Biodegradable Thermoplastic From Chicken Feathers

chicken-feather

To combat bad effects of food packaging to our environment, some companies are developing eco-friendly packages. I experienced using wax paper for drinks instead of plastic cups. It is biodegradable though its uses are limited only to cold drinks, hot coffee will melts wax. You can see melted wax floating up slowly, a waxy hot coffee.

The 100 percent biodegradable and 90 percent plant based chip package was used by Frito Lay. The chip bag disintegrates within two weeks when left in soil environment. The used was discontinued cause holding the bag creates a very loud noise. the company were flooded with thousands of bad feedback. Frito Lay remedied the problem by reinventing the package with alternative laminating adhesive. The noise was reduced to acceptable level.

Another effort is being exerted by PepsiCo by developing plant based PET bottles. The bottle is made of agricultural by-products such as peels and barks. The giant rival, Coca Cola Company, is also developing their own version of plant based PET bottles. They both succeeded at laboratory scale and planned to produce it commercially.

Development of eco-friendly food packages continues:

Dr. Yiqi Yang of University of Nebraska-Lincoln developed a biodegradable thermoplastic from chicken feathers. It is formed by adding methyl acrylate to resilient protein and keratin of chicken feathers. It is more durable than traditional polyethylene and polypropylene. The developed package can be used for food packaging applications.

chicken feather

The feather plastic has the following advantages:

1) Biodegradable.

2) Can be bio source – from chickens.

3) Low cost – feathers are really low cost, most of them end in garbage bin and dump sites.

Future vision : All packaging are biodegradable and no plastics can be found lingering in surroundings.


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