It’s no secret that the planet is at risk of choking on all the plastic we produce and throw away, which is why researchers and manufacturers are scrambling to find alternatives to plastic, biodegradable plastic, and plastic made out of more natural materials. Researchers at Nile University in Egypt came up with a possibility: making plastic out of shrimp shells. According to The Australian, the team has already created a thin, clear prototype using chitosan, which is found in the shells of many crustaceans. They purchased shrimp shells from restaurants, supermarkets, and fisherman, and “the shells are cleaned, chemically treated, ground and dissolved into a solution that dries into thin films of plastic.”
Researchers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering hit upon the same solution a few years ago and found that material made from chitosan breaks down weeks after disposal and can even provide nutrients for plants.
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