UK research into eggshell recycling to benefit producers
Scientists and food industry experts in the UK have launched a £20,000 research project which could shed new light on the way people recycle egg shells, saving the egg industry thousands of pounds each year.
The project at the University of Leicester and funded by Food and Drink iNet, aims to find useful ways of recycling egg shells which are currently regarded as waste by food producers and which they have to pay to dispose of in landfill.
Scientists in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Leicester, specialising in ‘green chemistry’ and sustainable materials are looking at how to extract glycosaminoglycans, proteins which are found in egg shells. GAGs are used in numerous biomedical applications and could prove useful in the pharmaceutical industry.
They are also hoping to identify ways to use the egg shells as fillers which could be used to ‘bulk up’ different grades of plastic, with all sorts of applications from ready meal food trays to shop fittings.
The ultimate goal is to use the egg shells in packaging to protect egg products – giving a second lease of life to the egg shell in the very role it was created for … a true case of recycling.
“Egg shell is classified as a waste material by the food industry but is in fact a highly sophisticated composite,” said Food and Drink iNet director Richard Worrall. “The scientists at the University of Leicester have identified a number of uses for egg shell waste and the Food and Drink iNet is very pleased to support a ‘Collaborate to Innovate’ research project to examine egg shell recycling solutions.
“This could have potential benefit on many levels, both for food manufacturers and a much wider industry.”
Source: University of Leicester
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