US scientists have developed a method to turn chicken feathers into plastic products and are working on bringing the technology closer to the marketplace.
Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist Walter Schmidt developed the technology to clean feathers and separate them into chopped fibers and quill pieces. Now Schmidt and fellow ARS chemist Justin Barone have developed and applied for a patent for a process to convert cleaned and chopped feather material into plastic products on a laboratory scale.
The feather-derived plastic can be molded just like any other plastic and has properties very similar to commodity plastics such as polyethylene and polypropylene. This makes the feather-derived plastic a unique material for packaging or any other application where high strength and biodegradability are desired.
The method could be a solution to the approximately four billion pounds of feathers which are generated each year during the poultry production process. This new application not only is a solution to an environmental problem, but also cost-effectively enhances the commercial and economic value of feathers.
Source: Science Daily
Agricultural Research Service (ARS)