SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. -- Brenda Celona sweeps up piles of hair during a long day of styling Monday inside the Total Image Hair Salon on the University of Rhode Island campus.
But instead of throwing the clumps away, she's donating them to the Hair Mat program.
"They take the hair clippings from salons and pet groomers and they use them to make hair mats for oil spills in the ocean," Celona said.
After the pounds of hair are collected, Celona bags it all and mails it to locations in Florida and Louisiana.
Celona said they use a needle-punch machine and polypropylene to create mats that soak up oil.
URI ocean engineering student Travis Barao said it's a genius idea.
"I've grown up on the water, so seeing the effects of pollution is a big thing. So anyway you can help is a positive," he said.
The Hair Mat program, with is sponsored by Matter of Trust, is also accepting nylons. The nylons, which are used to keep the hair in, are placed along docks and shores.