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Hair today... fertiliser tomorrow

Chances are, you have never considered what happens to the cut hair you leave behind at the salon after a visit – but one hairdresser has.

Thierry Gras, a stylist from the Var, set up the Coiffeurs Justes association ( in 2015 after becoming concerned at the amount of hair he was simply throwing away at the end of each working day.

Four years on, and some 140 salons across France now collect the hair they cut and store it for recycling.

You can find details of which ones have joined the scheme on the site.

In France, salons collect between 3,000 and 4,000 tonnes of hair a year – or two kilograms of hair for every 230 cuts. “It’s absurd that we don’t do anything with it,” said Mr Gras.

“Hair is a simple raw material to harvest. As soon as it is cut, it is clean and sorted. All you have to do is pick it up.”

Human – and animal – hair can be used as a fertiliser thanks to its high levels of magnesium.

It can take up to two years to break down but, in compost, hair can provide structural support for roots and help break up thick or clay soil.

It is also a more than useful insulator and is effective at stopping oil spills.

Hair repels water and collects heavy metals and other contaminants, such as oil. It has been discovered that one kilo of hair can absorb eight kilos of oil. “Hair booms” that filter oil from sea water are currently being tested.

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