Chicken Feathers Could Have a Big Impact on Plastic, and A Lot of Other Things
Mar 02, 2014 11:08
We eat billions of chickens every year. What happens to the all those chicken feathers? Some entrepreneurs are saying that chicken feathers could the future of plastic. It's not only used as a duster!
USDA researcher Walter Schmidt tried a lot of things with chicken feathers back in 1993. From frying it to making it into paper, the latest idea today, is plastics. It turns out, chicken feathers can be repurposed to do a lot of other things.
Chicken feathers are mostly a strong protein called keratin. It can be heated, mixed with other materials and then molded into plastic.
But chicken feathers could do more than just plastic.
Like powder makeup:
example, the Nixa, Missouri-based Featherfiber Corp. is commercializing
Schmidt's group's 1998 patent on technology to separate feather fiber
from the quill. Close to opening a production plant, Schmidt says they
will soon produce cosmetics and car parts. "The feather fiber grinds to a
powdery talc making the keratin useful in beauty products," Schmidt
have even been used to replace the absorptive layer in diapers that are
usually made out of wood pulp, also called "fluff pulp." Swapping wood
pulp out for feathers may save more than a few trees, Schmidt points
out. Plus, it just works really well.
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