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    Scientists Create New Plastic Alternative

    Geo Beats

    by Geo Beats

    A team from Harvard has constructed a bioplastic made largely of shrimp shells.

    Plastics and the environment have a fairly troubled relationship, and in the ongoing search for a sustainable alternative, a team of scientists have come up with a new solution.

    Researchers from Harvard University have constructed a bioplastic made largely from shrimp shells.

    Bioplastics have been tried in the past, but not with any overwhelming success as they don’t fully decompose and their uses are limited to food packaging.

    The shrimp-based version is significantly more durable and can be used in a greater variety of applications, including industrial manufacturing.

    The material can reportedly be used to make phones, toys, storage containers, and a slew of other items that need to be durable.

    Unlike current versions of those things, discarding them once their usefulness has passed wouldn’t contribute to an already overwhelming environmental problem.

    The shrimp-based plastic can break down in a matter of weeks.

    Upon decomposition it becomes a beneficial fertilizer.

    The key is chitosan, an ingredient extracted from discarded shrimp shells that would otherwise be headed for a landfill, and used as fertilizer or as a cosmetic filler.

    Other advantages of the new bioplastic are the abundant availability of the materials needed to make it and the inexpensive production costs. Next up for the team is to find an industrial partner to test large scale manufacturing in a commercial facility.