Researchers aim to turn animal waste into plastic
File this under “ew”: Researchers in New Zealand have developed a process to convert animal protein waste — that’d be blood and feathers — into plastic. “The material we can produce has the strength of polyethylene, the plastic used in milk bottles and plastic supermarket bags, but it’s fully biodegradable,” says Dr. Johan Verbeek, adding, “Plant proteins have successfully been used to make bioplastics, but animal protein has always ended up gumming up the extruder.” Mmm — pass that milk bottle! The bioplastic would actually likely end up as agricultural sheeting, seedling trays, plant pots, and the like. Says Verbeek: “The aim is to stay away from any food packaging.” That’s probably for the best.