Winston-Salem, NC–Hanesbrands Inc. recently donated 50,000 pairs of Hanes, L’eggs and Just My Size pantyhose to be used by nonprofit and grassroots volunteer groups that are making oil-absorbing hair booms to fight the Gulf Coast oil spill.
The groups stuff the pantyhose with human and pet hair to make booms that absorb and trap crude oil. Oil is reclaimed by squeezing it out of the pantyhose-and-hair booms, which will then be reused to collect more spilled oil from Gulf Coast waters.
“We are collecting hair and pantyhose from throughout the country to make one million hair booms over the next three weeks,” says Jeff Golden, vice president and co-founder of The Destin, FL-based Sunshine and Shores Foundation. “Hair acts as a sponge. When you put these booms in oil-polluted water, they absorb the oil and leave the water crystal clear.”
Hanesbrands will donate 12,500 pairs of pantyhose to Sunshine and Shores and will donate 37,500 pairs to San Francisco-based Matter of Trust, an ecological charity that collects hair and pantyhose to make booms and oil-absorbing mats.
“We take average length pantyhose and stuff them as tight as we can with hair,” Golden says. “We tie the hose together end to end and cover them with mesh. The texture and structure of hair traps the oil. You put the booms in the water to absorb the oil and then squeegee the oil out of them in an oil barge to recycle the oil.The booms can be used a hundred times over. This is a proven and efficient way to protect our communities.”
Oil Spill Worsens
The demand for more oil booms is increasing. Since the April 20th explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil ring, more than 220,000 gallons of oil are leaking into the Gulf everyday. Efforts over the weekend of cap the leak failed, creating more worries about the oil spills affects on costal environments from Louisiana to Florida. Already many hair salons and pet groomers have joined in by donating thousands of tons of human and pet hair used to fill the pantyhose.
Hanesbrands, which is the leading marketer of women’s sheer hosiery in the United States, began shipping the pantyhose from its Clarksville, Ark., and Winston-Salem sheer hosiery manufacturing facilities. The donated hosiery will be off-quality product that would normally be recycled.
“We were fascinated to learn of this other use for pantyhose,” says Chris Fox, vice president of corporate social responsibility for Hanesbrands Inc. “This is yet another way that we can contribute to environmental responsibility. We are happy to quickly redirect pantyhose scheduled to be recycled so that it can be used to combat an unfortunate environmental threat.”
Hanesbrands is donating to Matter of Trust through its partnership with Gifts in Kind International, one of the country’s largest charities that links donors with recipients to benefit communities and people in need. Hanesbrands has donated millions of dollars of apparel to groups in the past 10 years through Gifts in Kind International, located in Alexandria, Va.
According to the Associated Press, at least 3.5 million gallons of crude oil have poured into the Gulf since the April blast. If it continues unabated, the spill will surpass the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster next month.
More information about the nonprofit organizations may be found at www.giftsinkind.org, and the Matter of Trust website at www.matteroftrust.org. The Sunshine and Shores Foundation may be contacted at (850) 460-0255.