Yesterday at the barber, I couldn’t help but notice all of the hair on the floor. For some reason, getting my haircut really gets my entrepreneurial juices flowing. I asked what they did with all the hair that they collected during the day. The barber looked at me like I was from the Moon and said “We throw it away.”
Turns out, though, that there is a market for human hair, just not in the US.
In China, hair is a commodity, used in wigs and even as an additive in food. While American barbers sweep hair into the trash, Chinese haircutters sell their trimmings to brokers.
There’s a company in South Florida that’s got a new product that it says could revolutionize how food is grown in this country. The Smart Grow mat is all natural, inexpensive and eliminates the need for pesticides. You can probably guess what the make the mats out of: human hair!
Chinese hair is also more nutrient rich because it’s not as treated as Western hair. That means Smart Grow hair mats, which have the consistency of a soft brillo pad, come in just one color: black.
Marketplace on American Public Media has more.