Human hair export is a Rs 200 crore business in India today. Of this, Gupta Enterprises, Chennai alone accounts for Rs 44 crore a year. “Hair that’s thrown out is waste, hair that is collected is money,” says Gupta.The waste hair is converted into wigs and toupees
Gupta’s father started off in the late 1960s by supplying hair to exporters, then set up his own unit in Eluru in Andhra Pradesh a decade later. His company has since bagged export awards for 14 years.
Apart from barber cuttings and cut hair from temples( Tirupati temple alone sells a staggering Rs 20 crore worth annually), a large portion of it comes from households across India, collected by rag-pickers and garbage collectors, to Eluru.
Here it is sorted into lengths and colours, cleaned, washed and dried, and then shipped out in containers. Each month, 30-35 tonnes of hair is exported to 32 countries. China is the biggest buyer.