UK Barber Banned From Composting

Ever watched your hair stylist or barber sweep up the hair after you’re done getting a trim? It took your body so long to grow those beautiful locks, it seems a shame just to toss them in the trash, doesn’t it?

That’s just what Jeff Stone, a hair dresser from Blackburn, Lancashire thought when he opened his salon. That’s why he’s been taking home the hair clippings from his shop and placing them on his compost heap for over 40 years.

But recently, the barber was banned from taking home clippings from clients’ hair to use as compost and ordered to pay to send it to landfill instead (Telegraph).

Stone also told the Telegraph that “he has also been told he cannot take home the newspapers he buys for customers – because they are purchased with cash from the till.”

Local officials have informed Stone and several other shop keepers that, instead of recycling or composting, they would have to pay £100 ($156) for trade waste sacks that would be collected from outside their shops, in order to comply with government recycling guidelines.

The local business people are outraged that the Blackburn council would impeded on their rights to reduce landfill waste and keep their costs down, and rightly so.

“Every authority on environmental matters recognises that human hair is fantastic compostable material. It’s very biodegradable.” said Mr. Stone. “But [when] a man from the council came in and threatened me with legal action I was astounded.”

The article included only one comment from local officials in defense of their actions, which seemed quite contradictory, implying that “Mr. Stone had been acting illegally because businesses had a legal duty to ensure their waste was not harming the environment.”

This is an ill informed statement, as home composters have been adding human hair to the pile for years, and it’s been shown to be a great source of nitrogen for the soil.

Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons - comedy_nose


Ruth R.
Ruth R7 years ago

They could offer to let the customers take the stuff home to compost. There needs to be some freedom when things are common sense and not being misused when composted, or recycled.

Beverley A.
Beverley A7 years ago

The UK bureaucrats have become so ridiculous when it comes to common sense. I guess the people that have these jobs, if you could call them that, have to have a "raison d'etre", & that is to dream up more ridiculous laws that people with comon sense have to bow down to.

Michael C.
Michael C7 years ago

What a ridiculous case. Hopefully the bureaucrat responsible will be shamed into making amends.

John Dixon
John Dixon8 years ago

as long as it doesn't hurt anything why stop it.

Priscilla Burbano

another example of law fighting the good ppl do.

Nellie K A.
Nellie K Adaba8 years ago

Never heard of that

Anne F.
Anne F8 years ago

Decentralized recycling is great. These local bureaucrats should b complimenting him, not fining him.

clare h.
clare h8 years ago

What a brilliant bloke he is, being environmentally friendly and saving money as well, he and the others should be given a medal for what they are doing not punished. Typical UK law just plain stupid.

Sarah C.
Sarah C8 years ago

These laws ought to be rewritten. Maybe he should get signatures and make a petition.....

Christin Benoit
CHRIS Benoit8 years ago

It's all about the money or, more likely, the money that the govrn't isn't getting. I might understand if it had negative effects on the environment or health issues, but I just see it as someone's pockets are lighter than they planned!