Our food industry poses a huge threat to biodiversity and society, due to its wasteful manufacturing processes and unequal distribution. One-third of all food produced, globally, is disposed of, with meat and seafood the sectors one of the largest contributors. If we take products such as fish, poultry, and pork, the mass of meat is just about 50% and the rest of the bones, skin, feathers, blood, organs etc. are all waste. Although these materials are organic, they are still toxic to the environment due to the large quantities they are produced in.
Despite the awareness and increased uptake in veganism and vegetarianism eating habits. Meat eating remains and therefore, consuming the whole animal works well within the ecosystem of sustainability. It reduces the amount of waste and adds value to it, making it beneficial for both the environment and the economy.
Keeping this in mind, an eco-friendly surface material, made from upcycled chicken feathers was created by designer Midushi Kochhar. The waste feathers were collected from an abattoir on the outskirts of London and boiled and cleaned. Prior to this, these feathers were a waste product. After discovering their enormous binding strength, Kochhar combined them with agar bioplastic and created a long-lasting, flexible and mouldable material. To encourage sustainable living, this material has been applied in lampshades due to its distinct natural texture, which is enhanced as the light turns on. Due to an uncanny association of this material with hens, it makes people raise questions related to animal cruelty and food waste.
Information submitted by the maker and edited by the Future Materials Bank.
Chicken feathers, agar agar, glycerine