Oil spill clean-up gets 'doggone' hairy
Dog fur is particularly good at cleaning up crude oil, according to a new study investigating sustainable options to clean up oil spill disasters. Together with human hair recycled from salons, recycled dog fur can be used as an effective and sustainable way to mop up dangerous environmental contaminants on land.
Oil spill disasters on land cause long-term damage for communities and the natural environment, polluting soils and sediments and contaminating groundwater. Current methods using synthetic sorbent materials can be effective for cleaning up oil spills, but these materials are often expensive and generate large volumes of non-biodegradable plastic wastes.
Now the first comparison of natural-origin sorbent materials for land-based oil spills, including peat moss, recycled human hair, and dog fur, shows that sustainable, cheaper and biodegradable options can be developed.
The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) project found that dog fur and human hair products - recycled from salon wastes and dog groomers - can be just as good as synthetic fabrics at cleaning up crude oil spills on hard land surfaces like highway roads, pavement, and sealed concrete floors.
“Dog fur in particular was surprisingly good at oil spill clean-up, and felted mats from human hair and fur were very easy to apply and remove from the spills,” said lead author of the study, UTS Environmental Scientist Dr Megan Murray.
Continue reading at UTS Newsroom: Oil spill clean-up gets 'doggone' hairy