Shellworks upcycles leftover lobster shells into biodegradable bioplastics

March 15, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Four design students from The Royal College of Art and Imperial College have created a biodegradable and recyclable bioplastic using an unusual material — lobster shell waste. In an initiative dubbed Shellworks , the team — Ed Jones, Insiya Jafferjee, Amir Afshar and Andrew Edwards — has developed new manufacturing machines to produce what they believe is a sustainable replacement for single-use plastics. The malleable bioplastic is extremely versatile and can be adjusted in thickness, transparency, flexibility and stiffness to create a variety of biodegradable objects. The critical ingredient in the Shellworks’ bioplastic is chitlin, the world’s second most abundant biopolymer naturally found in the exoskeletons of crustaceans and insects. Rather than purchase chitlin, an expensive material on its own, the team opted to built a custom small-scale extractor as well as three custom manufacturing machines — the Dippy, a heated dip molder to create 3D forms; the Vaccy, a steam-heated vacuum former for making molded packaging; and the Sheety, a sheet-forming device for creating controlled flat sheets — that each take advantage of a specific material property for different applications. Prototypes have ranged from antibacterial blister packaging to self-fertilizing plant pots. Since the beginning, product recyclability has stayed at the forefront of Shellworks’ design objectives. Thus, the team steered clear of additives during experimentation and discovered that they could manipulate the bioplastic’s properties by adjusting the ratios of the base ingredients. The highly versatile and recyclable material can be easily turned from a solid back to the original bioplastic solution or used as a natural, non-polluting fertilizer at the end of its lifecycle. Related: Reebok develops plant-based sneakers made of cotton and corn The Shellworks team said, “By designing scalable manufacturing processes, applications tailored to the material and eco-positive waste streams, we believe we can demonstrate how chitosan bioplastic could become a viable alternative for many of the plastic products we use today.” + Shellworks Images via Shellworks

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Shellworks upcycles leftover lobster shells into biodegradable bioplastics

New Humane Society report shows animal testing labs kill thousands of dogs annually

March 15, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

The Humane Society of the United States just released a report on their investigation into widespread animal testing. The inquiry lasted a little over three months and discovered that tens of thousands of dogs are being killed annually in the name of product testing . The study uncovered laboratories across the United States where scientists are using beagles and hounds to test toxicity levels in drugs, dental implants and pesticides . Over the course of 100 days, one undercover operative recorded almost two dozen animal experiments that featured dogs as the primary subjects. At the end of some of these studies, all of the dogs were terminated while others suffered throughout the trials. Related: Don’t forget to fight for these “less glamorous” endangered species One of the documented experiments involved 36 beagles and was commissioned by Dow AgroSciences. The company was testing pesticide use on the dogs and ordered researchers to force the poor animals to swallow fungicide pills. The study is scheduled to end this coming July, and any of the beagles that survive are going to be killed. Dow has issued a public statement about animal experimentation and confessed that these types of studies are not needed. The U.S. government has also stopped requiring animal testing on human products, so there is really no need for these dogs to be subjected to these terrible experiments. The reality, however, is that animal experiments are more widespread than people realize. “The disturbing findings at this facility are sadly not unique. Experiments are happening at hundreds of laboratories each year throughout the country, with more than 60,000 dogs suffering,” said Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Human Society of the United States. The undercover investigation was undertaken in a Michigan facility called Charles River Laboratories. Animal testing is carried out in similar facilities across the U.S., but also in government buildings, universities and for-profit institutions. Commercial breeders, such as Marshall BioResources, provide the majority of dogs used in animal testing. Apart from Dow, other companies linked in the investigation include Paredox Therapeutics and Above and Beyond NB LLC. By raising awareness about the issue, the Humane Society hopes to put an end to animal testing and find homes for the animals who have survived. Via Human Society of the United States Image via Shutterstock

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New Humane Society report shows animal testing labs kill thousands of dogs annually

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