The Shellworks is a student project from four designers in the Masters program at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College of London. The group has created a series of machines that recycle, extract, and form seafood waste into biodegradable and recyclable plastic. 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.
Shelly is a small-scale extractor used to lower the barriers for experimentation with bioplastic. Sheety is a controlled environment that makes perfectly flat sheets. Vaccy is a vacuum former that uses steam to make material flexible and the vacuum forms it over a mold. Dippy is a heated molder that makes 3D forms.
“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,” the group said.
It is innovations like this that will replace and reduce the amount of single-use plastic.
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Photo: via The Shellworks