Shellworks turns discarded lobster shells into recyclable bioplastic objects

Four designers from the Royal College of Art and Imperial College have developed a series of machines that turn seafood waste into a biodegradable and recyclable bioplastic.

The project, called Shellworks, saw Ed Jones, Insiya Jafferjee, Amir Afshar and Andrew Edwards transform the shells of crustaceans into a paper-like material that could act as a sustainable alternative to single-use plastics.

The material consists of a mixture of vinegar and a biopolymer called chitin – a fibrous substance that makes up the exoskeleton of crustaceans and the cell walls of fungi.

They invented five manufacturing machines, called Shelly, Sheety, Vaccy, Dippy and Drippy, with which to transform the crustacean shells into different objects, being sure to not use any additives in the process that could affect the recyclability of the final product.

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