after it’s been cut has been a progressing interest. Yes, your haircut could be contributing to renewable sources in the present, future, and could’ve in the past.

The most practiced and well-known method for repurposing hair is for your garden.

Most will add hair (or even animal fur) to their personal compost for additional nutrients, but businesses and compost experts are looking into if hair can be composted commercially. The idea is to create more nourishing soil that’s resilient to climate change while closing the gap for organic items (such as food waste, hair, raked leaves, etc). Plus, it helps support soil structure and prevent erosion. 

People have also used hair as a pest-repellent to keep their gardens uneaten. A great way you could give back to the community would be building a relationship with a co-op garden, buildings of worship, local centers, or anyone that loves growing greenery that you can give the hair to (or even start selling in your area as an easy side business!)

Many individuals, businesses, and organizations are using leftover hair for water cleanups. Hair is created into a hair mat or a hair boom to absorb oil and grease from ocean spills and help filter and collect litter from storm drains. “Hair is a natural biosorbent, it’s been shown to absorb 3-9x its weight in oil”, says Rebecca Pagnucco, a student of University of Technology Sydney (UTS) at the time. It’s an easy and cost effective way to take action against water pollution in your area! 

If you’re interested in creating these for your city or know someone that would be: Matter of Trust has a satellite program that can get you involved in making hair mats directly or you can learn to make your own hair booms at home.

Recently, researchers from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) have created carbon nanodots from human hair, collected from a barbershop in Brisbane, Australia. Using this technology to improve the performance of solar panels by having these nanodots protect the perovskite cells from damage, it’ll possibly make them more financially attainable in the near future as well as opening doors to further develop smart devices, space travel… and that’s just the beginning of possibilities! 

Who ever thought hair could be used for building materials? Foll(i)cle was a project created by two London-based architects, Lopez and Charbel, that was showcased in 2019 at Bangkok Design Week. The hair is used to show if people have been exposed to toxic substances. Namely, what kind of pollution can be detected in an area where people live. Green Salon Collective might possibly do a twin project with them based in London, as well.

MeetthefiveRs, Green Salon Collective, and BIOHM sound like they are making an interesting wood alternative with hair… wow! It’s no secret that now it’s a push to keep forests as vibrant and full as they can be and lumber alternative supplies are sought after. Depending on how far this study gets, we could be looking at having another option for materials that we don’t even have to use land for farming and can use that land for keeping carbon in the ground, rewilding the area, focusing on soil health, supporting the ecosystem… all just endlessly.

It’s incredible the innovations we are creating through times of pressure, but how incredible is it that by cutting hair we could be adding so much more to this world than we could ever imagine? From us? 

Our hair could be used to give us rich soil and delicious food, 

clean our water which is our most valuable resource, 

further along renewable energy technology and freaking space travel, 

Create homes or create cleaner and safer homes,

protect trees,

Or really… it could be anything.

Hairdressers, we’re needed.
Original Article link: https://www.salonvironment.com/blog-articles/hairy-innovations

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