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CLEANING UP AN OIL SPILL WITH HAIR AND MUSHROOMS?

Posted By Jill Fehrenbacher On November 19, 2007 @ 9:45 am In Botanical,Design for Health,Disaster-proof design,Landscape Architecture,San Francisco,social responsibility | 33 Comments

CLEANING UP AN OIL SPILL WITH HAIR AND MUSHROOMS?, Cosco Busan Oil Spill in San Francisco Bay, Cleaning up oil with mushrooms and hair, Cleaning up oil with mushrooms and hair mats, organic cleaning of oil spill, oil spill clean up with hair and mushrooms, matter of trust, Lisa Gautier, Chronicle Story, Michael Macor Photography, photography by Michael Macor [1]

The recent Cosco Busan oil spill [2] in the San Francisco Bay may have just met its match in an eco-cleaning solution that uses human hair and mushrooms! [3] A group of intrepid volunteers has embarked on a project [4] to clean up oil at San Francisco’s beaches using an unusual, yet totally organic, method of waste removal: hair mats and mushrooms. Using mats made of hair, the volunteers are able to absorb slicks of oil on the shore that have washed up since the Cosco Busan cargo ship sideswiped the base of the Bay Bridge last week, spilling 58,000 gallons of oil.


CLEANING UP AN OIL SPILL WITH HAIR AND MUSHROOMS?, Cosco Busan Oil Spill in San Francisco Bay, Cleaning up oil with mushrooms and hair, Cleaning up oil with mushrooms and hair mats, organic cleaning of oil spill, oil spill clean up with hair and mushrooms, matter of trust, Lisa Gautier

Hair naturally absorbs oil from air and water and acts as the perfect sponge for an oil slick, according to Lisa Gautier of San Francisco [3], who donated 1,000 hair mats to volunteers. The spongy hair mats, apparently, feel like an S.O.S pad and are about the size of a doormat. Once the mats are soaked with the oily black gunk, oyster mushrooms will be placed on the mats and will grow and absorb the oil. The mushrooms will take approximately 12 weeks to absorb all of the oil, converting the oily hair mats into nontoxic compost. A national mushroom expert named Paul Stamets donated $10,000 worth of oyster mushrooms to the clean-up effort when he heard of the project and Lisa Gautier’s work. [3]

If you are wondering why Lisa Gautier [3] happened to have 1,000 human hair mats lying around, here’s why: The woman runs a nonprofit called Matter of Trust [3], which matches donations from businesses with needy nonprofits. For a previous project, Gautier had collected human hair from Bay Area hair salons and turned them into hair mats for the San Francisco Department of the Environment to use to absorb motor oil.

How fabulous is this? If only hair and mushrooms could clean up all of our toxic waste problems.

+ Matter of Trust Organization [3]


Via The San Francisco Chronicle


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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/cleaning-up-an-oil-spill-with-hair-and-mushrooms/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/object/article?f=/c/a/2007/11/14/MNPQTBLE4.DTL&o=1

[2] Cosco Busan oil spill: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/11/18/EDNKTDARO.DTL

[3] human hair and mushrooms!: http://www.matteroftrust.org/

[4] has embarked on a project: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/11/14/MNPQTBLE4.DTL

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