Is Human Hair Biodegradable?

If you regularly style your natural hair or use human hair wigs, you know how annoying it is to end up with stashes of hair all over your apartment.

And if you’re trying to live sustainably, it’s only natural to wonder if you can toss this hair into your compost bin.

After all, around 300,000 tons of human hair is thrown out every year, finding its way to water sources and causing pollution and clogging of piping infrastructure.

But is human hair biodegradable and compostable?

Well, that’s what we’re going to talk about today.

Is human hair biodegradable?

Yes, human hair is biodegradable. This is because it’s majorly made of protein.

How long does it take for human hair to decompose?

While hair does eventually decompose, the time it will take to do so depends on its environmental conditions. For instance, human hair that is exposed to sunlight and fresh air can take hundreds of years to fully decompose. This is because keratin, the specific type of protein found in hair, is designed to withstand the elements.

However, when human hair is buried in soil, it only takes one to two years for it to decompose – the exact time largely depends on the conditions in the soil though. If the soil is wet and warm, decomposition will take place faster.

Does human hair biodegrade in water?

Yes, human hair does biodegrade in water. In fact, it can break down to nitrogen, sulfur, and carbon in water and cause a lot of the water pollution.

Can you put human hair in compost?

Yes, human hair is compostable and you can add it to your bin. In fact, it will decompose faster there because of the moisture, warmth, and microbes present.

Also, it will release nitrogen into the compost and create a good fertilizer. That’s why it has recently been used by scientists to create biofertilizers and can even be directly buried under plants to help them thrive.

They’re some things you need to keep in mind when adding human hair to your compost though.

For one, you need to remember to add water to the bin – this will hasten the decomposition process.

Secondly, add some greens and wood ashes to balance out the compost pile.

How can human hair be reused?

Apart from being used as a fertilizer, human hair can be reused to:

  • Make wigs – this is the most obvious way to reuse waste hair. You can even donate your own hair to be reused in this way.
  • Make clothes – in some parts of the world, human hair is woven into fabrics to make clothes.
  • Make ropes – human hair fibers can be twisted together to make a rope.

Toss your hair into the compost bin!

When it comes to disposing of waste human hair, your best option is to compost it. So if you don’t have your own compost bin, look for one provided by local authorities – your planet will thank you for the extra effort!

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