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:
For 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 adds.
Or diapers:

Feathers 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.
[Modern Farmer]