UTS’s Megan Murray said recycled hair was a cost-effective process to clean up oil spills.
“The external cuticle structures of hair combined with the fine fibres and high surface area make it a very efficient material at holding crude oil,” Dr Murray said.
Current methods of cleaning up contamination disasters use synthetics to absorb oil but is often expensive and generates excess waste, she said.
Paul Frasca, founder of Sustainable Salons, said his business had stockpiled 28 tonnes of human hair from salons across Australia and New Zealand in case of an oil spill on the Great Barrier Reef.
The group is poised to donate 10 tonnes of hair booms once negotiations with the Mauritian Government are finalised.