Recycling your hair: a solidarity act for the benefit of science and the planet

Recycling your hair a solidarity act for the benefit of

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    Have you ever donated your hair? The concept may seem absurd, and yet… It is intended to be beneficial for the environment as well as for medical research, and it is accessible to all. On the occasion of World Recycling Day, March 18, an overview of causes to defend by simply donating a few strands of hair.

    Hair prostheses, sustainable agriculture, soil depollution… You may not know it (yet) but your hair is worth gold. And for good reason, no less than 4,000 tons of hair are thrown away each year in France, according to data provided by Capillum start-up which is one of the actors who transform the waste collected in hairdressing salons into beneficial resources for the environment and health. So many scraps that can help shape the outlines of a more sustainable and committed future. Here are three ways to give your hair a second life, and become – without much effort – an agent of change.

    Create hair prostheses

    To cope with alopecia, one of the potential side effects of chemotherapy, patients can resort to often expensive hair prostheses. It is on the basis of this observation that associations such as solid hair And Fake Hair Don’t Care are now committed to collecting hair via partner hair salons to make wigs at a lower cost. Be careful, however, to respect a few formalities in order to be able to donate your hair, whether it is to cut a minimum length, not to have succumbed to any chemical treatment – some however accept colored hair – or to give it a second life. to healthy hair. Note, the associations have established partnerships with partner hairdressers, the list of which is available online, but it is also possible to send your own hair to the organizations.

    Clean up soils and oceans

    In the summer of 2020, a Japanese bulk carrier ran aground southeast of Mauritius spilling tons of fuel oil into the Indian Ocean. An ecological disaster that has prompted many associations to appeal for donations of a new kind, claiming hair to transform them into natural dams in order to absorb hydrocarbons and fight against oil spills. Capillum And Righteous Hairdressers in France, Green Salon Collective in the United Kingdom, are among the actors committed to depolluting the oceans, but not only… These filter tubes made from hair also make it possible to clean the waters of port areas, as well as polluted soils. Something made possible thanks to the very structure of the hair which makes it possible to retain fatty substances – such as hydrocarbons – between the scales.

    For research… and agriculture

    Less known, other causes also benefit from hair recycling. Capillum, which offers a second life to absolutely all types of hair, is also committed to medical research. It is a question here of using the hair for the quantity of keratin (at least 95%) which composes it. This protein is extracted from the hair fiber and then sold to pharmaceutical companies to help medical research develop new skin care products, including healing treatments. But that’s not all, the hair recycling industry also works in favor of more sustainable agriculture – and gardening. The idea? Make and market fully biodegradable hair mulches to form insulation for many plants, and thus insulate them from the cold, limit evaporation – and therefore consumption – of water, as well as weeding.

    So many initiatives that testify to the powers of hair, and make it a new essential waste to commit to the planet, like many solidarity initiatives. To do this, nothing could be simpler than enjoying a good haircut, at home or in a salon.