A synthesis map highlighting the observations of the collection and recycling process of hair to explore systemic design interventions
In the UK, human hair from hair salons and barbershops is currently being discarded as waste despite its valuable qualities (lightweight, compostable, high tensile strength, insulating) and widely available in many localities, especially urban environments. However, this raw material is becoming increasingly popular amongst designers, researchers, and makers because it has a low impact, and a systemic design approach to human hair as a resource is underexplored. As part of a 12-month design residency at the Design Museum London, I set out to actively engage with the main stakeholders in the system – the hairdressers and barbers – to rethink, reimagine and redesign the system of hair recycling for regenerative futures.
This synthesis map highlights my observations of a small-scale hair collection and recycling process and aims to identify the key leverage points for systemic design intervention.