A Hair Recycler, Stove King and Fitness Guru

Check out these interesting interviews with Bill Black, Bob Fisher and Gloria Keeling.

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    Bob Fisher, creator of the Fisher's Wood-Burner Stove.
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    Gloria Keeling, holistic fitness guru who lives on Maui Island.
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    Bill Black uses hair he collects from his barber shop as fertilizer.

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Bill Black: Hair Recycler

Can human hair help solve the world's food supply problem? St. Louis barber Bill Black thinks so — but what on earth does he have in mind? "Hair is the best, most concentrated natural plant fertilizer you can find on this planet," says Mr. Black. "I've been using the stuff on my philodendrons and vegetables for years. It's not only high in protein and nitrogen content, but human hair contains 27 minerals and trace elements as well!"

Some folks may well think Bill is a little wiggy when he makes such statements, but others believe he's on to something really big. In fact for the past year, Mr. Black has been packaging and successfully selling his barbershop floor sweepings to a steadily growing number of believers.

"If the clippings from every shop were regularly applied to a compost heap," Bill Black tells them, "an enormous amount of nitrogen could be saved, since 6 to 7 pounds of hair contain 1 pound of nitrogen, or about the same amount of nitrogen as 100 to 200 pounds of cow manure."

Mr. Black has been researching the chemical makeup of human hair for over three years and comparing his data with agricultural reports on the effectiveness of various commercial soil supplements. And his study has led him to make the following rather startling statement: "Why, the hair thrown away by New York barbers alone could supply the entire fertilizer needs for all of India! "

While experimenting with his high-powered plant food, Mr. Black has discovered that hair is an unusually good insulation material too. "But of course you'd expect it to be a good insulator," he says, "that's why it's growing on the human body in the first place! "

Another point: Even if you don't plan to use barber clippings in your attic next winter or on your garden this summer, be careful how you discard them. "Whatever you do, don't burn those clippings," Mr. Black warns. "The burning of human hair pollutes the air with extremely toxic gases. Unfortunately, that's the way many large cities get rid of it — in huge garbage incinerators — but they're making a big mistake."

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