Hair Recycle collects hair from a network of salons across Benelux and recycles it into products that can be used to absorb and remove pollutants from the environment.
Solvay announced its continuing commitment to the development of a circular economy by supporting Hair Recycle, a non-profit organization with an innovative project aimed at reducing waste and protecting the environment. Launched in 2021 by father and son team Patrick and Quentin Janssen, Hair Recycle is collecting hair from a network of salons across the Benelux region and recycling it into products that can be used to absorb and remove pollutants from the environment.
Hair is infinitely recyclable, highly-absorbent and ultra resistant, with one hair capable of supporting up to ten million times its own weight. To make the most of these qualities, Hair Recycle has developed two products: mats for use on dry floors and booms for use in water. The first of these is a fully mature and recyclable product, currently used to absorb hydrocarbon and polymer pollution in water treatment plants, with plans to expand to other applications in the future. The second product is still under development, but has significant potential.
“We got the idea of using hair to create absorbent products from initiatives in the US, where it has previously been used to clean up oil spills. Hair Recycle developed from there, with our mats now used to absorb pollution in a number of water treatment plants and a project to develop booms made of hair that can be used to clean up rivers now under development. Once used, we recycle the mats as reinforcement for cement, ensuring that nothing goes to waste.” explained Patrick Janssen, Hair Recycle Co-Founder.
Hair Recycle currently collects hair every day from around 700 salons across the Benelux region. This is transported to the Hair Recycle warehouse close to Liège, where it is transformed into mats using a special weaving machine.
Support from Solvay has helped them to advance the project, by buying a second machine to increase production and developing relay points across Benelux to facilitate collection and delivery of the hair to the warehouse. Moving forward, this start-up intends to continue developing products and industrializing their processes.
"We are thrilled to support Hair Recycle in the deployment of a circular business that is protecting the environment,” said Solvay’s Corporate Citizenship Manager, Sonsoles Llopis Garcia. “At Solvay, we have a clear conviction that we must rethink and develop business models to disconnect our growth from the use of finite resources. Hair Recycle perfectly aligns with our commitment to develop a circular economy that positively contributes to society.”
Solvay is a science company whose technologies bring benefits to many aspects of daily life. With more than 22,000 employees in 61 countries, Solvay bonds people, ideas and elements to reinvent progress. The Group seeks to create sustainable shared value for all, notably through its Solvay One Planet roadmap crafted around three pillars: protecting the climate, preserving resources and fostering a better life. The Group’s innovative solutions contribute to safer, cleaner, and more sustainable products found in homes, food and consumer goods, planes, cars, batteries, smart devices, health care applications, water and air purification systems. Founded in 1863, Solvay today ranks among the world’s top three companies for the vast majority of its activities and delivered net sales of €13.4 billion in 2022. Solvay is listed on Euronext Brussels and Paris (SOLB). Learn more at www.solvay.com.