WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Monmouth Salon Helps Clean Oil Spill

Monmouth, IL – A Monmouth hair salon is taking steps to help clean up the Gulf Coast oil spill. But the effort is nothing new. It's been helping clean oil spills for the last couple of years.

Shanna Piper owns Diffusion Hair Studio in Monmouth. She says the salon has been saving hair clippings and collecting nylon stockings for years. She bags up the hair clippings and nylons, then sends them off to Florida, where the materials are either distributed or stored in anticipation of an oil spill.

Piper says her salon started promoting the hair and nylon collection more vigorously after the Deepwater Horizon off the Louisiana Coast exploded last month. She says Monmouth residents responded.

"Oh it's wonderful. It's such a nice feeling that you can see everyone wanting to help with cause like this," says Piper. "Even with something that's not happening here in their community, they're wanting to do stuff to help... to be able to send things off to help other things with their communities. It's affecting a lot of people along the coast line."

Piper's hair salon is helping make "hair booms," which will eventually be dragged along the Gulf coast to soak up oil. She says hair is an excellent oil collector, which is why it gets greasy if it's not washed for a couple of days. The hair is then stuffed into the nylon stockings, several dozen of which are attached to a large net to make the boom.

Piper says her staff saves all the hair from their customers. They place it into a special trash bag, which is later boxed up and shipped off. She says it doesn't cost much because the hair is light. Diffusion has sent off five or six boxes since it started collecting.

The salon will likely hold some sort of drive in the middle of June to promote the cause. Piper says she's thinking about holding a half-price haircut sale to entice people to come.

That might not matter, however. Piper says the studio has garnered some new customers in the past couple of months simply because they want to help clean up the Gulf Coast Oil spill.

Those interested in donating hair or nylons can contact Diffusion Hair Studio at (309) 734-HAIR(4247), or drop the material off at 123 E. First Ave. in Monmouth.